Historic
Kells



Image of Kells Priory

Kells, Kilkenny

The village of Kells is situated in the South East of Ireland in County Kilkenny. On the banks of the Kings River, it boasts an eclectic mix of history from medieval, to monastic, to milling. It was an important seat of power after the founding of the priory in 1193 and remained so for many years despite the priory being sacked and burned on a number of occasions.

Kells is mentioned in historical manuscripts as a large, thriving, market town. This led many historians to believe that the Burgess Court of Kells Priory (the large walled green area) was the site of the town as there are no other traces in the area. Recent discoveries made possible by aerial mapping/photography have shown this to be untrue.

We now know the location of this lost town and that it was much larger than Kells is today. Kells Priory would have been at the heart of medieval Kells and has remarkably survived up to this day substantially intact. It is one of the largest and most impressive monuments in Ireland yet on a given visit, you may have the entire priory all to yourself. The priory has been maintained by the OPW (Office of Public Works) and a large tower, the Prior's Vill, has in recent times seen a great deal of restoration.

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About Us

The purpose of Historic Kells is to promote the history and heritage of Kells. Excellent progress has been made in recent times to put Kells and it's rich history on the map. The beginning of tours at Kells Priory in 2016 is testament to that.

In time, we hope to build up this website into a useful online resource so that others might take an interest in the history of Kells and visit this beautiful place. We have received great help to date and would welcome anyone interested in getting involved.

If you feel you have information that could be shared on our website (photos new and old, drawings, articles, stories, artefacts, etc.) please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Our Progress to Date