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Shankill Castle and Gardens
Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny
Family friendly
Dog friendly
Free car parking
Cloudy days
Discover centuries of history, enchanting gardens, and an organic farm-to-plate café experience on a day out at Shankill Castle and Gardens in rural Kilkenny. Peruse the vibrant art on display by Irish artist Elizabeth Cope, who makes her home at the castle.

Visit the castle to learn the history of the Butler and Aylward families, who transformed the castle over centuries from a medieval tower house to a Queen Anne historic house. On a guided tour personally led by a member of the Cope family, view the array of eclectic antiques, admire the luxurious drawing room, notice the coal oven in the old kitchen, and walk through the dining room, which overlooks the peaceful pond and Ireland’s only polyhedral sundial.

Explore the charming, moated garden and Victorian walled garden where espaliered heritage apple and pear trees from a bygone era continue to fruit. Wander the sweeping lawns with their elegant topiary and towering sequoias, stroll through scenic woodland trails and spot ancient ruins and fairy gardens among the forest. See cows and donkeys peacefully grazing in the surrounding organic farm.

Stop in at the Coach House Café, housed in the 300 year old stable yard, and indulge your palate with homemade, artisan food, organically grown and locally sourced. Enjoy a seasonal, wholesome menu based on produce grown in the walled garden.

See the fruit of artist Elizabeth Cope’s unrestrained creativity exhibited on the walls of the castle, the café, and the stable yard’s tack room. Infusing Shankill’s tranquil greenery and stately corridors with a confident multitude of colours, her paintings add a burst of modernity amongst the antique tables and vintage vases.

Located just 20 minutes from both Kilkenny City and Carlow Town, and 90 minutes from Dublin, Shankill Castle is a gem of Ireland’s Ancient East, conveniently located just off the M9 motorway.

Tips from locals

Enjoy home cooked treats and more in the Coachyard Café, as seen on RTE's "At Your Service".

Contact details
Shankill, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland
Visit duration

We recommend planning to spend 2 to 3 hours here.

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Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle. Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years.

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The founder of the Christian Brothers, Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice came from the small town of Callan in County Kilkenny where he was born on 1 June 1762. The thatched house at "Westcourt" in which Edmund was born, is over 250 years old. The six roomed house is typical of a prosperous farming family of the time and consists of a kitchen, parlour, breakfast room and three bedrooms. Of particular interest is the bedroom in which Edmund Rice was born.

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