Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny City, County Kilkenny

Kilkenny Castle is located in Kilkenny City at a strategic location that commands a crossing on the River Nore. The site had previously been the chief residence of the local Gaelic Kings of Osraige before the Norman invasion. It was William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke who built the first Norman castle here in 1210 and later it 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 land and castle in 1391 and it stayed ‘in the family’ 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 Butlers were a resilient, cunning and politically astute family who managed to be able ‘to pick’ the right side during times of war. Their castle was used as the location for the Confederate Parliament of the 1640s and during the Irish Civil War of 1922 Republicans were besieged by Irish Free State forces here. This complex structure is made up of various architectural styles built over nearly 800 years. It is now a national monument is one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland.