Edmund Ignatius Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers, was born in this house near Callan in 1762. Photo: David Burke

There’s more to Kilkenny than cats

The city and county have everything you could ask for

THE ROAD to Kilkenny from this side of the country is not exactly a highway. Unless you take a very long way around, you are condemned to negotiate a series of relatively minor stretches as you make your way to the Marble City. But it’s worth it.

While Tuam can claim to have been the capital of Ireland for a few years during the reign of the High King Rory O’Connor, Kilkenny was our chief city for significant amounts of time.

Every school child has learned about the Statutes of Kilkenny of 1367, in which the English colonisers were forbidden from adopting the social practices of the Irish.

And 300 or so years later, the Confederation of Kilkenny united Gael and Gall in a Catholic army to fight Cromwell and his Roundheads. Among its leaders were General Owen Roe O’Neill and the Papal Nuncio, Cardinal Rinuccini. His name lives on deliciously in the city, as you will see below.

The relics of that history, and much more, adorn the streets of a prosperous and vibrant little city which we visited on the second leg of our 32 Counties in 32 Months project.

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