Below are a few shots of the place, the entrance and the crocuses making an appearance in of all things the month of February.
A BRIEF HISTORY:
The Earl William Marshall owned large estates in Ireland, England, Wales and France and managed them effectively. He began a major phase of development in Kilkenny, including the construction of Kilkenny Castle and the agreement of rents and privileges with burgesses or citizens of the borough. The first stone castle on the site, was completed in 1213. This was a square-shaped castle with towers at each corner; three of these original four towers survive to this day.
James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormonde bought the castle in 1391 and established himself as ruler of the area. This began the "Butler Dynasy which rulled the area of centuries lasting over 500 years. They were the Earls, Marquesses and Dukes of Ormonde. One Lady Margaret Butler, born in this castle was the paternal grandmother of Anny Boleyn, who you may remember as the second wife of King Henry V111 of England.
The Castle became the seat of power and was the venue for the meeting of the General Assembly or parliament of the Confederate Ireland government in the 1640s.
The Butler family lived there till 1935 when they abandoned it and moved to London. In 1967, Arthur Butler, 6th Marquess and 24th Earl of Ormonde, sold the abandoned and deteriorating castle to the Castle Restoration Committee for £50, It has been refurbished and is now a great place to see, we loved the tour.
THE ART GALLERY:
We take photos, they commissioned paintings! The unique aspect of this castle is that it had an art gallery on one of its wings which held over 500 paintings which the Butler family commissioned as portraits and also paintings of historical family events. For example when one of the family served the first goblet of wine to one of the newly crowned kings of England. Or when another refused to give up his sword when entering the banquet room of an official political event. Everyone else had given
given up their's upon entry, but not him! The art gallery was a real surprise and jaw dropper as we walked into this huge castle wing dedicated to all these paintings. We were very impressed.
Below is a picture of the castle garden from one of the upper windows. Notice that it is in the shape of a Celtic cross. You can tell it's spring, plants are just emerging or being planted.
THE REST OF THE TOUR IN KILKENNY:
After this we walked around the village area built in the form of the original medieval style of crooked narrow streets. The Church on the right below is St. Canice's Cathedral. Unfortunately, we stayed too long at the castle so by the time we got here it was closed.
If you are ever planning a trip check out http://www.visitkilkenny.ie/tynans_walking_tours and other websites which explain the amenaties of Kilkenny.
Tomorrow, it's all about making Crystal!