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Kilkenny Castle and Park welcomes all visitors and aims to make everyone’s day out enjoyable. We are committed to improving access and facilities for visitors with disabilities. Future works are to be carried out including resurfacing the central courtyard, the installation of a lift to give universal access to the Picture Gallery.
Kilkenny Castle is an ancient structure and a protected national monument. The nature of the building does present certain challenges to our visitors; the visit will include approximately 200 steps over four floors, there are narrow doorways with high saddles and for conservation reasons the light level is kept low.
This page was designed to assist in answering queries you may have about your access. This information is given to prepare your visit and certainly not to put you off visiting or to make you feel unwelcome. If you have additional queries, concerns or any special requirements, please contact us on 0567704106 / 0567704104 or firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of your visit.
Staff have taken part in Disability awareness, Dementia awareness, Epilepsy awareness and Autism Awareness training.
Our first morning timeslot from 9.30am to 10am is reserved for “At risk” visitors and Neurodiverse Visitors.
We also have a Visitors Amenities and Access Point map for your reference. Map available here.
Kilkenny Castle along with all OPW sites are delighted to offer free admission for visitors with disabilities and their carer. A full list of Heritage sites can be found on www.heritageireland.ie.
The Castle staff are aware there are many disabilities including hidden and no proof is required to avail of our complimentary tickets.
Complimentary tickets can either be booked in advance by either contacting us on email@example.com / 0567704106 or collected on the day from our ticket desk.
Members of staff are stationed at the entrance of the Castle and will be happy to organise tickets for any visitors not able to queue.
Visitors with Limited Mobility
Part of the Castle may not be suitable to visitors with limited mobility.
The Medieval Room which is accessed by a ramp and wheelchair lift has a 12-minute audio-visual which plays on a loop during the Castle’s opening hours. The audio-visual gives an overview on the 800-year history of the Castle and the Butler family as well as detailed footage of the period rooms. No ticket is required to view the audio visual.
The Ground Floor of Kilkenny Castle which contains the Withdrawing Room, Dining Room and Entrance Hall is fully wheelchair accessible.
The Tapestry Room, Ante Room, Library, Drawing Room and Picture Gallery are on the First Floor accessible via the Main Staircase which has 34 steps.
The Blue Corridor, Victorian Nursery, Private Sitting Room, Bedrooms, and exhibition rooms on the Second Floor are accessed by the Cantilever stairs from the Drawing Room. This is a twisting stone staircase with 29 steps up.
Access to the Picture Gallery, on the first floor of the East wing, is 30 steps down from the Second Floor via the Moorish Staircase.
On exiting the Picture gallery, visitors can go down the 41 steps of the back staircase to the basement corridor. It is also possible to exit via the Entrance Hall down the 34 steps of the Main staircase. Guiding staff on duty will provide assistance and direct you to your preferred option.
Courtesy chairs are available in some period rooms, please ask the staff on duty.
Visitors with Hearing Impairments
There is a room by room guide available to download and information boards are positioned in all the period rooms. The OPW runs a programme of Irish Sign Language tours at some Heritage sites. Information on scheduled ISL tours can be found on www.heritageireland.ie/visit/accessibility/. Tours are free of charge but places are limited so participants are asked to book early by emailing the site or firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors with Vision Impairments
Guide dogs are very welcome at Kilkenny Castle.
An information leaflet for the vision impaired with recommended size, font and spacing is available to download. Information leaflets in braille are available to borrow from the ticket desk and our experienced guides are stationed in the main period rooms and will assist with descriptions, questions, and historical background.
We offer sensory friendly visiting times for those with sensory sensitivity. At present admission from 9.30am to 10am is reserved for sensory visiting time. If this does not suit please contact us on 0567704106 / email@example.com to discuss alternatives. With advanced notice we can offer sensory visits outside regular opening hours.
We have developed Social Stories to help you to prepare for your visit and you can download your Social Story here.
Kilkenny Castle at times can be loud and busy. We are aware that some of our visitors with sensory sensitivity may find some sounds very stressful. To help with your visit we have put together the following soundbites of what you may hear when visiting us.
Our guiding staff have all participated in an Autism Awareness training organised by AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity. https://asiam.ie/
There is an accessible toilet with a rail and emergency cord on the first floor of the East wing. Getting to the toilet involves 36 steps spread over two flights of stone stairs, one very narrow and twisting. If a visitor cannot use this toilet another toilet facility is accessed by a lift in the Parade Tower, our event section. Please ask a member of staff for information. Wheelchair accessible public toilets are also available on the Parade close to the Castle. There is a 20 cents charge to use them.
Kilkenny Castle does not have a car park however you will find disabled parking spaces on the street in front of the Kilkenny Design Centre across the road from the castle. Non-disabled spaces can be used without charge as long a valid disabled parking permit is displayed.
Please follow the link for a map of Kilkenny showing car park and toilet facilities.
The Castle Tea Rooms are situated in the lower level of the East wing and are accessible from the ground floor by 13 stone steps. The coffee dock on the grounds is fully accessible.
Kilkenny Castle is surrounded by 52 acres of parkland, gardens and forest which is accessible for wheelchair users and disabled people as the majority is flat and the pathways are well laid out. The playground in the park is suitable for children with different abilities and it has a wheelchair accessible roundabout and sensory wall specifically designed for children with special needs.
There are benches to rest at in the Castle courtyard and on the grounds.