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.
The opening of OPW sites can be weather dependent and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all, access may be subject to change at short notice. Every attempt will be made to announce these closures ahead of time but if you are in any doubt, please check with site for its Open/Close Status.
There is no admission fee to walk and explore the parklands.
Please note BBQ’s are not allowed on the Castle Park grounds.
Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a lead and are not allowed in the lake, as there is wildlife nesting.
Please download the Code of Conduct for Dog Owners (PDF).
Click here for opening times.
Help us document the biodiversity of the Castle’s Park by recording your sightings on Ireland’s Citizen Science Portal, the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
International Dawn Chorus Day 2021
To celebrate nature’s greatest symphony we recorded the beautiful birdsongs in the Castle Park on Sunday 2nd May 2021. Click on the soundcloud to listen to the distinctive sounds of some of our most vocal birds.