St Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower
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Located in the Irishtown area of Kilkenny City, St Canice’s Cathedral dates back to 1285 and has a rich history for visitors to explore. The 30 metres high round tower also affords stunning 360 degree views of the region.
St Canice’s Cathedral is one of the most prominent sights in Kilkenny, which was once a splendid Medieval city. Many believe the construction of the massive Gothic cathedral began in the 1250s and was completed in 1285, but the religious roots of the site extend back to the 6th Century, when the Church of St Canice stood here. Over the years, the cathedral has maintained many of its 13th Century features despite the collapse of the central tower in 1332 and the overtaking of the property by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1650.
Visitors will delight in seeing the round headed stained glass windows, unique marble floors in the sanctuary and parish chapel and a number of fascinating tombstones from the 17th Century. Inside the cathedral, they can view the original font, or baptism receptacle, as well as St Kieran’s Chair, an ancient stone seat thought to contain part of the 5th Century bishop’s throne. The cathedral also houses the Great War Memorial List, a record of the names of Irishmen who lost their lives in the First World War.
The round tower, thought to have been built in the 9th Century, is the oldest standing structure in modern day Kilkenny City. It is a testament to the ecclesiastical significance of the location, as such towers were constructed to protect people and treasures at major religious sites. It is also one of only two round towers in all of Ireland that visitors are allowed to climb, weather permitting. From the top of the 30 metres tower, people can take in wonderful views of Kilkenny and the surrounding countryside.