Hello , and welcome to this weekend’s virtual walk.
Today I’m going to bring you on a stroll around the medieval city of Kilkenny.
This city is wall to wall, quite literally packed with amazing things to see. I hope that you have brought comfortable shoes !
Let’s park in The Market Square car park and head up the hill.
As we go along let me tell you a little about this amazing city …
The City of Kilkenny comes from the Irish ” Cill Chainnigh ” meaning the Church of Cainnech and is said to have been founded as a monastic settlement along the banks of the River Nore around the 6th Century.
Following the Norman invasion of Ireland around 1200 the building of Kilkenny Castle commenced and a series of walls were built to protect the citizens.
Over the Centuries the City has grown, but amazingly a huge amount of the mediaeval buildings have survived and continue to be used every day right alongside their more modern neighbours.
Kilkenny is known as the marble city as many of the buildings are adorned by the fine black marble that is quarried not far away.
This marble ( not as old as our Connemara marble ) was formed around 350 Million years ago and you can see flecks of fossilised sea life in the stone . It takes on a lovely intense black sheen , and we can see it in almost every building as we go along.
Dotted around the City are many Churches Including the Black abbey, St Marys Cathedral, St Canice’s cathedral and St Johns Priory.
Let’s take a stop and a peek at the Rothe House. This is a late 16th Century merchants town house complex and is in fact made up of three houses and an enclosed courtyard.
A little further down the street is the Thosel, a former Toll house with a fine arcade dating from 1761.
I love how the old and new combine in this city, its streets are lively with bookshops, markets and a great sense of hustle and bustle .
Crossing Patrick Street and onto the parade let’s take a peek into the National Crafts and Design Gallery. This showcases Ireland’s leading crafts and designers – it’s always an inspiration to visit and admire the amazing talent and skills. A back gate brings us into the gardens of the lovely Butler house and gardens… but no time to stop.. we still have lots to see !!
Across the road is one of the Highlights of Kilkenny – the castle itself. As I mentioned earlier, the first castle was constructed around 1200 by Richard de Clare, the Earl of Pembroke and what we see today was largely built by the Butler family in the 15th Century. It dominates the city and overlooks the river Nore.
It’s the real jewel in the crown – take a look at the battlements, the ornamental gardens and the fine stonework , really amazing .
Now, For beer lovers, we simply can’t miss taking a stop at Smithwicks brewery. This lovely amber beer has been brewed in Kilkenny since 1710 and is enjoyed all around the world .
Sadly the visitor centre is closed .. another thing to put on the list when we finally get back to normal !!
Now, for the spooky bit.. Kilkenny was home to Ireland’s most famous witch Dame Alice Kyteler .
Alice as born in 1263 and after she grew up married four times, each husband mysteriously meeting his death !
It was said that she rode on a broomstick with not one, but two back Kilkenny cats and before long was suspected of Witchcraft.
She was tried and found guilty and held in the dungeons of Kilkenny castle . She managed to escape … and fled..
We stop at Kyteler’s Inn. This is where she lived , and today we can visit and enjoy some fine food and drink.
Let’s stop for a snack, and you can have a pint of Smithwicks ( I can’ t as I’m driving ) ..
Boy, we packed a lot into today’s walk. There is so much to see in this amazing city but I do hope that you enjoyed coming with me today.
All the best,