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Aran Inspired

Kilkenny City

In the 18th century, Kilkenny City Center’s stylish Georgian Town Houses were the favored headquarters of Ireland’s country aristocracy. The city is also billed as “Ireland’s Medieval Capital”, and contains several lovely old buildings from the era, including Kilkenny Castle, situated on the River Nore. The city center itself was built upon the base of a 900 year old Norman Citadel. The name Kilkenny is derived from Kil Cainneach, or Church of Canice, a sixth century saint who founded a monastic school in the area.

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The Tholsel

Originally erected for the purposes of collecting taxes -- it's name derived from old English words meaning toll hall -- the Tholsel has since served as a courthouse and custom house. The first Tholsel was built around 1400, when Kilkenny became a walled city. The present structure is the third Tholsel. Built in 1761, it was restored in 1949. It houses the city's civic records, the oldest of which is the "Liber Primus", which dates to the early 13th century.

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Dunmore Cave

This unique and interesting series of caverns in the limestone hills near Kilkenny City was designated as a national monument in 1940, but has been known to man since at least the 9th century and formed over a period of perhaps millions of years. It stands on Castlecomer plateau above the Dinin River Valley and contains some of the largest and most widely recognized calcite formations in all of Europe and certainly in all of Ireland.

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Jerpoint Abbey

This Cistercian monastery, built in the late 12th century, is one of the finest monastic heritage sites in all of Ireland because it is so remarkably well preserved. The intact worship areas and living quarters reveal an authentic glimpse into the ways of medieval monastic life. Built by Donal MacGillapatrick, King of Ossory, for the Benedictine order, the abbey was taken over by the Cistercians in 1180. The complex formed a complete community, with a variety of outbuildings and facilities including kitchens, stables, gardens, and a cemetery where the local citizens are still buried to this day.

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St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower

Built in the 13th century, Saint Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny is second only to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin in consecutive years of worship. The structure has endured vandalism and the ravages of time to remain standing as one of the most solemn yet impressive churches in the country as well.

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The Black Abbey, Kilkenny

Just south of St. Canice’s Cathedral, you can find Kilkenny's Black Abbey. The abbey is named after the Dominican order of monks, known for their black capes, who founded it in 1225. The priory was established in 1225 by William Marshall the younger, Earl of Pembroke.Despite becoming a property of the British crown in 1540, Dominican communities remained there until sixty years. In 1603, they were eventually evicted, when it was ordered that the building become a courthouse.

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Rothe House and Garden

Rothe House is Ireland's only remaining example of a 17th century merchant’s townhouse. This charming Tudor style dwelling was built between 1594 and 1610 by John Rothe, former mayor of Kilkenny. Roth House is open to the public as a museum, housing a collection of costumes, artefacts from the Bronze Age and other relics. It is home to the Kilkenny Genealogical society and contains a facility dedicated to local genealogical research. Rothe House is Ireland's only remaining example of a 17th century merchant’s townhouse. The Rothe House Garden, divided into two sections, aims to recreate an urban garden of the early 17th century.

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The World's First Ever Witch Trial - The Ghost of Kilkenny

Dame Alice de Kyteler (or Kettle, as the name would be known today) was born in Kilkenny in 1280, the only child of a prominent Hiberno-Norman family. Born at Kyteler's House, now known as Kyteler's Inn, the noblewoman and her servant Petronella were involved in the world's earliest recorded witch trial. Dame de Kyteler outlived no less than four husbands. The last of the husbands, John le Poer became sick in 1324. Realising he was dying, he changed his will to make sure his wife would be compensated.

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Kyteler’s Inn, Kilkenny

Kyteler's Inn is a pub in the centre of Kilkenny that has been reconstructed from the remains of a 12th century Inn. The medieval inn was home to Dame Alice de Kyteler, who outlived four husbands, and was accused of poisoning them. She was involved in the world's first ever witch hunt. Dame de Kyteler managed to avoid being burnt at the stake, but her servant Petronella did not. The Inn is famous for its connections with this story, and with its connections with the ghost of Kilkenney. Read more about the witch of Kilkenny. Today, the inn serves as a popular restaurant and pub, complete with a statue of Dame Alice on display in its cellar.

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Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is a sumptuous 12th century building with a beautiful park, which together dominate the surrounding medieval town of Kilkenny. Unlike many other Irish castles, it has been fully restored inside. Visitors are charmed by the "Downton Abbey" style ambience of these rooms, although many are dismayed to learn they can't take photographs inside the building -- a rule enforced by the state owners to preserve paintings and other items from being damaged by camera flashes. Today, many of the castle’s rooms are open to the public. Most impressive is the Long Gallery, with its beautifully painted ceilings and extensive portrait collection of the Butler family members throughout the centuries.

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