This is the HomepagePlaces of interest in Conty Kilkenny Tell us what is on your mindVisit our guestbookOther interesting websites  


Tullaherin is situated seven miles south-east of Kilkenny City, via Bennettsbridge - (from Waterford and New Ross, via Thomastown; from Dublin, via Paulstown and Gowran).

Map of the area surrounding Tullaherin

Tullaherin The name Tullaherin is usually given as the translation of Tulach Thirim - the dry mound or hillock, although it may also have derived from Tulach Chiarain - the tumulus or burial place of (St.) Ciaran, patron of Ossory Diocese and the "first of the saints of the Gael".

The old monastic site at Tullaherin boasts a number of fine antiquities, the most important of which is the well know Round Tower, or "Steeple" as it is know locally, which dates from the end of the 9th century. Features to note are: the regular layers of finely chiseled blocks of stone, the elevated entrance door, the small square-headed windows lighting each storey and the top storey (now partly eroded) which originally had eight windows - a feature Tullaherin Round Tower shares with that of Clonmacnoise. The whole tower leans slightly to the South.

The adjoining church dates from the 11-13th century with additions to the East from the 16th century. There are two ogham stones near the tower: a fragment discovered in 1852 and an almost complete example discovered in 1983.

Tullaherin Folk Museum is housed in the nearby old parochial residence. Established by Duchas - Tullaherin Heritage Society - in 1981, it contains many interesting household and farm items which were in everyday use in the locality in days gone by. It is open by request only.

Opening times: on request. Admission is free but donations for upkeep are gratefully accepted.

Lectures are held during the winter months and are open to all. Summer tours are also open to non-members.


The bridge in Bennettsbridge
A settlement was first established near a crossing point on the river Nore in the early 13th century. The first bridge was built before 1285 and dedicated to St. Benet from which Bennettsbridge gets its name. The present bridge was built in the mid-18th century.

Two miles from Tullaherin lies Kilfane Church, originally founded by St. Paan around the time of St. Patrick. The present building with its adjoining norman tower house dates from the 14th or 15th century. It features a number of interesting items: traces of the original consecration crosses (in red) on the wall near the West doorway and on the North and South walls; the three original ogee-headed doorways - two in the South wall and one in the North wall near the sacristy door. The most remarkable feature is undoubtly the world famous effigy of Cantwell Fada dating from mid-13th to early 14th century.

This depicts a Norman Knight in full armour. The entire body is covered in a suit of chain mail over which is draped a loose cloth surcoat. The shield, which features the Cantwell coat of arms, is held in the left hand. The sword is partly hidden behind the legs. Around the ankles are strapped rowel spurs, an important feature in dating the sculpture. The legs are crossed which is thought to signify that the subject took part in the Crusades.

The skillful carving of the features, combined with its early date of execution and excellant state of preservation make Cantwell Fada an unique treasure among Ireland's medieval antiquities.

Other Items of Interest:
Stroan Fountain was built by Colonel Bushe of Kilfane House in 1766.
Rathcusack Church
Kilfane Forge with its distinctive horse-shoe shaped doorway.
The Sweathouse at Castlegarden.
Kilbline Castle (in private ownership).

More places of Local Interest