fbpx
Close
Articles by Year

<<     >>

Articles by Category
844 235 6240
Flag

Locations

Selected Trips

    Kilkenny Castle – From Strongbow to A Butler’s Pride

    Kilkenny Castle is one of the most beautiful sights to visit in Ireland and has been through many changes throughout a period of eight hundred years.

    Discover more below.

    By Neil Irvine, SEO Content Editor
    More by Neil

    Kilkenny Castle

    self drive ireland

    Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 and was designed to control a fording point (where water is shallow enough to be crossed on foot by wading) of the River Nore. The castle was one of the first Norman castles to be constructed in Ireland soon after the Normans conquest of the country and over a massive period of eight hundred years, many changes took place with the building being subject to rebuilds, extensions, and adaptions.

    “In 1967 the castle and grounds were transferred to the people of Kilkenny for a massive sum of £50 pounds!”

    Fast forward to the modern days of the 21st century and the castle is a special attraction for visitors to the beautiful county of Kilkenny. In its current incarnation, the building has largely been remodelled by the Victorians to resemble its original thirteenth design. In the nineteenth century, a few elements were added to the area surrounding the castle such as woodlands, a rose garden and a man-made lake which really added a uniquely distinctive appeal to an amazing historical scene.

    Kilkenny Castle Map & The Area

    ‘In Irish Gaelic, the name Kilkenny translates to the church of Cainnech.’

    Kilkenny Castle is located overlooking the River Nore in the heart of Kilkenny city which is based in the county of Kilkenny – in the southwest region of Ireland.

    County Kilkenny has three major rivers that run through the county and River Nore is one of these rivers, which are all also known as the three sisters, with the other two rivers being Suir and the Barrow. Many people think of Dublin as being the capital city of Ireland and one would not fault them for thinking that this was always the case, but in 1641 Kilkenny actually became the capital city of Ireland and it remained this way for nine years until the Cromwell led conquest of Ireland in 1649.

    The city of Kilkenny is very much a city that is decorated in medieval architecture and Kilkenny Castle definitely fits in with the beautiful historic environment of the area. There are many buildings that are scattered throughout Kilkenny which have been well preserved and are maintained to a high standard.

    The city is also sometimes referred to as marble city because of its famously unique black marble that is sourced from the Black Quarry in Archersgrove and Gowan which is situated not far south from Kilkenny city.

    Kilkenny Castle History

    The Castle’s Beginnings

    The beginnings of Kilkenny Castle dates back as far as the 12th century and although there is no accurate record it is thought that the castle was originally built as a wooden structure. History does, although, know that the original castle was constructed by the famous Norman knight 2nd Earl of Pembroke – Richard de Clare, who most people know as ‘Strongbow.’ His marriage to the Irish princess Aoife cemented Norman rule in Ireland.

    The first stone castle on the site was completed in 1260 and would have been a rather basic square-shaped building with classic towers located on each of the four corners of the building – and incredibly, despite hundreds of years passing, three of the original towers survived the passage of time and still stand proudly in the present day Kilkenny Castle.

    The Butlers Era

    In 1391 the castle was sold to the very wealthy Anglo-Norman Butler family of Ormonde who all originally come to Ireland in 1171 during the first Norman invasion of the country. James Butler was the member of the family that bought Kilkenny Castle and over time he became very powerful and generations of the family ruled the surrounding area for many centuries. Many of the Butler family (James Butler included) were buried not far from Kilkenny City in St Mary Collegiate Church in Gowran – which is around a 15 minutes drive away from the castle.

    James Butler’s Castle Remodelling

    In 1661 James Butlers remodelled Kilkenny Castle to resemble a modern chateau style which was inspired by his time in France. A new entrance to the castle was also created around the same time, which is the same entrance that you can walk through today. The entrance to the caste is around 300 years old and was started by James Butler, but he never did manage to see the completed entrance as he died before it was finished – his grandson made sure that the entrance was eventually completed in his honour.

    Further Kilkenny Castle Restoration

    By the eighteenth century the fortunes of the Butler family were failing and as a result the castle was affected. The Butler’s financial failings seeped into the castle and the building had become rather ran down and was not maintained well. Eventually the castle did see some positive restoration when John Butler, 17th Earl of Ormonde, married Anne Wandesford of Castlecomer who brought some wealth back into the family. With this newly-found wealth, the castle saw some restoration in an attempt to restore this run down castle to its former glory.

    Continued riches allowed the Butler family to further add restoration efforts to the caste, in the nineteenth century there was an attempt to restore the castle to its original medieval design. During this time the north wing of the castle was rebuilt and the south curtain wall was extended before more extensions were added in 1854.

    Kilkenny Castle in The Twentieth Century

    After the deaths of a number Butler family members and the Irish Civil War, Kilkenny Castle, once so full of life, saw itself in a state abandonment. In 1967 Lord Ormonde decided to sell the castle to the Castle Restoration Committee for just £50 because he felt a sense of pride with the castle and did not want it to deteriorate any further. He is famously quoted as saying:

    “The people of Kilkenny, as well as myself and my family, feel a great pride in the Castle, and we have not liked to see this deterioration. We determined that it should not be allowed to fall into ruins. There are already too many ruins in Ireland.”

    To mark the occasion, a handover ceremony took place in Kilkenny where even famous rock and songwriter legends Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull turned up to celebrate Kilkenny Castle’s newfound life!

    Remains of an Earlier Castle

    It seems that the history of the castle in the area goes back further than was initially thought – this is as a result of excavations and building surveys that took place during the 1990s. Around this time period, remnants of an earlier castle were discovered – a side entrance to an old castle was found and also a part of a ditch was uncovered which is visible and you can see it if you are visiting Kilkenny Castle.

    The Scenery of County Kilkenny


    Trips with Castles

    Wilderness Ireland Departure DatesAvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    Deluxe Hiking – Ireland Coast to Coast

    1st Jun - 7th Jun 2024

    3 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,640Book Now
    Bike Tour – The Wild Atlantic Way

    1st Jun - 14th Jun 2024

    5 place(s) leftGuaranteed 5,620Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    2nd Jun - 7th Jun 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,275Trip Full
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    8th Jun - 14th Jun 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 2,520Trip Full
    Self Drive – Belfast, Giant’s Causeway & Donegal

    12th Jun - 19th Jun 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 3,450Trip Full
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    16th Jun - 21st Jun 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,275Trip Full
    Self Drive – Belfast, Giant’s Causeway & Donegal

    18th Jun - 24th Jun 2024

    2 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,695Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 2,360Trip Full
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    22nd Jun - 2nd Jul 2024

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 4,510Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Self Guided plus+ Cycling – Connemara & The Burren

    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2024

    10 place(s) leftGuaranteed 1,980Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    23rd Jun - 28th Jun 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,350Trip Full
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    23rd Jun - 1st Jul 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,425Trip Full
    Deluxe Hiking – The Kerry Mountains

    29th Jun - 5th Jul 2024

    5 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,680Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    6th Jul - 12th Jul 2024

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,490Book Now
    Deluxe Family Adventure – Legends of The Southwest

    6th Jul - 12th Jul 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 3,050Trip Full
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    6th Jul - 12th Jul 2024 Women only departure

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    7th Jul - 12th Jul 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Guided plus+ Cycling – Wild Atlantic Way Southwest

    13th Jul - 19th Jul 2024

    6 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,160Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    14th Jul - 19th Jul 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    14th Jul - 22nd Jul 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,425Trip Full
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    20th Jul - 26th Jul 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    21st Jul - 26th Jul 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,350Trip Full
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    27th Jul - 2nd Aug 2024

    3 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    27th Jul - 2nd Aug 2024

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,390Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    28th Jul - 2nd Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Deluxe Family Adventure – Legends of The Southwest

    1st Aug - 7th Aug 2024

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 3,300Book Now
    Self Guided plus+ Cycling – Connemara & The Burren

    3rd Aug - 9th Aug 2024

    7 place(s) leftGuaranteed 1,980Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    3rd Aug - 9th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    4th Aug - 9th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    8th Aug - 16th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    10th Aug - 16th Aug 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 2,520Trip Full
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    10th Aug - 20th Aug 2024

    5 place(s) leftGuaranteed 4,510Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    11th Aug - 16th Aug 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,350Trip Full
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    11th Aug - 19th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    15th Aug - 23rd Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    15th Aug - 20th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    17th Aug - 23rd Aug 2024 Women only departure

    3 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,390Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    18th Aug - 26th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    18th Aug - 23rd Aug 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,350Trip Full
    Self Drive – Connemara, Dingle & The Cliffs of Moher

    21st Aug - 26th Aug 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 2,270Trip Full
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    22nd Aug - 30th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    22nd Aug - 27th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    24th Aug - 30th Aug 2024

    7 place(s) leftAvailable 2,360Book Now
    Bike Tour – Donegal From Cliffs to Coast

    24th Aug - 30th Aug 2024

    6 place(s) leftGuaranteed 3,210Book Now
    Self Drive – West Cork Escape

    24th Aug - 27th Aug 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,305Trip Full
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    25th Aug - 30th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    25th Aug - 2nd Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    29th Aug - 3rd Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    29th Aug - 6th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    30th Aug - 9th Sep 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,320Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – The Kerry Mountains

    31st Aug - 6th Sep 2024

    3 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,680Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    1st Sep - 6th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Drive – Connemara, Dingle & The Cliffs of Moher

    3rd Sep - 9th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,410Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    5th Sep - 13th Sep 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,520Trip Full
    Self Guided plus+ Cycling – Wild Atlantic Way Southwest

    7th Sep - 13th Sep 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,160Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    8th Sep - 16th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    8th Sep - 13th Sep 2024

    Trip FullGuaranteed 1,350Trip Full
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    12th Sep - 20th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    15th Sep - 23rd Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    19th Sep - 27th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    E-bike – Ireland’s West Coast

    21st Sep - 27th Sep 2024

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 3,350Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    22nd Sep - 30th Sep 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    26th Sep - 4th Oct 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    28th Sep - 4th Oct 2024

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,390Book Now
    Self Guided – The Dingle Way

    29th Sep - 7th Oct 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    5th Oct - 11th Oct 2024

    5 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,390Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    6th Oct - 11th Oct 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Self Guided – The Wicklow Way

    13th Oct - 18th Oct 2024

    2 place(s) leftAvailable 1,350Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    22nd Mar - 28th Mar 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    29th Mar - 4th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,490Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Ireland Coast to Coast

    5th Apr - 11th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,640Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    5th Apr - 15th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    12th Apr - 18th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    19th Apr - 25th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,490Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    19th Apr - 29th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    19th Apr - 25th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    26th Apr - 2nd May 2025

    7 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    3rd May - 9th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,360Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    3rd May - 9th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    10th May - 16th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,490Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Ireland Coast to Coast

    10th May - 16th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,640Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    10th May - 16th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    17th May - 23rd May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    17th May - 27th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    24th May - 30th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    24th May - 30th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    31st May - 6th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    7th Jun - 13th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    7th Jun - 13th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    7th Jun - 13th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,360Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    14th Jun - 24th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    14th Jun - 20th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Ireland Coast to Coast

    14th Jun - 20th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,640Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    14th Jun - 20th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    21st Jun - 27th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    28th Jun - 8th Jul 2025

    2 place(s) leftGuaranteed 4,510Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    5th Jul - 11th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    5th Jul - 11th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    5th Jul - 11th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,490Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Ireland Coast to Coast

    12th Jul - 18th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,640Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    12th Jul - 18th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    12th Jul - 18th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    19th Jul - 25th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    19th Jul - 25th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,360Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    19th Jul - 29th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    26th Jul - 1st Aug 2025

    6 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    2nd Aug - 8th Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    9th Aug - 15th Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,490Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    16th Aug - 22nd Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    16th Aug - 22nd Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    16th Aug - 26th Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    16th Aug - 22nd Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    23rd Aug - 29th Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    23rd Aug - 29th Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,360Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    30th Aug - 5th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    30th Aug - 9th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    30th Aug - 5th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Ireland Coast to Coast

    6th Sep - 12th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,640Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Cork & Kerry

    6th Sep - 12th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    13th Sep - 19th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Dingle Way

    13th Sep - 19th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,490Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    13th Sep - 19th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – Connemara’s Atlantic Edge

    20th Sep - 26th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,360Book Now
    Deluxe Hiking – Highlights of Ireland

    20th Sep - 30th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 4,510Book Now
    Hiking & Island Hopping – Ireland’s West Coast

    27th Sep - 3rd Oct 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now
    Hiking – Kerry & Clare

    4th Oct - 10th Oct 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,390Book Now

    Meet the Author: Neil Irvine

    Neil, our Scottish Highlander, has travelled all over Ireland (and Scotland!). Though originally from the city, Neil prefers the tranquillity of the outdoors. Joining Wilderness in 2017, Neil is our SEO expert.

    View profile More by Neil

    mail

    Want more Wilderness in your life?

    Be the first to hear about new trips, locations and activities with our monthly newsletter