Towns of Kilkenny
Kilkenny City —County Kilkenny
Long renowned as Ireland's Medieval Capital, the city's origins date back more than 1,500 years ago. Kilkenny, from the Gaelic Cill Chainnigh, derives its name from a 6th century monk called Saint Canice.
Characterised by beautifully restored old buildings and covered slipways, Kilkenny City is small and compact enough to explore on foot, yet full of fascinating, historical buildings, and contemporary shops, design galleries cafés and restaurants.
The great building prowess of the Normans is very evident in the 11th and 12th century structures they bestowed on the city. Not alone in the large 'set piece' buildings, such as St. Canice's Cathedral, the imposing Butler castle, the four surviving medieval abbeys, but also the linear streetscape, especially the attractive, covered stepped slipways.
The 17th century was a time of great social and political turmoil for Kilkenny. It was the seat of the national parliament for a six-year period, the infamous Oliver Cromwell invaded the city in 1650 and Kilkenny College (another superb building in John Street, now serving as County Hall) was attended by such luminaries as Jonathan Swift and George Berkeley. This may mark the beginning of the lively cultural and intellectual movement that still thrives there.