Shankill Castle is set in parkland near Paulstown on the Carlow/Kilkenny border. It is just 16km from Kilkenny and 19km from Carlow.
Shankill Castle, one of the Irish house-castles, is a unique family home often described as a living museum.
It was first built as a Butler tower-house near the ruins of a pre-reformation church. In 1708 it was rebuilt and set in a formal landscape, vista to the front and canal to the rear, by Peter Aylward. In the 19th century, it was enlarged and castellated, serpentine bays added to the canal and an unusual polyhedral sundial given pride of place on a sunken lawn. The stable yard and castellated entrance to the demesne are attributed to Daniel Robertson.
Shankill Castle is now home and studio to the artist Elizabeth Cope whose paintings are on display. Exhibitions are frequently hosted in the castle and farmyard, which are also used as artists’ studios, attracting visitors not just locally, but from the whole of Ireland and internationally.
Nowadays visitors can take a guided tour of the castle and a walk around the gardens. Visit in Spring for snowdrops, daffodils and tulips, Summer for the meadows, art exhibitions and sunshine walks, Autumn for the ScareFest, ghost tours and wand and quill making, Winter for drawing classes and winter workshops.
I had the pleasure of visiting and viewing the interior of Shankhill Castle where my personal guide was Ms. Elizabeth Cope herself. One drawback, to protect the items on display and structure, is photography is not permitted inside the building. The tour and stories by Ms. Cope were fantastic.
Shankhill Castle is the ideal location for Halloween and it hosts the annual Scarefest. This is a festival I highly recommend; but be warned, it’s not one for the faint hearted. Please follow this link to make a reservation > https://shankillcastle.com/scarefest/
For me, as a visitor I found it terrifying even during the day; below you will find the photos of my visit to Shankhill Castle.