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.
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.
St Canice’s Cathedral was built between 1202 and 1285, and stands on an important ecclesiastical site, which has been a place of Christian prayer for over 800 years. In fact Cill Channigh is Irish for The Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century. The cathedral is Early Gothic in style and is built of limestone. The See Chair of the Bishop of Ossory dates back to 1120 and can be seen inside the Cathedral. In addition the cathedral contains some 16th-century monuments and tombstones. Notable stained glass windows, including two windows from the Harry Clarke Studio, Dublin are also a favourite with visitors to St Canice’s.
The adjoining 9th century Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City and is one of only two Round Towers that can be climbed in Ireland. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower weather permitting; we can honestly say that the climb is worth the effort as it affords panoramic views over the medieval city of Kilkenny.
Located right in the heart of Kilkenny – 300 years of brewing experience is shared at this immersive experience for the senses. Discover the history of Smithwick’s, Ireland’s oldest beer brand, the amazing heritage of the Smithwick’s family and its place in Kilkenny, a city steeped in history and brewing.
Summer opening hours:
10am – 6pm Monday – Sunday
Tours leave on the hour every hour. Last admission 5pm each day.
Avail of 10% discount as a Lyrath Estate. This provides a 10% discount off adult tickets and also 10% off any purchases in our retail store.
Rothe House is the only example of an early 17th century merchant’s townhouse in Ireland. Rothe House was built between 1594 and 1610 by one of the city’s leading citizens at the time John Rothe Fitz Piers. The house actually comprises three buildings, one behind the other; the additional buildings were added in 1604 and 1610 to accommodate the merchant’s growing family of 12 children!
The Rothe Family, along with a handful of other wealthy families, dictated Kilkenny’s trade and controlled its civic government from the late Middle Ages until the 17th Century. Rothe House is open to the public as a Museum, displaying some of the 2,500 artefacts collected by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society since its founding in 1947. These artefacts all relate to Kilkenny, some dating as far back as pre-historic times.
Rothe House Gardens opened in 2008 and are a reconstruction of an early 17th century urban walled garden; the ½ acre gardens are also open to the public.
Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum in Inistioge, County Kilkenny dates back to 1740. Once known as one of the finest gardens in Ireland the main development of Woodstock Gardens occurred in the Victorian Period but unfortunately it fell into disrepair. The gardens and arboretum have been carefully restored by Kilkenny County Council and notably contain a selection of ‘champion’ trees, thanks to their size. Woodstock overlooks the Nore River Valley and is an ideal place to spend a day.
Woodstock comprises a mix of formal and informal gardens with the walled garden, terraced garden and rose garden providing the main interest. The arboretum has a collection of rare and exotic trees including a ‘Champion’ Coast Redwood, the tallest Silver Fir in Ireland and a very rare and important Bentham Cypress. Also of significance are two stunning avenues, the Monkey Puzzle Avenue (Chilean Pine) and Noble Fir Avenue.