St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Cill Channigh is the Gaelic for the Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century.
Combining the early Christian settlement, the Round Tower, the Anglo Norman Cathedral and its rich cultural ecclesiastical heritage makes St Canice’s Cathedral and its environs a must to visit while you are in Kilkenny.
Worship has taken place at this site for over 800 years. The Cathedral has wonderful stained glass that includes two windows from the Harry Clarke Studio, Dublin. Local stone masters The O’Tooneys carved some of the tombstones many of which are unique to the Cathedral and Kilkenny. The See Chair of the Bishop of Ossory dating back to 1120 can be seen inside the Cathedral.
The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting). St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland.
At St Canice’s Cathedral worship takes pre-eminence over all other activities. However, this jewel of Gothic Architecture is also used for national concerts and events – for example the Kilkenny Arts Festival held every August – which are in keeping with the environs of the Cathedral.
As a pilgrim or tourist visiting the Cathedral Close you will witness a spiritual, cultural, architectural and archaeological wonder of Kilkenny.