We arrived in the town of Kilkenny on Thursday afternoon. We had some free time before going on a walking tour with a cheeky local guide. I went for a walk during my free time and checked out the Kilkenny Castle. This is where the powerful Butler family who once ruled the area for centuries lived. The castle has been here since the 12th century, but has evolved into a 17th-century chateau with a large portrait gallery. The castle used to have four sides, but Oliver Cromwell’s army knocked down one of the sides, leaving it in a “U” shape.
Our local guide took us to 17 High Street, known as the Hole in the Wall which is Kilkenny’s renowned 16th century tavern. It is housed in the Archer Inner House, which is Ireland’s oldest surviving townhouse. There is a saying about it that goes, “If you ever go to Kilkenny, remember the Hole in the Wall. You may there get blind drunk for a penny or tipsy for nothing at all.” We passed by Smithwick’s Brewery, and then visited St. Canice’s Cathedral which dates back to the 13th century. Finally, we stopped inside the cellar of Kyteler’s Inn where our guide told us the story of Alice Kyteler, the first person who was charged and condemned of witchcraft in Ireland. She was a noblewoman who was married four times. Each of her husbands died before her, and she was accused of using poison and sorcery on her fourth husband. Those who were investigating the charges tortured Alice’s servant until she confessed to witchcraft and implicated Alice. Alice fled the country, probably to England, but her servant was publicly flogged throughout the streets of Kilkenny and then burned at the stake.