Kilkenny Castle Park and Gardens
In previous centuries the Castle was surrounded by parklands and enclosed by gardens with generous tree planting. This was gradually whittled away and changed over the centuries and, when the castle was first handed over to the people of Kilkenny in the 1960s, only fifteen acres of land was attached.
Today, the park comprises 21 hectares of land providing a fitting setting for the castle and a splendid amenity area.
After the Castle was taken over by the Office of Public Works, new entrances were created to give access to the park. The entrance near the Parade Tower has nineteenth-century cast iron gates that came originally from St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The open parkland to the south of the castle has been replanted with emphasis on trees and shrubs that provide year around colour. Pathways have been restored and some have been extended.
On the west side of the castle a formal garden with axial paths radiating from a central fountain retains much of the basic form that could have been there during the ducal period. The existing fountain is probably the base of an original seventeenth-century water feature. Two lead statues stand on pedestals near the castle: one is of Hermes after the original in the Vatican Collection, and the other is of Diana the Huntress. All of the garden features, including the terracing, have been recently restored.