St Canice’s Cathedral

This 13th century cathedral is the second longest cathedral in Ireland. The site on which the Cathedral Stands has been a site of Christian worship since the 6th century. The cathedral has necesitated many restorations during its life. The first by bishop Ledrede in 1332 after the central tower collapsed from an over application of lead by William outlaw as penance for being an accomplce of Dame Alice Kytler, accused of witchcraft.

In 1650 Oliver Cromwell did his best to ruin the cathedral by stabling his horses therin, smashing the font, windows and throwing out monuments and tombs. The cathedral has been carefully restored over the years with the dedication of various bishops and the Deans of Ossory.

Features of Interest

The architectural style of the Cathedral is Early Gothic and it is built of limestone. The cathedral has been carefully preserved in its origionbal style and form. It is richly endowed with many stained glass wondows an, the East Lancelent window being a replica of the origional.

The Cathedral contains some of the finest 16th century monuments in Ireland. The memorials stretch right accross the social spectrum from the gresat figures of the house of Ormonde to the humble shoemaker and carpenter.

The baptisimal font is the origional and the aincent stone of enthronement for Bishops still exists under the seat of the medieval throne in the North Transept, where to this day the Bishop’s of Ossory are installed.

The continental carvings on the Choir stalls and the Hammer Beam roof are not to be missed.

Beside the Cathedral stands the 9th century round tower. It may once have been a watchtower and refuge and it can be climbed to give an unsurpassing vantage point to view the City of Kilkenny and the surrounding Countryside.


The Cathedral facilities include: wheelchair access, Gift shop and Toilets Guided tours are available by prior arrangement. Information leaflets are available to visitors in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese and Irish.