Kilkenny needs no introduction as one of Ireland’s most popular counties among visitors, but some aspects of Kilkenny’s life and history may not be so familiar. We have uncovered some Kilkenny facts that we certainly didn’t know. Read on to see how clued in you are about Kilkenny!
As befits a county that is unrivalled when it comes to hurling prowess, our first interesting fact about Kilkenny relates to the All-Ireland Hurling Championship. When it comes to hurling, Kilkenny has confronted the English county of Lancashire more often (twice) than its neighbouring county Carlow. The 1993 Carlow game ended Kilkenny 5-19 : Carlow 0-16 – a 19-point victim for the Cats.
Speaking of which, the “Kilkenny Cats” nickname stems from the feral felines that once inhabited the Dunmore caves in the north of the county.
The last witch in Ireland, reputedly Dame Alice Kytler, was born in Kilkenny in 1280. Widowed four times, she was accused of poisoning all of her husbands. Although her former home was burned down, you can now dine at Kytler’s Inn on the site of the house.
Iconic film producer and animation innovator Walt Disney has Kilkenny roots. His great-grandfather Arundel Elias Disney emigrated from Gowran, County Kilkenny, in the 19th century.
The architect who built the White House in Washington, D.C., James Hoban, was raised on the Earl of Desart’s estate in Cuffesgrange, near Callan in Co. Kilkenny.
Irish legend describes Dunmore Cave, seven miles north of Kilkenny, as one of Ireland’s darkest places and the site where the monster Luchtigen ‘The Lord of the Mice’ was killed.
The gravestone of Daniel O’Connell in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin is made from Kilkenny black marble, and the stone was also used in the construction of Cobh Cathedral in Cork.
Gulliver’s Travels author, Jonathan Swift, attended Kilkenny College in the late 17th century, and a building at the college was named after him in 2007. Swift’s fellow students included playwright William Congreve and the philosopher George Berkeley – after whom California’s Berkeley College is named.
The Butler family handed Kilkenny Castle over to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 – for £50!
Why don’t you see if you can add to these fascinating facts yourself? If you’re taking a trip to Kilkenny to do some research, GoIreland has an extensive range of quality accommodation, including hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering.