Kilkenny Castle is a fully restored 12th century castle. You can explore this castle on your own or with a guided tour. Learn more about this imposing castle here.
History of Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle has been occupied since the Norman conquest of Ireland. In 1172, Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow (like the cider), and other Norman knights built a wooden castle here. (If you want to visit another de Clare family castle in Ireland, check out Bunratty Castle.) Twenty years later, his son built the first stone castle here, of which three towers still stand.
The powerful Butler family bought the castle in 1391, and the Butler dynasty ruled the area for centuries. In the 19th century, the Butlers restored the castle to its original medieval appearance, so much of what you see today is a Victorian remodeling.
The Butlers abandoned the castle, and its rising taxes, in 1935. The castle transferred ownership to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for it to be restored again and opened as a tourist attraction.
Touring Kilkenny Castle
When you tour the castle, you’ll start at the ground floor with medieval foundations that date back to the 13th century. The ground floor contains the base of the West “Strongbow” Tower, the Chinese Withdrawing Room where the ladies withdrew after dinner, the State Dining Room, the Entrance Corridor, the Reception, the Entrance Hall, the Grand Staircase, and the Tapestry Room.
The first floor contains the Anteroom, the mid-19th century Library, the Drawing Room, the Irish Wicklow granite Cantilevered Stairs, the 19th century Picture Gallery Wing, and the Cararra Marble Fireplace.
The second floor contains the Bedroom Corridor that had been a gallery in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Victorian Nursery, the Private Sitting Room for the Lady of the house, the Blue Bedroom where King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra stayed in 1904, the Chinese Bedroom, and the Moorish Staircase.
You can also explore the extensive grounds of the estate. The castle is surrounded by beautiful parkland and private gardens.
Visiting Kilkenny Castle
Admission for a self-guided tour is €8 for adults, €6 for seniors, and €4 for children and students. For a guided tour, admission is €12 for adults, €10 for seniors, and €6 and students for children. Kilkenny Castle is open for tours at the following times:
- October to March: 9:30 a.m. — 5 p.m.
- April to September: 9:15 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.
The last admission for a self-guided tour is 30 minutes before closing, and the last admission for a guided tour is 45 minutes before closing.
Ready to visit Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in Kilkenny using Booking.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Have you visited Kilkenny Castle? Let me know about your trip in the comments!