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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.


  • The Tholsel boasts a picturesque clock tower and limestone marble entrance portico
  • Its arcade, with five double arches, is reminiscent of Italian buildings, and creates a piazza effect
  • The building boasts an impressive Georgian chamber, where the current town council of Kilkenny still holds meetings

Connections with the Kilkenny Witch

The Tholsel stands on the site where Petronella, the accused witch and maid of Dame Alice Le Kyteler, was burned at the stake, in the world's first witch trial. Next door is Alice’s Castle, an ornate 18th century town jail named after Dame Alice.


Kilkenny's Tholsel is a a striking, 18th century building, which serves as the Town Hall, and houses the town archives.  Image by Will Baker

 Image by Swire


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