Kilkenny Castle is one of the most recognisable castles in Ireland. This strategic site was where the local Kings of Osraige had their chief residence before the Norman invasion. Kilkenny formed part of the lordship of Leinster, which was granted to Strongbow. Strongbow’s daughter and heiress, Isabel married William Marshall in 1189 who owned large estates in Ireland, England, Wales and France. The first stone castle on the site, was completed in 1213. This was a square-shaped with towers at each corner; three of these original four towers survive to this day. This along with the massive ditch would have help defend the town and control the fording-point of the River Nore.  James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormonde, bought the castle in 1391 and established himself as ruler of the area. The Butler dynasty were a remarkable family, resilient, politically astute and faithful to the crown and to Ireland and ruled this area for centuries. They lived in the castle for over 500 hundred years until 1935 when they sold its contents for £6,000, moved to London, and abandoned it for thirty years. In it’s long history, it was the venue for the meeting of the Confederate Ireland government as their parliament in the 1640s. During the Irish Civil War in 1922, republicans were besieged in the Castle by Irish Free State forces. It is now under the care of the state and has become one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland.

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