Kilkenny Castle has been one of Ireland’s most beloved historic sites for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. This majestic castle offers an opportunity to explore what life was like for those living in the castle during the Victorian era. If you are visiting Kilkenny be sure to take a Kilkenny Castle tour.
History of Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland, has a long and fascinating history.
Built in 1195 by William Marshal, the castle was originally home to the Butlers, the Earls of Ormonde.
The Castle changed hands many times over its 900-year lifetime and eventually fell into disrepair during the Cromwellian period.
The castle was restored in Victorian times by the Marquess of Ormonde who added a large extension on one side of it and built an ornamental garden around it.
Rooms You’ll See on the Kilkenny Castle Tour
During your self-guided tour of Kilkenny Castle, you will be able to see many different rooms, each one fully furnished in period pieces.
This formal dining room was most recently a billiards room. It was stripped down and brought back to its former early 19th-century splendor.
Some of the silverware on display is the original 18th-century pieces that were purchased by Walter Butler, the 18th Earl, after his marriage to Anna Maria Price Clarke.
Library & Drawing Room
This room probably should have been called the silk room due to the use of the fabric throughout.
From the French silk poplin walls to the claret silk damask curtains, the room is perfectly adorned.
The room is considered the Library only due to the bookcases that line one wall. They are reproductions.
The Drawing Room was reproduced based on original family photographs done in the room.
The views from this room are quite spectacular!
This room shows the items a child of privilege would have had during the Victorian period.
There are various Victorian furnishings and toys including a rocking horse, porcelain dolls, and a beautiful hand-carved Noah’s Ark complete with animals.
When walking to the Picture Gallery, take notice of the details along the stairwell including the skylight.
A stone carver was brought in to carve the details like naturalistic foliage and small animals that adorn the stairs.
While the foundation is original, this room was actually added in the early 19th century to house the family paintings.
One of the best features of this room is the pitched roof.
The hammer beam roof is supported on carved stone corbels and the entire ceiling was hand-painted to reflect medieval and pre-Raphaelite periods.
The Carrara Marble fireplace is decorated with seven panels, showing the family coat of arms and significant scenes depicting the family’s history.
Ros Tapestry Exhibition
The Ros Tapestry project was put together by Rev. Paul Mooney, St Mary’s Church, New Ross, who wanted to create a series of tapestries to commemorate the Norman history of New Ross and South East Ireland.
It was inspired by the famous Bayeux Tapestry in France.
During your tour, you will be able to see various tapestries done by talented needleworkers.
Visitors can take a self-guided Kilkenny Castle tour year-round, but to experience the beauty of the gardens, you should consider traveling here in spring or summer.
Kilkenny Castle remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, attracting people from all over the world every year. Whether experiencing it from the outside or stepping inside to explore what life was like there during the Victorian era, a visit to the castle should be at the top of your list of things to see while in Kilkenny.