The Emerald Isle

century Kyteler’s Inn and the Elizabethan Elizabethan Rothe House, now Kilkenny’s local museum. While Kilkenny carefully preserves its medieval past, to the delight of thousands of visitors every year, it also fosters a fine artistic tradition, and the Kilkenny Arts Festival, held each August, is now one of the most important in Ireland. Most visitors to Kilkenny also find time to visit the monastic sites in the Nore valley. The ruins of Kells Priory, founded by Augustinian friars from Bodmin in Cornwall and later rebuilt behind a strongly fortified enclosure, are extensive, as are the ruins of the Cistercian Jerpoint Abbey, near Thomastown, another once-fortified medieval settlement. Jerpoint Abbey still has among its ruins the effigies of two bishops and, in its fine cloisters, many remarkable carvings, the details of which give fascinating glimpses into the medieval past of this part of Ireland. The South & Southeast RIGHT: Jerpoint Abbey is a ruined Cistercian abbey, founded in the second half of the 12th century, near Thomastown, County Kilkenny. OVERLEAF: The inner courtyard of Kilkenny Castle. 138