Built on the banks of the River Nore, Kilkenny is located in southeastern Ireland and is a popular tourist destination as it is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Ireland and regarded for its culture with craft and design workshops, threatre and public gardens and museums.
Kilkenny was granted city status in 1609, though its history long exceeds the granting of such status. Beginning in the 6th century with an ecclesiastical foundation and church built in honor of St. Canice, now a cathedral, Kilkenny was a major monastic center from at least the 8th century.
In 1204, following the Norman invasion, Kilkenny Castle was begun with walls being added to protect what became a Norman merchant town. It was completed in 1213. Its charter as a town was given in 1207 by William Marshall, Lord of Leinster and by the late 13th century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control. The nearby St. Canice Catherdral became known as Irishtown and the Anglo-Norman borough within the walls was known as Hightown, appropriate since it sits atop a hill.
The Cromwellian conquest of 1649 saw the collapse of one of the 4 walls surrounding Kilkenny Castle. However, the four original corner tower remain to this day. The castle was sold to the local Castle Restoration Committee in the middle of the 20th century for and astonishing £50. Shortly thereafter, it was handed over to the State and has since been refurbished and is open to visitors (for a fee of course). The surrounding lands and ornamental gardens are open to the public (for free) and has become one of the most visited sites in Ireland. Remnants of the original city walls and towers can be seen throughout the city as well.
If you see no other city in Ireland, make this THE one…and I am not just saying that because my peeps are from Kilkenny!!