Kilkenny City , County Kilkenny

One of Ireland’s most attractive towns , where medieval lanes and buildings blend with Georgian elegance. The town initially grew round a monastery founded by St. Canice in the 6th century. The tower built on the same site four hundred years laer can be climbed , while the adjoining 13th century St. Canice’s Cathedral contains the original baptismal font and St. Kieran’s Chair , an ancient stone of enthronement for Bishops.

After the Anglo-Norman invasion ‘Strongbow’ built a castle here in 1172 , and his heir replaced it with a stone fortress. In 1391 the castle and town were purchased by James Buler , 3rd Earl of Ormond. The castle , which was remodelled in the Victorian times , is set in extensive parkland overlooking the River Nore.

Kilkenny became a rival to Dublin as the capital in the 14th century and the Anglo-Irish parliament met here regularly. During a famous meeting in 1366 it enacted the Statutes of Kilkenny in a bid to stop the Gaelicization of the Anglo-Normans. The statutes proved unsuccessful.

In 1609 James I conferred the status of city on Kilkenny , and from 1642-48 it was the seat of the General Assembly of the Catholic Confederation , a short lived Irish Parliament. In 1650 the city was taken by Cromwell after a five day siege. Rothe House on Parliament Street was built in 1549 for a prosperous Tudor merchant and now contains the museum of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. The Black Abbey on Abbey Street is a Dominican friary and was built in 1225 it has now been restored.

Kilkenny City is steeped in history and is a must see on your all Ireland tours.