Midlands GROW Members Enjoy Trip to Kilkenny

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Six GROW groups from the Midlands region attended a throughly enjoyable day-trip to Ireland’s once medieval capital city, Kilkenny, on Friday, July 27th.

The day began with tea, coffee and award-winning scones in Kilkenny Design Centre, with everyone relaxing after the journey, and mixing and mingling.

After this, all boarded the Kilkenny City Tours Train, where the group got to view local historic sights and medieval streets. The group’s tour guide, Paul, was very entertaining and provided a very informative tour including the Bishop’s Palace.

Construction began on the Palace in 1350 using stone from three demolished churches in Kilkenny. The works were directed by Bishop Richard Ledred, a controversial figure, who led the first ever witchcraft trials in Europe, including the trial of Dame Alice Kyteler.

Today the building is the headquarters of The Heritage Council of Ireland.

“St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Church, were also included in the tour. We also got to hear about Dame Alice Kyteler who was the first recorded person condemned for witchcraft in Europe. Such witchcraft included numerous crimes which also involved the poisoning of her four previous husbands.

“She then fled from Ireland to England, but her servant Petronilla de Meath was flogged and burned to death at the stake on November 3rd, 1324. An only child, Dame Alice was born in Kyteler House on Kieran Street which is know know as Kytelers Inn,” highlights Area Coordinator Michelle McCormick.

Next on the agenda was Kilkenny Castle. The original Anglo-Norman stone castle was built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke (c.1146-1219) during the first decade of the thirteenth century.

Kilkenny Castle later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years. The Butler ownership began when James (c.1360-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond, purchased the castle in c.1391, and lasted until 1967 when Arthur, 6th Marquess of Ormonde (1893-1971), presented it to the people of Kilkenny in return for a token payment of £50.

“We had tours of different rooms, with guides explaining the history of the Butler family and pointing out where a wall had existed which had been removed by Cromwell’s canons. Overall, this was a very interesting tour. The portraits were amazing and the GROWERS had lots of questions for the tour guides.

“Last we headed to Langton House Hotel for a three-course meal with tea and coffee. Everyone complimented the food and relaxed after a long day. It was a great opportunity to mix with other GROWERS and have a chat.

“All boarded the bus home, but the fun didn’t stop there with a great sing-song and a lot of laughter on the way home. All GROWERS said they had a thoroughly enjoyable day,” emphasises Michelle.