Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny (pics) looks like you would expect a small Irish village to look.  The town sits alongside the River Nore with a well preserved 800 year old castle on one end and St. Canice’s Cathedral with its 10th century tower on the other.  The town center is compact with tangled passageways, brightly colored old-fashioned shop fronts and centuries old pubs.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle was built by the Normans in the late 12th century.  It was purchased by the powerful Butler family in 1391 and remarkably their descendants continued to live here until 1935 at which time they auctioned off all of the contents.  The castle remained vacant until 1967 when it was turned over to the city.  After years of work and millions of Euros, it has been restored to the period when the Butler family occupied the castle and had decorated the interior with very fine furnishings and art.

In the US we’re not used to walking into a restaurant or bar that is housed in a building which has been around for almost 700 years.  In Kilkenny, the Kyteler Inn is just such a place.  It was built in 1324 by Dame Alice le Kyteler, the daughter of a banker.  She gained her own notoriety by accumulating a considerable fortune which perhaps was the cause for her enemies to conspire to accuse her of witchcraft.  Eventually, she had to escape to England to avoid being burned at the stake.

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