Like many counties in Ireland, Kilkenny (from the Irish, Chill Chainnigh) was partitioned around a considerable Norman settlement; the county town of Kilkenny is to this day the heart and soul of the place. Striving to build and improve on the efforts of Kilkenny’s early-Christian heritage, their influence is everywhere, through snaking alleyways, gothic cathedrals and a spectacular fortified castle. Inheritors of this augmented legacy have built-up and bore down with equal force on the monuments of the past and today the city wears its extensive history on its sleeve.
The Thosel on Kilkenny’s High Street, which was built during the 16th century, has a viewing platform in the clock tower. Nearby on the corner of Parliament Street, the unspectacular, but nevertheless ceremonial Confederation Hall Monument, was built to commemorate and embellish the meeting place of the national Parliament from 1642 to 1649. The Cherryfield Famine-Pauper Graveyard in Baunta Commons, Callan, is a mass gravesite for victims of a combination of things: severe poverty, awful work conditions and famine.
Outside of the town by the King’s River in the village of Kells you’ll find the remains of a medieval Priory. Founded by Geoffrey Fitzrobert at the end of the 12th century, it is one of the most monumental in Ireland. Kilree round tower, high cross and church, all dating back 1200 years, are also located by the King’s River.
Unmissable Attractions County Kilkenny
1. National Craft Gallery and Kilkenny Design Centre (Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. and Sundays from 11.00 a.m. – 5.30 p.m)
2. The Butter Gallery (in Kilkenny Castle: Opening times vary from season to season, but generally the gallery is open Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. in summer)
3. Kilkenny Castle Prices: Adults €6.00 / Senior Citizens €4.00 / Students and children €2.50 / Family €14.00 / Groups €4.00
4. St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower (the older of Kilkenny’s two main cathedrals, the other being St. Mary’s Cathedral. Prices: Adults €6.00 / Concession and groups €5.50 / Family Ticket €15.00
5. Rothe House and Garden (Opening Times: Monday to Saturday from 10.30 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. and Sunday from 3.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. in summer / Monday to Saturday from 10.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. in winter) Prices: Adults €4.80 / Concession €3.80
6. Nore View Folk and Heritage Museum (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.)
7. The history of this place is brutal. The Cherryfield Famine-Pauper Graveyard in Baunta Commons, Callan is another mass gravesite for victims of a combination of things: severe poverty, awful work conditions and famine.
8. Nore Valley Park Activity Centre and Open Farm(Opening Times: Monday to Saturday from 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. in summer) Prices: €6.50 per person