We are delighted to welcome you back to Kilkenny Castle and have taken the necessary measures to ensure that everyone’s visit is as safe and enjoyable as possible.
Admission charges to all open, fee paying OPW heritage sites are being waived from the 14th May until the end of 2021
It is essential to pre-book tickets online in advance of visit. There are no ‘walk-in tickets’ available. Please do not arrive without having booked your tickets in advance as you will not gain entry.
Pre-booking online is possible from 1 hour up to 7 days in advance of visit.
Welcome to Kilkenny Castle and Parklands
Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle. Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years.
Today, Kilkenny Castle is open to visitors all year round and is largely a Victorian remodelling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see this grand country house and walk through its fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.
In previous centuries the Castle was surrounded by parklands and enclosed by gardens with generous tree planting. This was gradually whittled away and changed over the centuries and, when the castle was first handed over to the people of Kilkenny in the 1960s, only fifteen acres of land was attached.
Today, the park comprises 21 hectares of land providing a fitting setting for the castle and a splendid amenity area.
After the Castle was taken over by the Office of Public Works, new entrances were created to give access to the park. The entrance near the Parade Tower has nineteenth-century cast iron gates that came originally from St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The open parkland to the south of the castle has been replanted with emphasis on trees and shrubs that provide year around colour. Pathways have been restored and some have been extended.
On the west side of the castle a formal garden with axial paths radiating from a central fountain retains much of the basic form that could have been there during the ducal period. The existing fountain is probably the base of an original seventeenth-century water feature. Two lead statues stand on pedestals near the castle: one is of Hermes after the original in the Vatican Collection, and the other is of Diana the Huntress. All of the garden features, including the terracing, have been recently restored.
The opening of OPW sites can be weather dependent and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all, access may be subject to change at short notice. Every attempt will be made to announce these closures ahead of time but if you are in any doubt, please check with site for its Open/Close Status.
There is no admission fee to walk and explore the parklands.
Please note BBQ’s are not allowed on the Castle Park grounds.
Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a lead and are not allowed in the lake, as there is wildlife nesting.