Tower Houses of Medieval Kilkenny, Ireland
The Landscape of County Kilkenny is full of history that covers many different era’s, including the Medieval period from around the 5th to the 15th century.
Just some of the reminders of this era are the great Tower Houses as detailed below.
A tower house is a fortified medieval residence of stone, usually four or more stories in height. Like most of the surviving monuments of our medieval past, the majority of Irish tower houses are in poor condition, with collapsed walls and ivy shrouded exteriors reflecting centuries of neglect. Yet these ruins, the remnants of a major medieval building industry, provide a valuable source of information on life in Ireland during the later Middle Ages. An increasing number are being restored through both private and state initiatives, while there has also been a marked upsurge in academic interest in recent years.
The buildings were regarded as castles by their occupants. This classification continues today and tower houses are regarded as a species within the castle genus. Their evident defensive strength should not, however, overshadow their residential nature, for tower houses were primarily the defended homes of a wealthy landowning class and were erected by both Anglo-Irish and Gaelic families during the period from circa 1400 to circa 1650.
Ref : Tower Houses