The History of Butler House

Butler House is the Dower House of Kilkenny Castle and has always been associated with the Butler Family, Dukes & Earls of Ormonde who resided at Kilkenny Castle for 500 years.

18th Century

The house was home to Lady Eleanor Butler who lived here after the death of her husband Walter in 1783. Lady Eleanor Butler was the mother of John, the 17th Earl of Ormonde and her daughter, also Eleanor, was one of the famous "ladies of Langollen".

19th Century

James, Earl of Ormonde resided in the house while the Castle was under reconstruction in 1831.

A soup kitchen was run from here during the cholera epidemic of 1832.

The Royal historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland held their meetings in Butler House in 1870.

20th Century

Kilkenny Design, the state design agency, restored Butler House in 1972.

The decor and furnishings reflect a certain 1970s Art Deco style, which because of the muted colours and natural fabrics used, proved sympathetic to the original features of the house. In 1989, the Kilkenny Civic Trust acquired both Butler House and the Castle Stables. The house was then opened to the public as a guesthouse and conference centre.

In 2000, The Kilkenny Civic Trust had the gardens at Butler House landscaped, in order to return them to their original splendour. The gardens have since become an attraction for the many visitors to Kilkenny.

About Butler House

Gabrielle Hickey, Manager


An integral part of the Kilkenny Castle Estate, Butler house was home to the Earls of Ormonde, who also built the castle, stables and coach houses at the rear.

Sweeping staircases, magnificent plastered ceilings, marble fireplaces and a charming walled garden are all features of this notable Georgian residence.

Butler House was originally restored in the early 1970’s by Kilkenny Design, they painstakingly restored all of the original architectural features and furnished the house in a very unique and contemporary way. The influence of Kilkenny Design has always been one of the unique features of Butler House. The house has undergone a number of refurbishments since then, however the influence of the original Kilkenny Design Team is still visible throughout the house today.

The superb location of Butler House in the centre of historic Kilkenny City offers visitors the best of two worlds. Through the back door you will find Patrick Street, which leads to the commercial centre of the city. Here you will find an array of shops, bars and restaurants. Through the front door you will be surprised to find the internationally renowned Butler House Walled Garden. This charming Georgian garden was restored to its former glory in 1999 and boosts its own private entrance to the Castle yard and Kilkenny Castle. This is another unique feature of this wonderful house.

Our professional and friendly staff would be delighted to welcome you to Butler House and to Kilkenny. They are more than happy to assist in mapping out itineraries, recommending and reserving restaurants, reserving tee times, arranging local fishing trips, horse ridding, etc. The dedication and enthusiasm of our staff provide one of the hallmarks of our success.

Ladies of Langollen