Kilkenny Castle , County Kilkenny

If you visit Kilkenny on your tours of Ireland you cannot miss the castle.

Its an imposing building standing high and square over the river that really defines Kilkenny.

Dating originally from the 12th century ,  it was much added to in the 17th century and 19th century. While the furnishings and paintings suggest a civilized wealth and domesticity ,  the scale and grandeur of the rooms  , with their deeply recessed windows and robust fireplaces ,  signify a much cruder political power.

The biggest surprise is the flimsy wooden hammer-beam roof of the picture gallery ,  covered with the folksy ,  Pre-Raphaelite decoration of John Hungerford Pollen – plenty of gold and burnt umber plant life smudging its way across the ceiling.

So if you are on Ireland tours and in the area have a wee look at Kilkenny Castle…its a real hidden gem !!!

castle