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Kilkenny City - Tholsel
old irish photo
Kilkenny acquired railway links to Dublin in 1850, Waterford in 1854, Portlaoise in 1876 and Castlecomer in 1919. Córas Iompair Éireann closed the Castlecomer and Kilkenny Junction lines in 1962. Kilkenny railway station was renamed McDonagh in 1966. Kilkenny remains an important stop on Iarnród Éireann's Intercity route between Dublin and Waterford.
The city is famous for its many medieval buildings and has been referred to as the 'Marble City' for centuries. The black stone with decorative white fossils that forms the backbone of many of Kilkenny's fine buildings was quarried locally, particularly from the Black Quarry located by the roadside, one mile south of the city, past the castle. An exposed rock face can still be seen from the road. Kilkenny Marble or Black Marble was exported to all corners of the British Empire.
The city is dominated by both Kilkenny Castle and Saint Canice's Cathedral, the latter built beside an excellent example of a well-preserved Round Tower. The Church of Ireland Cathedral is named after Saint Canice, who also gave his name to the town (Cill Chainnigh is Irish for 'Church of Canice'). Also of note is the Dominican 'Black Abbey', founded in 1225, lying just off Parliament Street.
The town has a history of brewing and is home to St. Francis Abbey Brewery which was founded in the early 18th Century by Messrs Cole and Smithwick. The Guinness Ireland Group had owned this brewery since the 1960s. At the beginning of the 21st Century, Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan plc to form Diageo, the world's largest alcoholic beverage business, and the brewery is now a part of Diageo Global Supply. Smithwick's Ale now forms only a small percentage of production there. Another product is Kilkenny ale , a close relation of Smithwicks ale. Some 80 of beer produced at the brewery is Budweiser, a brand not owned by Diageo, but produced under licence.
Kilkenny is also home to the head offices of Glanbia foods, one of the world's top dairy companies. Glanbia was formed by the merger of two dairy businesses: Avonmore and Waterford foods, it employs a total of around 4000 people and has interests in Ireland, the UK and the USA.
Recent developments in Kilkenny have attracted further investment from local businesses as well as attracting new industry. Leggetsrath Business Park was opened in 2003 and is home to Glanbia's innovation centre, Wellstone Clinic, KCLR (local radio station) headquarters, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Premiere Recruitment, Keane Salon Supplies and other businesses.
Ormonde Retail Park is set to expand with 8 new units to be constructed in 2007.
Hebron Business Park was constructed in 2002 and is a privately owned extension to the Hebron Industrial Estate, the main centre for industry in Kilkenny. The new link road to the M9 motorway between Dublin and Waterford will improve access to Hebron Business Park and Industrial Estate.
Kilkenny are the current all-ireland champions senior hurling team, winning both the league and national cup.Kilkenny is one of the foremost counties in Ireland for proficiency in the ancient Irish game of hurling. This very fast and exciting field sport is indigenous to Ireland and is most popular in the geographical southern regions in the provinces of Leinster and Munster. Kilkenny is one of the counties where certain players (e.g. DJ Carey) can attain the status of superstars. On an Irish national level, their standing is alongside that of internationally renowned sporting personalities.
Kilkenny is also home to St. Kieran's College, a secondary school that is possibly the country's top hurling academy. Many of the most famous names of hurling history have worn the black and white of St. Kieran's, including Eddie Keher, Brian Cody and DJ Carey. But kilkenny's C.B.S. secondary school is much better than St. Kieran's College at hurling in recent years.
Kilkenny City AFC play in the first division of the Football League of Ireland. It entered the league as EMFA in 1986. Kilkenny and District Soccer League run leagues at schoolboy, youths and junior level throughout the county. It is affiliated to Leinster Football Association, Football Association of Ireland and the Schoolboy's Football Association of Ireland.
The city of Kilkenny received some recognition when, during the 2006-07 season, it was featured in a gag on the long running British football show Soccer AM. Due to popular requests the Soccer AM crew included the Irish forecast in their satirical segment called Topless Weather. When crew member Sheephead delivered the forecast, he pointed at Ireland and said 'Oh my God, it's Kilkenny' in reference to the city of Kilkenny and a play on the famous South Park joke.
Kilkenny Rugby Football Club has a very strong and successful Rugby Union club based at Foulkstown on the Waterford Road. The club has provided many players for the Ireland team including Ernie Ridgeway, Bill Tector, Jack Notley, Willie Duggan, Ned Byrne, Ronan Kearney and Gary Halpin. Ian Dowling playing for the Munster Rugby team was the winner of a European Rugby Cup medal at Cardiff in May 2006.
Kilkenny is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland as well a weekend getaway for many Irish citizens. Well regarded for its vibrant nightlife it has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Kilkenny hosts the annual Smithwicks Cat Laughs Comedy festival.
Places to see in Kilkenny:
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