Kilkenny Castle is located on a strategic site that commands a crossing on the River Nore in Kilkenny City. What you see today is a complex structure of various architectural styles built over 800 years. The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built by William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke in 1210 a.d and 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 Butler dynasty were a remarkable family, resilient, politically astute and faithful to the crown and to Ireland and ruled this area for centuries. 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. In it’s long history, it was the venue for the meeting of the Confederate Ireland government as their parliament in the 1640s and during the Irish Civil War in 1922, republicans were besieged in the Castle by Irish Free State forces.