Kilkenny Castle

       The castle was built in 1117. The spot was chosen because it was near the water (for fresh water) and it had a good view in case someone would attack. The castle had 4 towers and a moat surrounding castle for protection as well as a wall.   
     The walls eventually came down, partly becuase Oliver Cromwell destroyed part of one of the walls. Then the castle basically became a fortified resident. The Butler family lived in the castle the longest, 1491-1935. They were the most powerful anglo-irish family in ireland. They couldn’t afford to live in it so in 1935 they moved out and it sat vacant until 1967 when the city of Kilkenny bought it for fifty pounds. The family didn’t want it to sit in ruins anymore and wanted someone to fix it up.
       The first part of our tour took us into one of the dining rooms. One is used for formal events and the other is used for everyday family meals. We were in the formal dining room and it was linked to a small drawing room where the ladies would go after the meal and drink tea, while the men stayed in the dining room and smoked cigars and talked. A fun fact was that the kitchens are on the other side of the castle from the dining rooms in case of fires, so the servants used service trolleys to keep food warm when transporting it to the dining room.
       The next room was the main entrance hall. Here they had not one, but two fireplaces so that when people came in they could warm up quickly. The table in this room was original, it was a very large marble table. When the Butler family moved out they sold a lot of the furniture so there is not a lot left in the castle that is original. The floor in this room is also original, becuase the weather in Ireland is very rainy it caused most of the ceilings in the castle to fall in except for in this room. So the floor did not get ruined due to the weather. The paintings in this room are also original. The family had kept them all because they are family portraits, so qhen they sold the castle to the city they included the paintings.
       Next was the tapestry room. In this room there was a secret passage that the servants used to serve the guests. They had two 400 year old tapestries hanging in the room. They were woven in Belgium by 64 weavers over a 3 year time span, so you can imagine how large these tapestries were.
       We went upstairs to the library next. Before you go into the library though, there is a waiting room called the anti room. Once through the waiting room, it opens into the library where they have one original book case, out of the six that were in the room. You can tell the difference between the original from the replicas becuase the glass reflects light differently. The library was in really bad condition due to the roof falling in. However they managed to get an exact replica of the carpet. They found a receipt from when the original was purchased and they were able to google the comapny and found it was still in business. They were able to contact the company and get an exact replica made. The library then opened up into another drawing room which was like a family room.
       Next we entered the blue bedroom. It had the original bed in it and it was very small becuase when they would sleep at night they had a lot of pillows so they were sitting up. They did this for digestion becuase they ate a lot late at night and they had respiratory problems. They were also superstitious about laying flat becuase they felt they would die and never get up if they laid flat when sleeping. They and so had and so Chinese bedroom. It was a sign of wealth to have one, basically saying that I’ve been to China and you haven’t.
       The last room was the picture gallery. It was 45 meters in length, which is the second longest room in Ireland. The original design was actually no good for having paintings there were too many windows (light will affect the paintings) and the roof was leaky so they were getting wet.
       The tour was very educational and I think we all really enjoyed it. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the castle so unfortunately we can’t show everyone those.

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