Kilkenny Castle ...

Kilkenny Castle outside view
A 12th century castle remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive parkland which was the principal seat of the Butler Family. Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, during the first decade of the thirteenth century. The castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years until it was presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50.

Kilkenny Castle interior view
The buildings have been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1969, and many important programmes of archaeological excavation, conservation, and restoration have been carried out there. Two wings of the Castle have been restored to their 19th century splendour and include a Library, Drawing Room and the magnificent Long Gallery. The final phase of restoration is complete and includes a state-of-the-art conference centre which is situated in one of the Castle's 12th century towers. The River Wing also houses the Butler Gallery of Contemporary Art and the old Castle Kitchen which now operates as a tearoom. The Castle Park includes all the walled demesne parkland to the south of Kilkenny Castle and the formal terraced gardens to the north comprising a total of 50 acres. The terraced garden has been restored as a rose garden with formal beds of roses around a fountain. In the parkland paths lead to a small burial ground, a woodland walk and lake area and children’s playground.

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