Old Jail and Courthouse, County Kilkenny

Old Jail and Courthouse, County Kilkenny

Add to Custom Tour

« Return to previous page

Kilkenny Courthouse is a detached, two-storey over raised basement building located on Parliament Street, in the historical centre of Kilkenny. Originally a 16th Century castle and an 18th Centruy bridewell/gaol stood on the site. Its conversion to a courthouse occurred around 1792, and it was later remodelled around 1828. Another extension to the rear was added in roughly 1870. It has two double-height courtrooms, which were totally refurbished in 1980. The building holds importance both architecturally and historically. Many of the changes to the original structure may have been quite intensive but these have been reversed through the recent refurbishment and construction works.

History

The site has been occupied for at least 800 years and in public use for the last 500 year. The earliest recorded building is Grace’s Castle, built in 1210. In 1566 the castle was sold to the English Crown and rented to Kilkenny Corporation for use as a gaol. In 1752 and 1792 further works hid whatever remained of the castle and added a courthouse and another gaol to the complex. The Kilkenny architect, William Robertson, added the present classical front elevation to unify the appearance of the buildings in 1824. He also created the Georgian entrance hall behind (possibly an amalgamation of different older rooms). The local authority made other alterations in the last century, most notably the addition in the 1920’s of a council chamber to the back of the building, with its distinctive timber-lined ceiling.

Archaeological finds

An archaeological dig in 2008 on the site to the rear of the courthouse yielded extensive finds, many unique in Kilkenny. About 30 burials were found, probably mostly of prisoners, and possibly one from medieval times. Because the site falls to the River Nore and is very damp, archaeologists found many very well preserved items such as a child’s toy, wooden spindles, even shingles of wooden medieval roofs about which little had been known. The rare "wet" archaeology also revealed seed and pollen samples, allowing experts to trace the history of vegetation and food on the site over a thousand years. The cesspits were particularly informative.

« Return to previous page

Share Attraction:

E-mail


Location


Add to Custom Tour

Create your very own Ireland tour with our Tailor Made Tours section. Once you've created an account and logged in, you can add your favourite attractions, accommodation and activities. And, when you're happy with your choices, just send them on to one of our Ireland experts and we'll design a custom itinerary and quote tailored just for you.


Features In:

Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 6 Days

Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 6 Days

Take a quick visit through Ireland's intriguing past.

Starting from $2,234 pps

More details

Journey Through the West Self-Drive Tour 11 Days

Journey Through the West Self-Drive Tour 11 Days

Experience an unforgettable beauty.

Starting from $1,201 pps

More details

Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 11 Days

Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 11 Days

Jump back in time and walk in ancient footsteps.

Starting from $1,213 pps

More details

Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 8 Days

Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 8 Days

A unique tour of ancient Ireland with a driver/guide.

Starting from $3,004 pps

More details

Best of Ireland South Self-Drive Tour

Best of Ireland South Self-Drive Tour

Take in Ireland's south at your own pace.

Starting from $1,639 pps

More details

Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 6 Days

Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 6 Days

Adventure through Ireland's intriguing past.

Starting from $851 pps

More details

Journey Through the West Chauffeur Drive Tour 11 Days

Journey Through the West Chauffeur Drive Tour 11 Days

Ireland's wonderful west.

Starting from $4,215 pps

More details

Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 8 Days

Ancient Ireland Self-Drive Tour 8 Days

Uncover the secrets of Ireland's ancient past.

Starting from $1,070 pps

More details

Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 11 Days

Ancient Ireland Chauffeur Drive Tour 11 Days

The essential Ancient Ireland Tour with your very own guide.

Starting from $4,231 pps

More details

Traditional Pub & Folklore Chauffeur Drive Tour 8 Days

Traditional Pub & Folklore Chauffeur Drive Tour 8 Days

Enjoy the best of Irish tradition.

Starting from $3,008 pps

More details

Traditional Pub & Folklore Self-Drive Tour 8 Days

Traditional Pub & Folklore Self-Drive Tour 8 Days

Awaken your Celtic soul with Irish music and traditions.

Starting from $1,036 pps

More details

Best of Ireland South Chauffeur Drive Tour 15 Days

Best of Ireland South Chauffeur Drive Tour 15 Days

Traverse the south in style.

Starting from $5,733 pps

More details