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Visiting Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

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, Kilkenny, Ireland

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

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

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

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny, Ireland

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.

Castle Count: 6

For more great castles to visit in the area, also consider checking out the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle.

Ready to visit Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.



Visiting Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland

Have you visited Kilkenny Castle? Let me know about your trip in the comments!

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  1. How beautiful! Definitely looks like a traditional stone castle. It almost looks unreal- kind of like a toy brought to life.

    1. I found it on a bus tour of the Wicklow Mountains; the tour stopped in Kilkenny for lunch and you had time to explore on your own. If you’re coming from Dublin, you can get a direct bus or train to Kilkenny easily!

  2. I would love to visit Ireland! I was in Scotland many years back and these castles remind me so much of what I saw there. Thanks for the tips!

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