Kilkenny City’s Medieval Walls: Talbots Tower

Kilkenny City's Medieval Walls
Kilkenny City's Medieval Walls

Kilkenny City was a centre of political and ecclesiastical power in Ireland between the 9th and 17th centuries. In 1300 it was the country’s largest inland town, bounded by city walls built by the Anglo Norman invaders. The walls were a symbol of power and a defence against attack. Talbots Tower was one of nine towers on the city walls.

Kilkenny City's Medieval Walls: Talbots Tower

Kilkenny City’s Medieval Walls: Talbots Tower

During the 500 years of the turbulent middle-ages soldiers were stationed at Talbots Tower to defend the city.  Oliver Cromwell successfully breached the walls, after a brief siege, in 1650. From 1700’s onward Kilkenny enjoyed a sustained period of relative peace and the walls fell into disrepair.  In the 19th century a pleasure garden was created at the top of the tower for a nearby dwelling house. By the 20th century the tower and adjacent walls were in ruins.

Talbots Tower aerial shot

Talbots Tower aerial shot

In 2005, Kilkenny Borough Council, in partnership with the Heritage Council, produced the Kilkenny City Walls Conservation Plan, in order to provide a strategy for the long term survival of the city’s walls.

The rebuilding and conservation of Talbots Tower, the most intact tower in the city walls, began in 2006. It was a massive undertaking involving many professionals including engineers, architects, archaeologists, building historians, stone masons, illustrators, landscape architects, gardeners and grounds staff. The project was managed by Kilkenny County Council, with support from the Heritage Council and Government Departments. It was co-funded by Kilkenny County Council, the Heritage Council and the Irish Walled Towns Network.

Watchtower to Garden tower

Watchtower to Garden tower

Each of the beautifully illustrated interpretive panels at Talbots Tower tell the story of Kilkenny City Walls and Talbots Tower. It is intended that they will be a useful educational resource for schools in County Kilkenny, and that they will encourage locals and visitors to explore our rich medieval heritage. The interpretive panels have been incorporated into a booklet and can be read by clicking here

This project is an action of the Kilkenny Heritage Plan.

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