Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is dramatically situated overlooking Kilkenny City, a powerful symbol of Anglo-Norman power in Ireland’s past. The original stone structure was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke, early in the 13th century. However the first (wooden) castle on the site was probably built by Marshall’s father-in-law Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare, better known as Strongbow. Later, the castle became the seat of the Butler Family and today, the castle and grounds are managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW). Part of the National Art Gallery’s exhibition is on display at Kilkenny Castle.

Kilkenny Castle Gardens

The OPW have been working to restore the extensive grounds of Kilkenny Castle since it took over management in 1969. Although only 15 acres of land were attached to the castle at the time, the Marquess of Ormonde later donated some land to the castle grounds.

Many pathways through the grounds have been restored and extended and new entrances have been created to give access to the long stretches of parkland that extend to the front of the castle. Tree and bush planting schemes have been implemented and many varieties have been planted to ensure year-round colour in the grounds. The wooded areas also provide ideal habitats for a myriad of wildlife, including busy squirrels gathering food.

A formal garden has been restored to the west of the castle, featuring a central fountain from which axial paths spread out. The focus was to recapture garden features that may have been present during the ducal period. However, the garden attracting most attention is the Rose Garden.

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