Kilkenny City is the medieval capital of Ireland. With Reilly’s Ireland we’ll take you in complete luxury to some of Irelands most historic sites from the stunning Rock of Cashel, also know as ‘St. Patrick Rock’, one of Irelands most visited tourist attractions to Kilkenny’s newest tourist attraction the Medieval Mile Museum. Learn all about this historic city before we take you to the amazing Anglo Norman 12th century Kilkenny Castle. We visit St. Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower, Ireland’s best preserved medieval Cathedral before finishing off with some Retail therapy at the famed Kilkenny Design Centre.
Duration: 10 Hours
Vehicle: Mercedes E Class / V Class
When we collect you from your Dublin location we travel inland to the spectacular Rock of Cashel one of Ireland’s most visited sites. A collection of medieval buildings awaits set on an outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale. The 12th-century round tower is of the oldest surviving building on the Rock which also includes a high cross, and the ruins of a Romanesque chapel – Cormac’s Chapel. The 13th-century Gothic cathedral is a large Gothic church built between 1230 and 1270. A 15th-century castle and the Hall of the Vicars is the entry point to the enclosure. The Hall houses the museum where the original Cross of St. Patrick can be found. The Rock of Cashel is an ancient royal site of the kings of Munster and first attained importance as a fortress. Its origins as a centre of power go back to the 4th or 5th centuries. Two of the most famous people of Irish legend and history are associated with the Rock of Cashel. They are St. Patrick whom according to legend, arrived in Cashel in AD 432 and baptized King Aengus who became Ireland’s first Christian ruler. The second was Brian Boru, he was crowned High King here in 990. He is the only king who was able to unite all of Ireland under one ruler for any significant period of time.
After a short coffee break we transport you across the land to the medieval city of Kilkenny. Our first stop is that of the Medieval Mile Museum where you will unearth 800 years of Irish History. Located on a 13th century site, the former St Mary’s Church has been converted into a modern museum and is designed to enrich the cultural life of the city and provide a new international standard attraction for visitors. As the starting point of the ‘Medieval Mile’ trail, it brings to life Kilkenny’s history as Ireland’s premier medieval city. Displays of Kilkenny’s civic treasures and replicas of some of the High Crosses of Ossory illustrate the local Gaelic monastic heritage and the ancient city’s historic role in Ireland.
Enjoy a traditional Irish lunch in one of Kilkenny’s many fabulous restaurants before the highlight of the day, a tour of the majestic 12th century Kilkenny Castle.
Kilkenny Castle stands on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles.The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke 1146-1219 during the first decade of the 13th century. Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James 1360-1405, 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in 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 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.
From here we transport you across the city to St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. This ancient site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Cill Channigh is the Gaelic for the Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century.
Combining the early Christian settlement, the Round Tower, the Anglo Norman Cathedral and its rich cultural heritage makes St Canice’s Cathedral and its environs a must to visit while you are in Kilkenny.
The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (staffing & weather permitting). St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland.
If you wish you can take a short walk down Kilkenny’s parliament St. to Rothe House and Gardens to further explore the city’s rich history OR perhaps you might want to sample Irelands most popular ale while taking a tour of the famous Smithwick’s Experience once one of Irelands busiest brewery’s. (ask your guide for more info on these requests).
Rothe House is a unique Tudor merchant’s townhouse, built between 1594 and 1610. The property comprises of 3 houses, 3 enclosed courtyards and a large garden to the rear. The property is a lot bigger than it looks from the street. To accommodate his growing family, on this long, narrow plot John Rothe Fitzpiers built 3 houses, 1 behind the other, with cobbled courtyards in between. To the rear is a half-acre garden that runs all the way back to the City Wall.
The property is now owned by Kilkenny Archaeological Society and is home to their large collection of artefacts relating to Kilkenny city and county.
The collection on display in Rothe House Museum was gathered over many generations and held at Rothe House for safekeeping. The collection comprises of a portrait of Sir John Power of Kilfane, a cist grave dating back approximately 4000 years and a costume collection dating back to the 19th century and much more.
The garden has been reconstructed to reflect the Rothe Family garden and is planted with heritage varieties of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit; there are even resident ducks.
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