The 19th Century

James Butler (1774-1838), 1st Marquess of Ormonde (3rd creation), and his wife Grace Louisa Staples (1779-1860), were responsible for a major programme of building works on the castle. During that time the family moved to live in Butler House, the Dower house on Patrick Street, Kilkenny.

Their son John Butler (1808-54), 2nd Marquess of Ormonde, was a great traveller and kept journals of his travels around Europe. He was also deeply interested in collecting art, and during his ownership the Picture Gallery was built and many new paintings were acquired. It was John’s wife, Frances Jane Paget (1817-1903), who brought in the architects Deane and Woodward to make further alterations to the castle buildings.

The last marquess of Ormonde to live at Kilkenny Castle was James Edward Butler (1844-1919), 3rd Marquess of Ormonde, who, with his wife Elizabeth Harriet Grosvenor (1856-1928), entertained British royalty at the castle in a final aristocratic episode. It was a way of life that, by the beginning of the twentieth century, had become an anachronism.

Forthcoming changes in land tenure, as well as in the social and political climate, were to bring the era of the great landed estates in Ireland to a close.