Kilkenny Castle is synonymous with the Butler Family; they were Earls, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde and lived in the castle for over five hundred years. Lady Margaret Butler was the paternal grandmother of Anne Boleyn, second wife of King Henry VIII of England.
Kilkenny Castle, overlooking the banks of the river Nore, has been an important site since Strongbow or Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke constructed the first castle on the site, probably a wooden structure, in the 12th century.
The first stone castle was built in the first decade of the 13th century. Completed in 1213 the square shaped castle had a tower at each corner, three of the four still stand today. It wasn’t until 1391 that the castle came into the hands of the Butler Family, where it remained until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50.
Kilkenny Castle is now run by the Office of Public Works and several of the rooms have been brought back to an accurate representation of how they would have looked at various points in the castle’s long history. Highlights include The Medieval Room, The Drawing Room and The Chinese Bedroom.
Tours of Kilkenny Castle are available year round, though it can be very busy during the summer so booking is advisable. Guided and self-guided tours are possible, depending on the time of year. For more see http://www.kilkennycastle.ie/VisitorInformation/