Kells, near Stonyford, which is also known as the Castles, is a wonderful surprise set in the verdant countryside of County Kilkenny. Extensive ruins of a medieval ecclesiastical city spread over a sloping green hill to the King’s River. Always an important site, Kells was chosen by St. Kieran of Seir, as a monastic site in the 5th century. Soon after the Norman invasion Geoffrey FitzRobert de Monte Marisco erected a castle and officially declared Kells a town.
Part of the Kingdom of Ossory, Kells became a walled citadel. Turrets, ramparts and curtain walls enclose five acres of churches, monastic remains, domestic buildings, chapels and castles. Owned by many different men over the centuries, Kells was repeatedly conquered, burned, sacked and then rebuilt. In 1316 Edward Bruce, the brother of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, captured it. Now, the impressive remains can be enjoyed in the peace and quiet of a pastoral setting. Bring a picnic lunch and spend a whole morning wandering through the past.
Depending on where you approach Kells from, to gain entrance you may have to follow the fence to a stile, climb over it and cross a pasture. You can also get into Kells by taking the road to Callan from Kilkenny. Turn left at the Kells sign and left again at the next sign. Park at the second mill and walk along the scenic river to the priory. Open all year. Free admission.
© 2011 Michele Erdvig
“Ireland Travel Expert”
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