Kilkenny is a Medieval Town in the Southeast Ireland. Its majestic Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 by the Norman occupiers. Kilkenny has deep religious roots and many well-preserved churaftedrches and monasteries including the imposing the 13th Century Saint Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey Dominican Priory.

Kilkenny is also a crafts hub with shops dotted along its winding streets selling locally crafted pottery, paintings and jewellery.

Kilkenny traces its origins to an early sixth century ecclesiastical foundation within the Kingdom of Ossory. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, Kilkenny Castle was built together with a  series of walls as protection for the burghers of what became a Norman merchant town. William Marshall who was Lord of Leinster gave Kilkenny a charter as a town in 1207. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control. The Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to retard the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter which gave it the status of a city. Following the 1641 Rebellion , the Irish Catholic Confederation, also known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649.

Kilkenny Castle

There has been a castle in Kilkenny since 1172 when Richard de Clare, the Norman Knight also known as Strongbow, built a wooden tower on this rocky height overlooking the River Nore. The first masonry castle was built here twenty years later by Strongbow's son-in-law William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. Three of the castle's original four towers still survive today.

A busy and successful commercial centre grew around the original Norman settlement, and the present Hightown and Irishtown areas of Kilkenny today date from that period.

The Butlers of Kilkenny Castle were an Anglo-Norman family who came to Ireland in 1171 in the first wave of the Norman invasion.  Major restoration of Kilkenny Castle began in 1826 with the intention of restoring the castle to its mediaeval appearance and also bring it up to date as a country house with all the modern conveniences of the time.

At the turn of the century James Butler, twenty first Earl and third Marquess of Ormonde, entertained King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra here, and later, King George and Queen Mary.   On 2nd May 1922 the castle was occupied by republican forces, after only two days however it was restored to the Butlers following a seige.

By the 1930's the Butlers realised that they had to examine the viability of maintaining their seat at Kilkenny Castle.  In 1935 they decided to leave and a great auction was held in the castle.  All the contents of the castle were auctioned off over a five day period.

In 1967, Arthur Butler, sixth Marquess and twenty-third Earl of Ormonde handed Kilkenny Castle over to the Castle Restoration Committee for a nominal sum of £50.

After treating the building for both dry rot and wet rot a phased programme of restoration commenced. The East Wing was re-roofed and opened to the public in 1976.

 

"Paul Hehir, our driver was the most pleasurable person to drive throughout Ireland with. If you asked me for just one word to describe Paul, it is Excellent, but my husband and I know he went beyond excellent."

Chiquita Coyne, Mexico

 

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Satisfying the customer 

Over the years we have had several compliments on our drivers from many of our satisfied customers. Click on the link to "Tripadvisor" below to read, in full, the reviews of some of our many happy customers.

"Jim was very informative. I was driven to many out of the way places and the scenery was spectacular. I can highly recommend Jim's tour, his driving, his professionalism and the way he goes about understanding what it is you want to see and experience."

AnnMarie D., Melbourne, Australia

 

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IRELAND WEST TOURS

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