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Butler House

Butler House

Located in the heart of Kilkenny, Butler House was home to the Earls of Ormonde who built Kilkenny Castle and was constructed when the new Lady Butler expressed displeasure at living in the cold and draughty castle. A Georgian manor house in style, with gardens that have direct access into Castle Yard, the property offers a central location but a tranquil setting in stately grounds. 

Inside, the house’s fine period features have been retained with a sweeping staircase, marble fireplaces and decorative ceilings. The restaurant has ornate plasterwork and elegant silver-grey walls adorned with artwork from the Basil Goulding collection. It serves a delicious breakfast including sausages made to the chef’s specific recipe. 

The 13 rooms are spacious and light but decidedly dated in their decor; a slow but thorough renovation is under way. Service at Butler House is impeccable and many loyal local customers return regularly for afternoon teas. Butler’s Pantry, the hotel’s main bar, is located downstairs and its vaulted ceilings, terracotta floor tiles, low lighting and vintage armchairs create an intimate and stylish atmosphere. 

Outside, there is an impressive walled garden.

Our rating: Medium

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The 13 rooms are all different in size and style, although all are spacious. Many have high ceilings, bay windows and fireplaces, and all are named after historical figures linked to the house. The decor is fairly innocuous, with cream tones and limited artwork on the walls, but rooms are slowly being refitted in a more contemporary style. Each room comes with tea and coffee making facilities as standard.


Butler House is situated in the heart of Kilkenny, close to the castle and with direct access to the arts and crafts courtyard opposite the castle entrance. The hotel is on the main street which runs through Kilkenny and has its own small car park for guests. The main shops, restaurants and museums are just minutes’ walk away.

Food and drink

The hotel’s restaurant has a classic, elegant style with pale grey wallpaper, soft, taupe seating and a central chandelier. Breakfast and afternoon tea are served here, while a modern European lunch menu is served in the basement restaurant which has a vaulted ceiling, terracotta tiles, brass lamps and antique furniture. Meals are only served until 4pm.

Facilities and activities

The house has gardens which open directly onto Castle Yard which houses several artisan workshops which sit opposite the castle. In December the gardens host several Christmas events including a Christmas fair.

Our opinion

Despite the uninspiring decor in the rooms, we love the attentive hospitality and beautiful public areas of Butler House.

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    Experiences while staying here

    The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.

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