The Castle Gateway
Today the principal entrance to Kilkenny Castle is through the impressive Classical gateway situated on the Parade. Before entering the archway, look to the right to see remains of the recently excavated dry ditch or moat, which was filled in during the seventeenth century to enable the construction of this gateway in the curtain wall. Also notice the heavy sloping batter of the walls, the garderobe chute and the small thirteenth-century Postern Gate with stone steps leading into the moat. Two circular towers may be seen to either end of the wall. The massive Parade Tower, the largest of the three remaining towers, retains much of its original proportions and fabric, although the windows in these towers are later insertions.
The massive pedimented gateway based on the classical triumphal arch dates from the end of the seventeenth century. It was largely completed before 1710 and while the finely carved Corinthian capitals and a keystone executed in the lighter coloured stone are mostly original, the decorative festoons were added during the nineteenth century. Tall wooden doors guard the entranceway and the colourful coat of arms is that of the Butler/Ormonde family. When the castle was used as a residence, a porter or gatekeeper was employed to be on duty at all times and would probably have lived in small rooms within the gateway. The gateway range has been recently refurbished as part of the Parade Tower Conference Centre.