Featured image of Kilkenny Castle

The History of Kilkenny Castle

LocationCounty Kilkenny, Ireland, UK (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byOffice of Public Works
Official WebsiteKilkenny Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Wedding, Meetings, Events, etc)

Established in the centre of the town of Kilkenny, Kilkenny Castle is one of the medieval age marvels present in the city. The castle was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways.


The first structure of the castle was a wooden one, developed in the 12th century by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, popularly known as Strongbow. The castle was replaced by a stone structure in 1192 by William Marshal. The Butler family bought the castle, which functioned as their primary seat for the next 500 years. During the Irish Confederate Wars in the 1640s, the Butler family struggled to keep up with the castle’s expenses. After the death of James Butler, the castle was besieged by the Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War in 1922 and quite severely damaged. The Butler family upped and moved to London in 1935, abandoning the castle. The castle was then sold to the Castle Restoration Committee and is now under the city of Kilkenny.

Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle”, by Jeff Nyveen, is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


The Kilkenny Castle was a square-shaped castle with four towers, one on each side. Out of the four, a good four towers have survived to this day. Throughout a period of time, the castle building was renovated several times, which makes this site currently a mixture of architecture and time periods. Since the castle was occupied for so many ages, there is a disjointed feeling in its interiors and consists of elements from different time periods. The medieval period is reflected in the basement of the castle with a wicker-style ceiling. It also consists of arrow loops and defensive rooms. The interior of the dining room is of the 1860s, and the library is designed in line with the 19th century. The castle’s most striking feature is the Picture Gallery Wing, wherein there’s a collection of portraits and paintings collected by the former residents of the castle.


The castle is majorly surrounded by gardens and parkland for the public. There are traces of the older establishments maintained and modified in the view. A few of them are rose gardens, sculptures, and walking paths. The former carriage buildings and stable yards are visible right across the road from the castle. These buildings have now been converted into craft studios, the Kilkenny Design Centre, and the Crafts Council of Ireland. The buildings are marvellous with round arches, narrow pathways, circular windows, and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Kilkenny Castle famous?

Kilkenny Castle is famous for its medieval-style building and marvellous castle. Kilkenny town in itself has been referred to the Marble City. The castle is made of limestone, which also makes it an attraction to the public eye.

  • What is inside Kilkenny Castle?

Kilkenny Castle is a finely decorated castle with a library, drawing room, nursery, and bedrooms. All interior is of the 1830s. The most exquisite attraction of the castle is the Picture Gallery Wing, where there’s a collection of portraits and paintings collected by the former residents of the castle.

  • Can you get married in Kilkenny Castle?

Yes, you can absolutely get married in Kilkenny Castle. There are two areas dedicated to civil and humanist wedding ceremonies. Both these areas are available through prior booking.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.

Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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Meet Saurabh Sharma, a tech pro with a master's from Latvia's Riga Technical University. He's great with computers, focusing on Cloud Computing and DevOps. But here's the cool part – Saurabh has traveled to places like Nordic, Baltic, and other parts of Europe. And guess what? He's into European history, monuments, castles, and museums. Whether he's coding or exploring, he's always curious, showing a love for different places and histories.

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