Ireland is said to be home to more than 30,000 castles and palatial buildings, some of which are intact, while most others lie in ruins. They have been thrown open for public visits and historical study today. Visiting the inner corridors of these ancient castles is like time traveling and revisiting a bygone era that remains clouded in mystery. It is absolutely thrilling to relive a medieval world replete with old-world charm and magic. Amongst the most famous fortresses of Ireland that have survived the ravages of time and tempest, and stand majestically to this day is the Kilkenny Castle which overlooks the town of Kilkenny and the River Nore.
The Castle dates back to the Anglo-Norman period and is believed to have been built in the 12th century. It is also among the largest in Ireland. It served as the place of residence for more than five centuries for the very powerful Butler family who came to Ireland during the earliest Norman invasions and eventually settled here. Today we see many architectural additions to the Castle which did not exist earlier.
The Kilkenny Castle features as a very popular tourist destination in the Kilkenny City of Ireland. The Parade Tower is even open to the public to host events and conferences. Digging into the rich historical past and heritage of the place leaves you enlightened at the end of the trip. It is fascinating to explore the unknown aspects of the Royalty. The Picture Gallery is an incredible space inside the Castle.
If we are to follow history, the Castle was captured briefly by the Catholic rebels under Cromwell’s leadership in the 17th century. It was remodeled into a large French country house by the Butlers later. As time passed and resources dwindled, it became impossible to maintain the large estate and spend the required money for its upkeep. The Castle was later besieged by the Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War of 1922, whilst the Butlers moved to London abandoning their castle in 1935. They sold it to the Castle Restoration Committee in 1967, and today the property belongs to the city of Kilkenny.
The Castle sits on 50 acres of rolling parkland covered with lush green trees that are soothing to the eyes; the grassy stretches go as far as your eyes can travel. It nestles prettily amidst woodlands, a terraced rose garden, and a man-made lake that were all 19th-century additions to the estate.
Inside the Castle, one takes a tour of the library, a sprawling Victorian-styled drawing room, a nursery, and bedrooms decorated in 1830s splendor. The Picture Gallery is located on the east wing of the Castle and the space is an exquisite collection of fine paintings and portraits of the illustrious Butler family.
Info on Tickets and Timings
Kilkenny Castle is open to visitors all year round. Online bookings are available but they cannot be purchased more than a week in advance. You can go for a maximum of 6 tickets online on the website. You will have to contact the authorities in person if you are planning a castle visit with a large group (with school children, or friends/family). For general inquiries, you may call +00353 567 704100.
Tickets are also available on-site at their Ticket Desk. Guided tours are worth considering because guides bring the entire place to life as they fill you with hitherto unknown information and historical trivia.
Self-guided visits have the following admission charges — 8 euros per adult; it is 6 euros for the seniors, and 4 euros for children aged between 12 and 17 years (remember to carry age proof). For a family of 2 adults and 3 children, it is 20 euros; children under 12, people with disabilities and their caregivers have free admission to the Castle. There are certain days of the year when you can plan a visit completely for free.
Guided tour costs are — 12 euros for adults; 10 euros for seniors; 6 euros for children aged between 12 and 17; 30 euros for a family of 2 adults and 3 children; free admission to children below 12 years.
The Castle is open between 9:30 am and 5 pm between the months of October and March. It is open between 9:15 am and 5:30 pm between the months of April and September. The Park and Garden timings are subject to weather conditions and are different for each month of the year.
The average duration of the visit is 1 hour. There are audio guides to assist those on self-guided tours. While videography is restricted, photography is permitted inside the Castle.
Address, Phone & How to Reach
The Kilkenny Castle is located at The Parade, Collegepark, Kilkenny, R95 YRK1, Ireland. For enquiries, you can call 046 942 3249 or write to [email protected]
The Castle is located in the heart of the city of Kilkenny and is not too difficult to reach. It will take you 15 minutes to walk down from Kilkenny MacDonagh Train Station. There is a direct train service from Heuston to Kilkenny MacDonagh. Trains operate every day and leave every four hours. The average distance between Dublin and Kilkenny is 101 kilometers, and the road distance is 125 kilometers. Train, bus, or car— none should take you more than a couple of hours to reach Kilkenny Castle from Dublin, the capital city of Ireland.
If you are traveling from Dublin, you may take a bus which will also be the cheapest mode to travel. It will reach you in under 2 hours. You may avail of a direct bus service from Dublin City South, Georges Quay Station. The buses depart hourly and operate daily.
You always have the option to drive down there in your personal vehicle too, which will also be faster. The area has lots of open parking spaces. Head down the M9 from Dublin to Junction 8, and turn off onto the N10. Keep following the sign boards to Kilkenny.