The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh) is the county seat of County Kilkenny, Ireland, with a population (including environs) of 20,735. The city is located on the River Nore and is the only city which is not tidal in the republic. It is also the only city in the republic which is not a county borough and so its administration is a "borough council" rather than "city council" as with the other cities. The city is also the only city of the republic which has neither a institute of technology nor university although National University of Ireland, Maynooth maintains an outreach center in the city. The city is famed for its history and night life.



The Statute of Kilkenny (1366) has got its name from the then Irish Parliament in Kilkenny, the statute contained nineteen clauses, their general provision was to reduce the influence of the Irish on the Normans by forbidding intermarriage as well the customs and language of the Irish which were considered to have has an adverse effect on the Norman settlers, the statute also attempted to outlaw Brehon Laws. Kilkenny was the capital of Confederate Ireland between 1642 and 1649, until it surrendered during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.


The city at night
The city at night

The city is famous for its many mediŠval buildings and is referred to as the "Marble City" for hundreds of years, but the black stone with decorative white fossils that forms the backbone of many of Kilkenny's fine buildings is actually polished limestone which has been quarried from around the city for centuries.

The city is dominated by Kilkenny Castle and Saint Canice 's Cathedral. The latter is named for Saint Canice, who also gave his name to the town (Cill Chainnigh is Irish for "Church of Canice"). Also of notice is the Dominican 'Black Abbey', founded in 1225, lying on Parliament Street.


The town has a history of brewing and is home to St. Francis Abbey Brewery which was founded in the early 18th Century by messrs Cole and Smithwick. This brewery had been owned by the Guinness Ireland Group since the 1960's. At the beginning of the 21st Century, Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan plc to form Diageo, the world's largest alcoholic beverage business, so the brewery is now a part of Diageo Global Supply, and Smithwick's Ale now forms only a small percentage of production there. Another product is the ale Kilkenny, a close relation of the ale Smithwicks. Kilkenny ale was originally created specifically for the export market to help those who found the word "Smithwicks" linguistically challenging but has since carved out a place for itself in the Irish beer market. Some 80% of beer produced at the brewery is Budweiser, a brand not owned by Diageo, but produced under licence.

Kilkenny is also home to the head offices and a factory of Glanbia. Glanbia is one of the world's top cheese and dairy companies. Glanbia was formed from the merging of two dairy businesses - Avonmore and Waterford foods. Glanbia has interests in Ireland, the UK and the USA, and employs a total of about 7,500 people.

Additional reading

  • Katherine Lanigan & Gerald Tyler, Kilkenny: Its Architecture and History (Appletree P, 1987) (ISBN 0862811805)
  • Robert Wyse Jackson, Story of Kilkenny (Mercier P, 1974) (ISBN 0853423911)
  • Sean Kenny Every Stick and Stone That Stands Kilkenny (2003) (ISBN 0954574109)
  • David Edwards, The Ormond Lordship in County Kilkenny, 1515-1642: The Rise and Fall of the Butler Family (Four Courts Press, 2000) (ISBN 1851825789)
  • John Leonard, A university for Kilkenny: Plans for a royal college in the seventeenth century (St Canice's Press, 1996) (ISBN 0952807602)
  • Mark Haworth-Booth, Bonnettstown: A House in Ireland (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1989) (ISBN 0810907488)

External links

Last updated: 05-16-2005 06:29:08