Kilkenny City: the Arts Festival, its wonderful castle and … Oliver Cromwell.

17 Aug

Kilkenny City is perfectly appointed for tourism and especially its Arts Festival.  It would be hard to beat the breadth and depth of events available during this festival week in mid-August each year. There is classical music, performed in the ancient cathedral of St Canice, Jazz, Blues and, of course Traditional Irish is played on every corner of the winding streets of this historic city. Drama includes a daily open-air performance of the work of Shakespeare in the Castle yard and there are many, many art exhibitions and street performers around the City.

The medieval streets lead to a magnificent castle located on the banks of the river Nore. Although built in 1195, this castle is not an ancient ruin through which you must try to imagine what it must have been like in its glory days. No, it is a grand, habitable and lively building which has been beautifully restored and maintained. Please make sure you take a guided tour of it.

Oliver Cromwell is not held dear in Irish history. However, one unintended consequence of his pillage is the view of Kilkenny castle from its adjoining park. The castle was originally built around an enclosed, rectangular courtyard but in 1650 Cromwell destroyed the east wall with his cannons – thus providing the view you can now see in the picture below.


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