Kilkenny Castle | Kilkenny Tourism

Kilkenny Castle


Kilkenny Castle,
The Parade,

Tel: 056 7704100
Fax: 056 7704116 / (086-8191251)

Kilkenny Castle

Go back in time to a 12th Century castle, remodelled and restored and set in 1830's splendour and extensive parklands: includes art gallery and playground. Publications are also on sale.

Access for visitors with disabilities to ground floor and the gardens only.

Brochure: Download Kilkenny Castle Brochure (1.15 MB PDF)
Audio Guide of Kilkenny Castle:

Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles.

The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (c.1146-1219) during the first decade of the  thirteenth century. Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James (c.1360-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in c.1391, and lasted until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50.

The buildings have been in the care of the Office of Public Works since 1969, and many important programmes of archaeological excavation, conservation, and restoration have been carried out there.

Kilkenny Castle Hall

Opening Hours

  • October to February - 9.30am to 4.30pm
  • March - 9.30am to 5.00pm 
  • April and May - 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • June to August - 9am to 5.30pm
  • September - 9.30am to 5.30pm

Christmas and New Year Opening Arrangements 2016: The Castle will close at 1pm on Saturday 24th December and will reopen as normal on Tuesday 27th December 2016 at 09.30

Access: February 1st to October 31st, self-guided visit and last admission 30 minutes before closing.  November 1st to January 31st, visit by guided tour only and last admission 45 minutes before closing.  Arrangements may be subject to change, please check with site.

Admissions Charges:

  • Adult: €7
  • Senior (60+) / Group (+20): €5
  • Child (6-18) / Student: €3
  • Family: €17

Groups of 10 people and more must be pre-booked.
Bookings: by telephone: +353 56 770 4106, by fax: +353 56 770 4116 or by e-mail:

Please note that this is a very busy site and visitors may experience a delay during the summer months, Average length of visit: 1 hour.

To join a talk in the Long Gallery as part of your visit, please check with site for daily schedule.

Below is the QR code for the Free Kilkenny Castle Mobile Tour App

QR code for Kilkenny Castle


Conference & Banqueting

The Parade Tower Wing is the dedicated events area of Kilkenny Castle and incorporates the entire west wing and two of the Castle's medieval towers. This multi-purpose venue is designed to accommodate conferences, receptions, product launches, gala dinners as well as cultural and artistic events.  More recently, it has become an intimate venue for civil marriage ceremonies.

For eight centuries, Kilkenny Castle has hosted many significant historic gatherings.  Indeed, the Parade Tower housed the Great Council Chamber where Parliament sat in the 17th century.

In addition to The Parade Tower Wing, the magnificent Picture Gallery of Kilkenny Castle is available for hire for appropriate evening events, including pre-dinner drinks receptions and classical music recitals.

For more detailed information on the individual rooms please click on the links to the left.

The Parade Tower

The Tower is a truly unique and historic venue, which offers state of the art facilities in a medieval setting, with full blackout facilities, atmospheric lighting and accommodation for the most up-to-date audio visual equipment in a projection booth.

With its impressive pine ceiling and tiered balconies, The Parade Tower is also a spectacular setting for banqueting events, with the magnificent Picture Gallery of the Castle available for the pre-dinner drinks receptions.    It is also a very intimate locations for civil marriage ceremonies. 

Parade Tower at Kilkenny Castle

The Duchess Boardroom

The Victorian Duchess Boardroom with its elegant gilded plasterwork is located on the second floor of The Parade Tower wing and provides an opulent yet relaxed ambience for smaller meetings and private dining, in the most intimate surroundings.

Duchess Boardroom at Kilkenny Castle

The Ormonde Boardroom

This smaller Victorian Boardroom, located on the first floor of The Parade Tower Wing, is more suited to smaller meetings or in conjunction with larger events at The Tower.

The Medieval Room

With its arrow loops and central oak beam, The Medieval Room reflects eight hundred years of history at Kilkenny Castle. This circular chamber type room offers an authentic setting for receptions.

Medieval Room at Kilkenny Castle

The Picture Gallery

The Picture Gallery located in the East Wing of Kilkenny Castle, was built primarily to house the Butler Family's fine collection of paintings.  Today, this area is a magnificent setting for pre-dinner drinks, which are held in conjunction with dinner at The Parade Tower.   The Gallery is also available for appropriate evening events including classical music recitals.


ParkRun Ireland

Free 5k weekly timed Run at Kilkenny Castle Park starting on Saturday 11th October: 

OPW Kilkenny Castle is delighted to welcome ParkRun Ireland / Kilkenny -  a FREE timed weekly 5k run at Kilkenny Castle Park - every Saturday morning at 9:30pm - starting from Saturday 11th October 2014.

Please visit www.parkrun/ for full details including registration / barcode / course description

  • What is Kilkenny ParkRun?  It is a 5km run - it's you against the clock
  • When is it?   Every Saturday at 9:30am - start
  • Where is it?  Kilkenny Castle Park  -  Course details available from www.parkrun/
  • Coming along for the first time? Please make sure you have registered, received your barcode and also read the course description.
  • What does it cost to join in?   Nothing - it's FREE! but please register before your first run with www.parkrun/  - only ever register once - don't forget to bring a printed copy of your barcode / if you forget it you won't get your time!
  • How fast do I have to be?  Everyone runs for their own enjoyment.  Please come along and join in whatever your pace!

Kilkenny ParkRun needs you!  It is entirely organised by volunteers - email to help

We're friendly!  Every week we grab a post parkrun coffee in a local café - please come and join us!


New Permanent Orienteering Course at Kilkenny Castle Park

Following the December launch of the new permanent Orienteering Course at Kilkenny Castle Park, OPW is delighted to announce that three maps, Short (1.8km), Medium (2.4km) and Long (3.5km) distances, are now available FREE to download.

The orienteering course is open to all - families, individuals, clubs and schools.  What an amazing way to explore the flora and fauna of Kilkenny Castle Park whilst enjoying the exercise in beautiful surroundings.  There is also a small area of the Canal Walk involved in the courses.

Below you can view/download the PDF of Short, Medium and Long Orienteering Course at Kilkenny Castle

* PDF of Orienteering Course at Kilkenny Castle Park - Long Course.

* PDF of Orienteering Course at Kilkenny Castle Park - Medium Course.

* PDF of Orienteering Course at Kilkenny Castle Park - Short Course.

To tackle your chosen distance:

  • Download the map for your chosen distance (as well as the answer sheet for checking at the end);
  • Find the controls in the order shown on the map;
  • Complete the numbered code of the marker post in the corresponding box;
  • At the end of the Course, check your answers are correct (by referring to the answer sheet);
  • Good luck and enjoy!

To organise a specific event please contact: Anne Teehan or Colm Mangan

For further information on Orienteering in the South East please visit Waterford Orienteering (WAT-O)

Please note that Orienteering is an adventure sport that involves crossing rough and uneven terrain, tracks and paths. Please wear appropriate footwear.  The Office of Public Works and WAT-O do not accept responsibility for any injuries incurred.


The 'Book of Pottlerath' Exhibition of framed excerpts

Kilkenny Castle is currently exhibiting framed excerpts from The Book of Pottlerath at the Sallyport Cellar.

The Book of Pottlerath is a rare and fascinating book, which forms a major part of Kilkenny’s past.  Today it lies in a vault at Oxford University in England.

This 'Leabhar na Rátha' begun by James, the 4th Earl of Ormond, was completed by scribes commissioned by his nephew Edmund Butler in 1454 in Co. Kilkenny.  It came into the hands of Sir George Carew, President of Munster, who subsequently bequeathed it to Sir Thomas Stafford.  Stafford either sold or gave it to William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, who in turn gave it to the Bodleian Library, Oxford University on 16th June 1636.

The condition of the bequest was that it would not leave Oxford University and it is still in their care to the present day.

The exhibition is open free of charge to the public from 9.30am to 4.15pm daily.


Kilkenny Castle's Tapestries return

Minister Hayes was in Kilkenny Castle on Monday 17th February to welcome the return of the 'Decius Mus' Tapestries following conservation work in Madrid.

The Tapestries are among the great glories of the wonderful historic Ormonde Collection at Kilkenny Castle. The 'Decius' suite had been in the ownership of the Ormonde family for over 300 years and was displayed in several of their residences before being acquired by OPW for display in Kilkenny Castle. The centuries took a toll on the delicate fabrics and major conservation was needed. This intricate work was entrusted to Real Fabrica de Tapices in Madrid, one of the leading international conservation specialists in this medium. After three years of painstaking work the Tapestries have returned to their ‘rightful home’ at Kilkenny Castle and again form a highlight of the Ormonde Collection in the Tapestry Room and fabulous Picture Gallery - one of the finest historic and architectural spaces in Ireland.

Kilkenny Castle


FREE Gardening Talks 2017

  • OPW Kilkenny Castle is very pleased to announce the fifth series of FREE Gardening Talks at The Parade Tower, as part of the Spring Programme of Events 2017 at the Castle. Doors open at 7pm with Talks beginning at 8pm
    • Tuesday 21st March:  Matthew Jebb - OPW - (Director of National Botanic Gardens of Ireland) - 'A View from the Palm House'
    • Tuesday 28th March:  Oliver Schurmann (Mount Venue Nursery) - Growing Perennials Successfully'
    • Tuesday 4th April:  Carmel Duignan (Renowned Dublin Gardener) - 'On Being a Plant Anorak'
    • Tuesday 11th April:  Philip Hollwey (Co Wexford) - 'Creating a Beautiful Country Garden'
    • Tuesday 25th April:  Adam Whitbourn (Blarney Castle) - 'The Story of Blarney Castle Gardens'
    • Tuesday 2nd May: Colm Mangan - OPW - (Foreman at Kilkenny Castle Park) - 'Opposites Attract: Wild Flower Meadows & Manicured Lawns'