Cill Chainnigh
—  City  —

Coat of arms
Kilkenny is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°38′52″N 7°15′22″W / 52.6477°N 7.2561°W / 52.6477; -7.2561Coordinates: 52°38′52″N 7°15′22″W / 52.6477°N 7.2561°W / 52.6477; -7.2561
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Kilkenny
Dáil Éireann Carlow–Kilkenny
EU Parliament East constituency
 – Total 3.74 km2 (1.4 sq mi)
Elevation 60 m (197 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 – Total 22,179
 – Borough 8,661
 – Environs 13,518
Irish Grid Reference S506563
Dialing code +353
Vehicle registration code KK
Kilkenny Castle, the signature symbol of the Mediaeval city

Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh, meaning "cell or church of Cainnech")[2] is a city[3] and is the county town of the eponymous County Kilkenny in Ireland. It is situated on both banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster, in the south-east of Ireland. The city is administered by a Borough Council and a Mayor which is a level below that of city council in the Local government of the Republic although the Local Government Act 2001 allows for "the continued use of the description city". The borough has a population of 8,661, however the majority of the population live outside the borough boundary, the 2006 Irish Census gives the total population of the Borough & Environs as 22,179.

Kilkenny is a popular tourist destination in Ireland. In 2009 the City of Kilkenny celebrated its 400th year since the granting of city status in 1609.[4] Kilkenny's heritage is evident in the city and environs including the historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace's Castle, and St. John's Priory. Kilkenny is regarded for its culture with craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Arts Week, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Rhythm and Roots festival and the Source concert. It is a popular base to explore the surrounding towns, villages and countryside.

Kilkenny began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical foundation. Following Norman invasion of Ireland, Kilkenny Castle and a series of walls were built to protect the burghers. William Marshall, Lord of Leinster, gave Kilkenny a charter as a town in 1207. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control. The Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter giving it the status of a city. Following the Rebellion of 1641, the Irish Catholic Confederation, also known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", and was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. Kilkenny was a Norman merchant town in the Middle Ages. Kilkenny was a famous brewing centre from the late seventeenth century. In the late twentieth century Kilkenny is a tourist and creative centre.

The Heritage Council offices are located at Church Lane. The seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory is at St. Mary's Cathedral and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory is at St. Canice's Cathedral. Nearby larger cities include Waterford 45 kilometres (28 mi) south-southeast, Limerick 93 kilometres (58 mi) west and Dublin 101 kilometres (63 mi) northeast.[5]



Signatures of the Four Masters.

Kilkenny is the anglicised version of the Irish Cill Chainnigh, meaning Cell/Church of Cainneach or Canice.[2] This relates to a church built in honour of St. Canice on the hill now containing St. Canice's Cathedral and the round tower. This seems to be the first major settlement. The early Christian origin of the round tower suggests an early ecclesiastical foundation at Kilkenny.[6]

Ceall-Cainnigh was for the most part burned.

—- Four Masters, Annals of the Four Masters, 1085.[7]

The Annals of the Four Masters recorded Kilkenny in 1085.[8] Prior to this time the early 6th century territory was known as Osraighe, referring to the whole district or the capital. The Four Masters entry was the first instance where the capital was called Ceall-Cainnigh (modernized Kilkenny).[9] Cill Chainnigh was a major monastic centre from at least the eighth century. There is no mention of Cill Chainnigh in the lives of Cainnech of Aghaboe, Ciarán of Saighir or any of the early annals of Ireland suggesting that Cill Chainnigh was not of ancient civil importance.[8]

Kilkenny is described as a city in the Local Government Act 2001-

"the continued use of the description city in relation to Kilkenny, to the extent that that description was used before the establishment day".

—- Local Government Act 2001[10]


Old city map, c.1780

The history of Kilkenny (from Irish: Cill Chainnigh meaning "Cell or church of Cainnech/Canice") began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical foundation, with a church built in honour of St. Canice which is now St. Canice's Cathedral, and was a major monastic centre from at least the eighth century. The Annals of the Four Masters recorded the first reference Cill Chainnigh in 1085. Prehistoric activity has been recorded suggesting intermittent settlement activity in the area in the Mesolithic and Bronze Age. Information on the history of Kilkenny can be found from newspapers, photographs, letters, drawings, manuscripts and archaeology. Kilkenny is documented in manuscripts from the 13th century onwards and one of the most important of these is Liber Primus Kilkenniensis.

The Kings of Ossary had residence around Cill Chainnigh. The seat of diocese of Kingdom of Osraige was moved from Aghaboe to Cill Chainnigh. Following Normans invasion of Ireland, Richard Strongbow, as Lord of Lenister, established a castle near modern day Kilkenny Castle. William Marshall began the development of the town of Kilkenny and a series of walls to protect the burghers. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control. The original ecclesiastical centre at St. Canice's Cathedral became known as Irishtown and the Anglo-Norman borough inside the wall came to be known as Hightown.

The Hiberno-Norman presence in Kilkenny was deeply shaken by the Black Death, which arrived in 1348. The Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter giving it the status of a city. Following the Rebellion of 1641, the Irish Catholic Confederation, also known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. James II of England spent most of the winter months from November 1689 until January 1690 at Kilkenny, residing in the castle.[11]

The Kilkenny Design Workshops were opened in 1965 and in 1967 the Marquess of Ormonde presented Kilkenny Castle to the people of Kilkenny. Today, the city has a lively cultural scene, with annual events including the Kilkenny Arts Week Festival in the last two weeks of August, and the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival at the beginning of June. The City has been referred to as the Marble City. People from Kilkenny are often referred to as Cats. The seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory is at St. Mary's Cathedral and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory is at St. Canice's Cathedral.


Kilkenny it is situated in the Nore Valley on both banks of the River Nore, at the centre of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland. The first edition of the Ordnance Survey map for Kilkenny was in 1837, is held the County Library.

The elevation is 6 metres (20 ft) above mean sea level. The area of Kilkenny borough is 3.74 square kilometres (1.44 sq mi). Kilkenny is the smallest City in the Republic of Ireland and although all cities in Ireland are by the coast or along a river Kilkenny is the only city that is not tidal.

Kilkenny is 117 kilometres (73 mi) from the capital Dublin and 48 kilometres (30 mi) north from the nearest city Waterford. Wexford is 80 kilometres (50 mi) to the south-east and Limerick is 122 kilometres (76 mi) to the west.

Kilkenny borough has a population of 8,591, however the majority of the population of Kilkenny live outside the borough boundary. Kilkenny City borough and its environs had a population of 22,179 in 2006.[17]

Changes as of the 2006 census, by the Central Statistics Office, Kilkenny Town Borough had a population of 8,661 which was an increase of 70 persons over the 2002 figure of 8,591 or 0.8%. The Town Environs had a population of 13,518 which was an increase of 1347 persons over the 2002 figure of 12,144 or 11.3%.[18] Overall both the Borough & Environs had a population of 22,179 in 2006 which was an increase of 1444 persons over the 2002 figure of 20,735 or 6.96%. People from Kilkenny are often referred to as 'Cats'.

Disposable household income per person as of 2005 was 18,032 euro and the index of disposable household was 89.4.[19]

Kilkenny is multilingual but predominantly English-speaking, with Irish being the second most commonly spoken language.[20] In recent decades, with the increase of immigration on an all-Ireland basis, many more languages have been introduced into Kilkenny.

The main religion is Catholic, however there are Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Jewish and other religious traditions living in Kilkenny.[21]


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: [22]
The New Canal Square

The climate of Kilkenny, like the climate of Ireland, is a changeable oceanic climate with few extremes. It is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, or Cfb on the Köppen climate classification system. Kilkenny lies in plant Hardiness zone 9.

Weatherwise, Kilkenny is generally representative of wide river valleys in the region with low temperatures on cloudless nights,[23] and is significant in that it records some of the highest summer and lowest winter temperatures in Ireland. The highest air temperature ever recorded in Ireland was 33.3 °C (91.9 °F), at Kilkenny Castle on 26 June 1887.[24]

The Met Éireann Kilkenny Weather Observing Station, 2 km north-west of Kilkenny City centre, on the Duningstown Road, opened in May 1957,[23] and observations ceased in April 2008.[25] A climatological station is currently in operation within 1 km of the old site, and as of March 2010, was providing live weather data to the general public and climate data to Met Éireann.[25]

The maximum temperature recorded at the Met Station was 30.8 °C (87.4 °F) on 2 August 1995.[23] Extremes recorded at the station include the highest air temperature of 31.5 °C (88.7 °F) on 29 June 1976, the lowest air temperature of −14.1 °C (6.6 °F) on 2 January 1979 and the lowest ground temperature of −18.1 °C (−0.6 °F) on 12 January 1982.[23] The maximum daily sunshine was 16.3 hours on 18 June 1978.[23]

The warmest and sunniest month on record in Kilkenny was August 1995 with a total of 274.9 hours sunshine and very high temperatures throughout.[23] The maximum daily sunshine was 16.3 hours on 18 June 1978.[23] The overall trend in temperatures has been on the rise with a marked increase from 1988 onwards.[26] Annual temperatures are running over 0.5 degrees or 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) above 20th century levels.[26]

The maximum daily rainfall recorded at Kilkenny station was 66.4 millimetres (2.61 in) on 17 July 1983.[23] The late 1950s and early 1960s were wet but rainfall had been steady throughout the century.[26] 2002 was a very wet year and since 2005 annual rainfall has been increased steadily, with 2009 being the wettest year since records commenced in 1958.[26]

At the centre of the county, Kilkenny is in a sheltered location, 66 kilometres (41 mi) inland and is surrounded by hills over 200 metres (660 ft), which ensures that it is not a windy location.[25] The highest wind gust of 77 knots, from a south-west direction, was recorded on 12 January 1974.[23]

Climate data for Kilkenny Weather Observing Station 1961–1990
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.1
Average high °C (°F) 7.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.6
Average low °C (°F) 1.4
Record low °C (°F) −14.1
Rainfall mm (inches) 87
humidity 80 74 68 64 64 65 65 66 69 76 78 82 71
Avg. snowy days 5.1 5.0 3.1 0.8 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 2.6 17.3
Source: [22]


Kilkennys first Council was elected in 1231 and since then Kilkenny has had a continuous record of municipal government. From the 13th century to the end of the 16th the chief magistrate was known as the Sovereign, and since then Mayor.

Kilkenny is a Local Electoral Area of County Kilkenny and includes the electoral divisions of Dunmore, Kilkenny Rural and St. Canice.[27] Local government bodies in Kilkenny have responsibility for such matters as planning, roads, sanitation and libraries. It is governed by the Local Government Acts, the most significant of which was in 2001, which established a two-tier structure of local government. The top tier of the structure consists of the Kilkenny County Council which has 26 elected councillors of which Kilkenny elects seven. The second tier of local government is the Kilkenny Borough Council, which is a "Town Council" but uses the title of "Borough Council" instead, but has no additional responsibilities. As of the 2009 local elections the composition of the town council is: Fine Gael 4, Fianna Fáil 4, Labour Party 2, Sinn Féin 1, Green Party 1.

Kilkenny's city status is derived from a Royal Charter in 1609 by King James I of England. This was recently given a legislative basis by Section 10(7) of the Local Government Act 2001, which allows for "the continued use of the description city", although it does not have a "city" council like the other Irish cities, but rather a borough council instead. Kilkenny Borough Council, formerly Kilkenny Corporation, used to have a "Sovereign" and "Council of Twelve", but these have since been replaced by a Mayor and Councillors respectively.[28]

County Kilkenny is in the South-East regional authority of Ireland and is part of the Carlow–Kilkenny Dáil Éireann constituency. Kilkenny has been represented through several parliamentary constituencies in the past. From 1918–1921, Kilkenny was part of the North Kilkenny United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. In 1921 the Carlow–Kilkenny Dáil Éireann constituency was created and has stayed apart from between 1937 and 1948 when there was just a Kilkenny constituency.

Kilkenny is in the East constituency of the European Parliament and elects 3 MEPs.


The New Parade, Kilkenny City
Butler House

The Landmarks of Kilkenny show Kilkenny's heritage through the historical buildings. Kilkenny is a well preserved medieval town and is dominated by both Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower.

Kilkenny Castle and some important historical architecture of the medieval city survive, like parts of the Kilkenny City Walls. They define the extent, layout and status of the medieval town. The town grew from a monastic settlement to a thriving Norman merchant town in the Middle Ages. Saint Canice's Cathedral and round tower are an example of the monastic settlement and Rothe House is an example of a Elizebethan merchant townhouse.

The black stone with decorative white fossils that forms the backbone of many of Kilkenny's fine buildings was quarried locally, particularly from the Black Quarry located 1.6 km south of the city on the R700.[29]

Visitor Attractions in Kilkenny and its environs include Kilkenny Castle and Gardens including the Butler Gallery, St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House and Garden, Shee Arms House, Grace's Courthouse, St. Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny City Hall, the Dominican Black Abbey, St. John's Church, Butler House, Kilkenny 'Slips' and St. Francis Abbey Brewery. Castle Park. Gardens include the Castle Rose Garden, Rothe House Garden, the Famine Memorial Garden and the garden of Butler House.

In the county other attractions include Kells Priory, Jerpoint Abbey, Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, Warrington Top Flight Equestrian Centre, Dunmore Caves, Hoban Memorial, Kilfane Glen and waterfall, the watergarden in at camphill, Woodstock Estate and Jenkinstown Park.

Kilkenny Marble or Black Marble was exported to all corners of the British Empire[citation needed]. The city has been referred to as the "Marble City" for centuries[citation needed].

Kilkenny Castle and city walls

Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny city was the seat of the Butler family. Formerly the family name was FitzWalter. The castle was sold to the local Castle Restoration Committee in the middle of the 20th century for £50. Shortly afterwards it was handed over to the State, and has since been refurbished and is open to visitors. Part of the National Art Gallery is on display in the castle. There are ornamental gardens on the city side of the castle, and extensive land and gardens to the front. It has become one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland.

The first stone castle was begun in 1204 by William Marshall the site was completed in 1213; it was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defences of the town. There were four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade. This was a square-shaped castle with towers at each corner; three of these original four towers survive to this day.

Kilkenny Walls protected the medieval town of Kilkenny.[30] The town was surrounded by walls with regular towers and gates. Remnants of the Town Walls survive such as Talbot Tower (1207), which is also known as Talbot's Bastion or Castle. It is the larger of the two surviving towers of the defences of the medieval High town of Kilkenny. There are walls on Abbey Street and the adjoining Black Freren Gate is the only surviving gate/access remaining on the High town Circuit into the old city.[31] A wall also runs through the brewery's grounds beside St. Francis Abbey.

The Kilkenny City Walls Conservation Plan is a plan by the inhabitants of Kilkenny, Kilkenny Borough Council, the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, An Taisce, The Kilkenny Archaeological Society and The Heritage Council to ensure the long-term survival of their city’s unique walls.[32]

St. Canice's Cathedral and tower

St. Canice's Cathedral

St Canice's Cathedral, also known as Kilkenny Cathedral, present building dates from the 13th century and is the second longest cathedral in Ireland. The Cathedral is named after Saint Canice, who also gave his name to the city.[33]

Cruciform, the cathedral was built in the Early English, or English Gothic, style of architecture, of limestone, with a low central tower supported on black marble columns. The exterior walls, apart from the gables, are embattled, and there are two small spires at the west end. The cathedral is seventy-five yards long, and its width along the transepts is forty-one yards.

Beside the cathedral stands a 100 ft 9th century round tower. St. Canice's tower an excellent example of a well-preserved early Christian (9th century) Round Tower. Accessible only by a steep set of internal ladders, it may once have been both a watchtower and a refuge, and the summit gives a good view of Kilkenny and the countryside around. The hill on which the cathedral stands is believed to be the centre of the first major settlement at Kilkenny, and the round tower suggests an early ecclesiastical foundation.[6]

Dominican Black Abbey was founded in 1225, and lying just off Parliament Street.


The two main bridges in Kilkenny which span the River Nore have been called Green's Bridge and John's Bridge since the Middle Ages. These have been rebuilt many times since the twelfth century due to constant floods including the great floods of 1487 and 1763. Green's Bridge was built in 1766. John's Bridge was completed in 1910 and the Ossory Bridge, linking the ring-road around the city, was completed in 1984. Ossory Bridge features an inlaid sculpture.

Green's Bridge

Green's Bridge, also known as the 'Great Bridge of Kilkenny', is one of two main bridges in Kilkenny and is an important element of the architectural, civil engineering and transport heritage of Kilkenny City.[34] It was first built before 1200 and been called Green's Bridge since the Middle Ages. The bridge has been rebuilt many times since the twelfth century due to constant floods including the great floods of 1487 and 1763. The current bridge was built in 1766 after the Great Flood of 1763. Green's Bridge crosses the River Nore in St. Canices Parish in the townland of Gardens.

The present-day Green's Bridge was built by William Colles (c.1710-70) in 1766 to designs prepared by George Smith (1763-7), a pupil of George Semple (c.1700-82). The Classical-style detailing indicating the lasting influence of the Roman Bridge at Rimini as described by Andrea Palladio's (1508–80) in The Four Books of Architecture (1570) (I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura). Carved limestone of high quality stone masonry enhance the architectural design value of the bridge while the series of five elliptical arches identifies the civil engineering heritage significance of the bridge. The bridge was renovated in 1835 where parapets were added but alteration works carried out in 1969 removed one parapet and a steel railing was added.

John's Bridge

John's Bridge is one of two main bridges in Kilkenny spanning the River Nore it connects John Street to Kilkenny city. It was first built after 1200 and has been rebuilt many times since the twelfth century due to constant floods including the great floods of 1487 and 1763. It has been called John's Bridge since the Middle Ages.

The present-day John's Bridge was completed in 1910 and spans 140 ft (43 m) across the River Nore. It was reputedly, at the time it was completed, the longest single-span reinforced bridge in Ireland or Britain. The Design was by Mouchel & Partners using the Hennebique system of reinforcement. The arch consists of three ribs, tapering from 2 ft 6 in (0.76 m) to 2 ft (0.61 m) deep. The traverse deck beams are each 2 ft (0.61 m) deep.

During the flood of 1763, people gathered on John's Bridge after Green's Bridge collapsed, John's Bridge whole structure collapsed and sixteen people died.

Old Woolen Mills

The Old Woolen Mills was built in the 1800s and is located on the north side of the city, on the Bleach Road. It was one of the largest employers in the area; the site covers 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) and has more than a mile of river frontage onto the Nore. Among its many features is the original 75 ft (23 m) chimney consisting of over 40,000 bricks.[citation needed] Currently located on the site is one of the most renowned architectural salvage and antique yards in Ireland, Kilkenny Architectural Salvage.[citation needed]


Kilkenny Design Centre

Kilkenny is a popular tourist destination in Ireland. Well regarded for its cultural life, it has always tended to attract culturally aware visitors. Art galleries, historic buildings, craft and design workshops, theatre, comedy, public gardens and museums are some of main reasons Kilkenny has become one of Ireland's most visited towns and a popular base to explore the surrounding countryside.

Points of interest within the city and its environs include Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, St. Mary's Cathedral, Kells Priory, Kilkenny Town Hall, Black Abbey and Jerpoint Abbey.

The recent rise in "stag" and "hen" parties in the city has seen attempts made at local level to discourage such activity, without impinging on the vibrant nightlife the city is known for.

Arts and Festivals

Kilkenny is encouraged as festival location throughout the year and especially during the summer months.

The Kilkenny Arts Festival established in the 1970s takes place in late August. During this time Kilkenny plays host to contemporary art with Theatre, Dance, Visual Art, Literature, Film, Paintings, Sculptures and live performances. Musical events including traditional, Classical, World, Jazz Music take place durning the festival.

Kilkenny holds the annual Cat Laughs Comedy festival every June bank holiday week.

The Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival is held on the first weekend in May every year and features the Americana/Bluegrass/Folk/Rockabilly/AltCountry artists in various venues throughout the city.

Venues such as the Watergate Theatre host a range of home-produced and touring performances in dance, music and theatre year-round.


Music in Kilkenny is a rich and vibrant music scene with traditional Irish Music and artists such as Kerbdog, R.S.A.G. and groups like Kilkenny Music . Many pubs have Irish traditional music sessions. Kerbdog was an Alternative rock band from Kilkenny who began writing in 1991. R.S.A.G.'s double album Organic Sampler received a Choice Music Prize nomination for Irish Album of the Year 2008 in 2009. In 2005 Kilkenny Music a non-profit music-based group in Kilkenny was formed to work with a vast array of bands and acts within Kilkenny and the South East of Ireland.

Rhythm & Roots music festival is on each May.[35] The Kilkenny Arts Festival held every August embraces musical acts of all ages and styles. The annual concert 'Source' which is held in Nolan Park attracts mainstream musical performers such as Rod Stewart, Shania Twain, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Andrea Bocelli. Dolly Parton headlined at the 2008 event.

Classical tastes are catered for in St Canice's Cathedral, where classical musicians and choirs often perform. The Kilkenny Choir and a Gospel Choir frequently perform in churches throughout the city. Groups like Ex Cathedra have played during the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Cleere's pub and theatre on Parliament Street is well-known for touring Irish and international bands including indie, jazz and blues. They also have a traditional music session every Monday night, as does Ryan's on Friary Street on Thursdays.


Kilkenny had a tradition of dramatic performance going back to 1366 when the Dublin company set up in Kilkenny. Henry Burkhead, printed a play in Kilkenny Cola's Fury, or Lirenda's Misery (1645), dealing with events of the Irish Rebellion of 1641 from an English standpoint. It was a blatantly political work with the Lirenda of the title being an anagram of Ireland. In 1642, as a result of the English Civil War, Dublin Royalists were forced to flee the city. Many of them went to Kilkenny to join a confederacy of Old English and Irish that formed in that city. The Court in Kilkenny.

In 1802 Sir Richard and Sir John Power of Kilfane established the Kilkenny Private Theatre.[36]

The Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny is a centre for the performing and visual arts.[37] It provides a varied programme of professional and amateur dramatics, classical and contemporary music, opera and dance, together with regular exhibitions of paintings and photographs. The theatre plays an important role in the cultural, artistic and literary life of Kilkenny along with its festivals, professional and amateur theatre companies.

The Set Theatre is also a smaller theatre located on John Street in Kilkenny.


The Young Irish Film Makers are based in Kilkenny, in addition to Cartoon Saloon and Mycrofilms.



KCLR is a radio station which servers both Carlow and Kilkenny.[38] It is based at both the Broadcast Centre on the Carlow Road, Kilkenny and Exchequer House, Potato Market, Carlow. KCLR is available on 96FM and is an independent local radio station. As of 2009, KCLR had 60% weekly reach and 33% weekday share.[39] KCLR 96FM began broadcasting in May 2004 replacing Radio Kilkenny.

Radio Kilkenny, which began as a pirate station Kilkenny Community Radio,[40] received a licensed to broadcast to Kilkenny city and county on 96.0 MHz,96.6 MHz and 106.3 MHz in 1988. Radio Kilkenny had 63% of the radio listeners in County Kilkenny and 16% in County Carlow but failed to secure a franchise in 2003 when the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland changed the station's franchise area to include Carlow. The station ceased broadcasting at 2:10 a.m. on January 1, 2004.[41]

Beat 102-103 is a regional youth radio station broadcasting across the South East of Ireland. It serves a population of about 450,000, and in August 2006 it had a 49% share of the south east market.

Print media

Finns Leinster Journal

Newspapers have been have been produced in Kilkenny for centuries. Kilkenny produced some of the eighteenth and nineteenth century's most important papers. The papers cover more than 220 years, and includes the Finns Leinster Journal (later the Kilkenny Journal) from 1767 to 1965, the Kilkenny People from 1916 to 1992, and the Kilkenny Moderator from 1814 to 1916.[42] Also the Leinster Independent from 1872; the Kilkenny Chronicle from 1813. Other importatant papers included, the Kilkenny Courier; Tipperary Examiner from 1858; the Kilkenny Express and the Wexford Express from 1875; The Post (a sister paper to Kilkenny People) from 1926; the Kilkenny Standard from 1979, the Kilkenny People in 1895, the Kilkenny Voice 2005 and also the Kilkenny Advertiser.

Finn's Leinster Journal (1767–1801) was founded by Edmund Finn in 1767 and published on Wednesdays and Saturdays and was brought to such places as Carlow and Castledermot. The paper brought prosperity to the Finn family but Edmund Finn died in 1777. Edmund's wife Catherine Finn took on the task of running the paper while raising seven children. Catherine became famous by the death of her husband and the fact that during the 18th and 19th century no other woman played such a role. It was published in Kilkenny but some content was relevant to Carlow. It was continued as Leinster Journal (1801–1830) and the Kilkenny Journal from 1832.

The Moderator (1814–1822) changed its name to Kilkenny Moderator 1822-1919 and reverted to Moderator from 1920-1925.

The modern Kilkenny People was first published in 1895. It is a weekly paper. The paper has the highest readership in the southeast. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Kilkenny People had an average weekly circulation of 17,578 for the first six months of 2006[43] One of the senior journalists, Sean Keane is a son of John B.Keane the novelist and playwright. It is printed by the Kilkenny People Group at Purcellsinch and the group also publishes a number of other regional papers.

The Kilkenny Voice, first published in September 2005, ceased publicatation on December 18, 2008. A free magazine Kilkenny Now was launched January 2011.


Photographic Collections of Kilkenny include the Lawrence Collection c.1900, the Crawford Collection c. 1940, the Valentine Collection c. 1950, the Bolton Street Students' Survey c. 1970, the Industrial Archaeologica Survey c. 1989, the Carrigan Collection and the St. John's Parish Collection, as well as many historical postcards.[44]

Panorama of Kilkenny city.



Kilkenny was named as the Academy of Urbanism European Great Town for 2008.[45] The Academy Chairman, John Thompson, said "it is great to have an Irish town coming through in this year's awards, especially Kilkenny which is coming to terms with economic growth without losing its wonderful character and humour". Kilkenny won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1985 and is the only city to have won the competition.[46]

Twinned cities

Cultural references

There is a limerick (with optional added couplet) about the two cats from Kilkenny:

There once were two cats of Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they hit
And they scratched and they bit
Till (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails)
Instead of two cats there weren't any!



Education in Kilkenny only goes as far as secondary school, although the National University of Ireland, Maynooth maintains an outreach centre at St. Kieran's College. Kilkenny is the home of many noted secondary schools. One is the Church of Ireland Kilkenny College, founded in 1538, which is one of the oldest schools in the country. This school has had several notable students, including Jonathan Swift and George Berkeley.

A quote from an article “The Berkeley Pavilion” by Patsy Dempsey – Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753) was one of the great philosophers of his time. He was born near Kilkenny and lived in Dysart Castle, Thomastown. Berkeley studied at Kilkenny College (now County Hall) from 1696–1700, where Jonathan Swift was a predecessor.

St. Kieran's College was founded in 1782 and was the first Roman Catholic secondary school in Ireland. It was created after Grattan's Parliament which caused some relaxation of the Penal Laws in the country. The city also has a number of other second level schools, including the Christian Brothers School (CBS), Coláiste Pobail Osraí, Loreto Kilkenny, Presentation College and the Kilkenny City Vocational School. Other schools located in the rural areas of the county are Castlecomer Community School, Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown, Scoil Airigeal Ballyhale, St. Brigid's Callan, Grennan College Thomastown & Callan CBS. These also are noted for their focus on the games of hurling and camogie.

As many children from Catholic families were sent to Europe to be educated as priests, in Louvain, Salamanca & Rome etc. these returned with the new liberal ideas emerging on the mainland at this time[citation needed]. To prevent further spread of European liberalism, the establishment in Ireland decided to allow the Catholics to be educated in Ireland, where they could be monitored[citation needed]. Thus the emergence of such colleges as St. Kierans and Maynooth.Also , Gaelscoil Osrai an Irish school in Kilkenny , is the 2nd largest Irish-only scoil in Ireland with around 450 from Junior Infants to 6th Class.



Kilkenny railway station opened on 12 May 1848.[47] Kilkenny acquired railway links to Dublin in 1850, Waterford in 1854, Portlaoise in 1876 and Castlecomer in 1919. Córas Iompair Éireann closed the Castlecomer and Kilkenny Junction lines in 1962. Kilkenny railway station was renamed McDonagh Station in 1966 after Irish nationalist, poet and playwright Thomas MacDonagh. Kilkenny remains an important stop on Iarnród Éireann's Intercity route between Dublin and Waterford.

Unlike other countries, the location of railway stations in Ireland was closely related to military matters rather than trade or public transport[citation needed]. Kilkenny railway station is a fine example of this peculiarity, with the military barracks being closely positioned to the railway station.


View of Kilkenny in 2001

The town has a history of brewing and is home to St. Francis Abbey Brewery which was founded in the early 18th century by Messrs Cole and Smithwick. The Guinness Ireland Group had owned this brewery since the 1960s. At the beginning of the 21st century, Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan plc to form Diageo, the world's largest alcoholic beverage business, and the brewery is now a part of Diageo Global Supply. Smithwick's Ale now forms only a small percentage of production there. Another product is Kilkenny ale , a close relation of Smithwicks ale. Some 80% of beer produced at the brewery is Budweiser, a brand not owned by Diageo, but produced under licence. Diageo announced in May 2008 that it will close the St Francis Abbey Brewery in 2013 and move production to a new brewery on the outskirts of Dublin.[48]

Kilkenny is also home to the head offices of Glanbia foods, one of the world's top dairy companies. Glanbia was formed by the merger of two dairy businesses: Avonmore and Waterford foods, it employs a total of around 4,000 people and has interests in Ireland, Britain and the USA.

Recent developments in Kilkenny have attracted further investment from local businesses as well as attracting new industry. Leggetsrath Business Park was opened in 2003. There are two retail warehouse parks in Kilkenny; Kilkenny Retail Park and Ormonde Retail Park. Hebron Business Park was constructed in 2002 and is a privately owned extension to the Hebron Industrial Estate, the main centre for industry in Kilkenny.


Hospitals in Kilkenny include three public hospitals and one private hospital.[49] St. Luke's is a general medical and surgical hospital built in 1942.[50] It is based on the Freshford road and provides a range of local and regional services. Local services include medical, general surgery, obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics. St. Canice's is a psychiatric hospital, opened in 1852 and located on the Dublin road.[51] It provides a range of mental health services including acute and long stay care, out-patient services throughout the county, addiction counselling services, respite care community hostel facilities and day care facilities. It also provides paediatric physiotherapy, and occupational therapy. Lourdes is the regional orthopaedic hospital outside the town in Kilcreene. Aut Even is a private hospital based outside Kilkenny City.[52]



The Kilkenny City Harriers Club is an athletics club formed in 1953.[53] In 1989 Kilkenny was designated as a local sports centre and an all-weather running track and facilities designed to meet International Association of Athletics Federations standards was begun.[53] In 1992 the new track was officially opened and renamed Scanlon Park after Patrick 'Rusty' Scanlon, who had been associated with the old complex both as an athlete and as a soccer player.[53]


The Kilkenny County Board of Kilkenny GAA (Irish: Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Coiste Cill Channaigh) has its head office and main grounds at Nowlan Park in the city. The Kilkenny branch of the GAA was founded in 1887. Hurling is the dominant sport in the county. Secondary schools noted for their contribution to the game include St. Kieran's College and Christian Brothers School (CBS). Former students who have played for St. Kieran's include Eddie Keher, Brian Cody, Eoin Kelly, DJ Carey and Henry Shefflin. There are 3 GAA clubs based in the city: O'Loughlin Gaels GAA, Dicksboro GAA and James Stephens (GAA Club). St John's Parish is the catchment area for O'Loughlin Gaels. The parishes of St Mary's and St Canice's are associated with Dicksboro. St Patrick's parish is the catchment area for the James Stephens club. Gaelic football is also played in Kilkenny, although it is not as popular as it is in most Irish counties. Kilkenny GAA's county football team has recently[when?] been promoted to play in Division Four of the National Football League.

Association Football

Kilkenny City AFC played in the League of Ireland until January 2008. It entered the league as EMFA in 1986, but resigned their position in the league after 22 years citing “lack of finance, poor results and paltry attendances”. The club had spent all but two seasons in the League of Ireland's second tier. Kilkenny and District Soccer League run leagues at schoolboy, youths and junior level throughout the county. It is affiliated to Leinster Football Association, Football Association of Ireland and the Schoolboy’s Football Association of Ireland.


Kilkenny RFC founded in 1885,[54] is a very strong and successful Rugby Union club based at Foulkstown on the Waterford Road.[55] The club has provided many players for the Ireland team including Ernie Ridgeway, Bill Tector, Jack Notley, Willie Duggan, Ned Byrne, Ronan Kearney and Gary Halpin.[55] Ian Dowling plays for the Munster Rugby team and is a two time winner of the European Rugby Cup in 2006 and 2008.[55]

Rugby is played at schools level by Kilkenny College and Kilkenny Christian Brothers School (CBS).


Kilkenny Golf Club is an 18 hole championship parkland course within the city to the North West, close to city centre. It hosted several Professional Championship events. In 1984 and 1996, it was the venue for the All Ireland Mixed Foursome Finals and in 1985 hosted the All Ireland Cups and Shields Finals. It is playable all year round due to sand based greens. The course is mostly flat terrain with an abundance of trees.

Around Kilkenny City there is also a Driving Range in Newpark and a 18 hole all weather Par 3 golf course in Pocoke.

Mount Juliet Golf Course is a golf resort situated near Kilkenny in Thomastown. Jack Nicklaus designed the course and it is considered to be one of Ireland's best courses.

Ice Hockey

Kilkenny City Storm is a mixed ice hockey team formed in 2007 in Kilkenny.[56] that plays in the Irish Ice Hockey Association Recreational Division League.[57] "The Storm" was one of the top two teams[citation needed] in the league in 2007, its inaugural year. The team also enjoys moderate success as an inline hockey team, playing in the Northern Inline Hockey League and the Irish inline hockey (roller hockey) league. The team consists of both local and foreign players who train and play their matches in Dundalk Ice Dome which is the only permanent ice rink in Ireland.

See also

Church in Kilkenny



  1. ^ "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  2. ^ a b Room 2006.
  3. ^ "Local Government Act 2001" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "Official Kilkenny 400 Website". 
  5. ^ "Wolframalpha Kilkenny Search". 
  6. ^ a b Graves 1857, p. 25
  7. ^ Masters, Annals of the Four Masters vol. ii, p.923 from Irish:
  8. ^ a b Graves 1857, p. 23
  9. ^ Egan 1884
  10. ^ Local Government Act 2001
  11. ^ Simms 1961
  12. ^ a b "Census for post 1821 figures.". 
  13. ^ "Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website". 
  14. ^ NISRA. "Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency - Census Home Page". Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  15. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  16. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. 
  17. ^ Table 5: Population of Towns ordered by County and size, 2002 and 2006
  18. ^ Table 5: Population of Towns ordered by County and size, 2002 and 2006.
  19. ^ "Source:County Incomes and Regional GDP 2005, CSO". 
  20. ^ "Table 8: Population aged 15 years and over in the labour force, classified by intermediate occupational group and ability to speak Irish". Census 2006 - Volume 9 - Irish Language. CSO. Retrieved 2008-11-09. (37.6% of workforce (>15 years) classified as "Irish speakers")
  21. ^ "Population (Number) by County, Year and Religious Denomination". CSO.,+Year+and+Religious+Denomination&path=../Database/Eirestat/Census%20of%20Population/&lang=1. 
  22. ^ a b From the official website of Met Éireann; see "30 Year Averages in Kilkenny 1961-1990". 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i From the official website of Met Éireann; see "Kilkenny (Weather Observing Stations)". 
  24. ^ From the official website of Met Éireann; see "Temperature in Ireland". 
  25. ^ a b c From the official website of; see "About us". 
  26. ^ a b c d From the official website of; see "Climate". 
  27. ^ Act of the Oireachtas: County of Kilkenny Local Electoral Areas Order 2008
  28. ^ "The History of the Kilkenny Borough Council". 
  29. ^ An exposed rock face can still be seen from the road.
  30. ^ "Medieval walls of Kilkenny City" (PDF). 
  31. ^ "City Walls Project". 
  32. ^ "Kilkenny City Walls Conservation Plan" (PDF). 
  33. ^ CATHEDRAL of ST CANICE, extract from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)
  34. ^ Green's Bridge, Kilkenny, County Kilkenny.National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH)
  35. ^ "Official Rhythm & Roots Website". 
  36. ^ The private theatre of Kilkenny. 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  37. ^ "Watergate Theatre official website". 2010-02-13. Retrieved 2010-08-12. 
  38. ^ "KCLR 96FM Official Website". 
  39. ^ "BCI - JNRL Figures for July 08 - June 09" (PDF). 
  40. ^ "Radio Kilkenny Website". 
  42. ^ Many are held in the Kilkenny Archaeological Society Library at Rothe House, others are available to view on microfiche at Kilkenny County Library.
  43. ^ [1].
  44. ^ "kilkenny library Local Studies - Photographic Collection". 
  45. ^ "Academy of Urbanism". 
  46. ^ "Irish Tidy Towns Competition". 
  47. ^ "Kilkenny station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  48. ^ "Diageo Press Release". m+brewing+investment+for+Ireland. 
  49. ^ Hospitals in County Kilkenny Citizens Information Board
  50. ^ "HSE Factfile on St Lukes General Hospital". 
  51. ^ "South Eastern Health Board Psychiatric Hospitals". 
  52. ^ "Aut Even Private Hospital". 
  53. ^ a b c Kilkenny City Harriers Club, "club history". Retrieved July 6, 2010. 
  54. ^ O'Mahony (January 17, 2009). "A proud tradition carved in Marble". Retrieved 8 February 2011. 
  55. ^ a b c From the official website of Kilkenny RFC; see history "I".  & Dermot O'Mahony. "II". 
  56. ^ "Kilkenny City Storm Website". 
  57. ^ "Irish Ice Hockey League Recreational Division 2008 - 2009". 

Further reading

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