"" Writer's Wanderings: Kilkenny Castle

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny was a nice change from Dublin. I prefer smaller towns to large cities. This one fit somewhere in between. It had a large pedestrian area with shops that unfortunately closed pretty early. This was our first opportunity however to see a real Irish castle that wasn't lying in ruins.

The Kilkenny Castle site dates back to a timbered castle orginally built there sometime before William Marshall, 4th Earl of Penbrooke (sounds impressive, doesn't it) built a stone structure in the late 1100s to early 1200s.

James Butler, 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in 1391. At that time, the castle was said to be situated in the middle of orchards and meadowland. However, it was Thomas, 10th Earl of Ormond, who would transform the castle from a fortress-like structure into a more livable castle with lavish tapestries, silver service, damask draperies, etc. all lending to a more opulent style.

When Thomas died, his only heir was a daughter, Elizabeth, who took over the castle and continued the lavish life-style. She and her husband unfortunately died young and the castle contents were sold off.

Over the years, there were other members of the Butler family (Dukes and Duchesses, Earls) who refurbished the castle, worked on the gardens, etc., to make it a "magnificent palace." The family continued to alternately fix the castle up and let it decay over the centuries until finally in 1935 they moved out and auctioned the furnishings. There followed a period of time where nothing was done in the castle but in 1969, through some generous donations, the state was able to take over the castle and begin restoration.

It was at this time, September of 2011, that the Earls of Buckeye. the Robbins, visited the castle and found it to be delightful. The rooms being furnished with period pieces and the story of the castle being told lent to their enjoyment. Ah, Kilkenny Castle. If only you flew the Buckeye colors of Scarlet and Gray.

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