Shankill Castle, Paulstown

4.5
Castle · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Shankill Castle and Gardens is set in parkland near Paulstown on the Carlow/Kilkenny border. Visitors are invited to walk in the grounds and gardens, and there are guided tours of the house.

Shankill Castle started as a Bulter tower-house near the ruins of an old church. Peter Aylward bought the lands from his wife's family, the Butlers, in 1708, and it was rebuilt and set in a formal landscape with a vista to the front and canal to the rear. 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. Other additions were a gothic porch bearing the Aylward crest and a conservatory. The stable-yard and the castellated entrance to the demesne are attributed to Daniel Robertson. The interior preserves much of its 18th-century character and features including a Georgian staircase, Gothic plasterwork and a Victorian drawing room.

A branch of the Butler family, the Toler-Aylwards resided at Shankill until 1991 and some still live in the area of Kilkenny. Shankill is now home to the artist Elizabeth Cope and her husband Geoffrey. The have three children Phoebe Cope McCosh, Reuben Cope and Sybil Cope. Shankill Castle hosts a residency programme for artists and creative professionals through ResArtis.
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Shankill Castle reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
28 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Relaxed and easy going cafe, called in on Sunday afternoon for tea and cake with our 10month old. Staff were helpful and friendly, nice set up, high chair available too, socially distanced well with.....  more »
  • The coffee shop is Shabby Chic with a simple but extremely tasty menu. It really is a lovely lunch option.  more »
Google
  • Amazing location, tastefully refurbished where necessary. We got a friendly welcome and were treated like long lost cousins. Elizabeth is an amazing woman with a wealth knowledge and fabulous personality. The treats at the cafe were a perfect taste to follow the beautiful walk around the property after a truly historic and eccentric tour of a big small irish house. If you are in the area, you must not skip this stop.
  • Overall we really enjoyed our visit here. The particulars follow The Cafe was simply done, vegetarian and very good. We liked it. Light, healthy food and nice staff. The grounds were attractive and pleasant. We enjoyed the walk around. The exterior of the house was architecturally appealing with an assortment of differing features, apparently with the base of a tower house imbedded in the structure. The inside was seen by a tour from the owner who was knowledgeable and informative. Basically we liked the house. However, what is the source of our low score in stars is what is inside the house. Most rooms were ‘graced’ by nude paintings. That in itself was not too big of an issue. What IS an issue with us at least is that two or three of them were extreme and over the top. Downright offensive and I will not describe them. We brought two 11 year old girls with us and they are still talking about them and thought them upsetting. I had many questions to answer when we got home. Some I cannot answer such as ‘why?’ Because of these items, we say the house is NOT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN. With the paintings removed, we would have added 2 more stars and would give it a child friendly rating.
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