Family-run walking tours of historic Kilkenny
Spare a thought for the one person in the country cursing the recent heat wave. It’s the bloke spotted around Kilkenny city dressed as its 16th century Sovereign, or Lord Mayor.
“The costume is pretty heavy and he’s been sweltering under his chain mail,” sympathised Pat Tynan, the inspiration behind Medieval Kilkenny – Stories Through Time, his new theatrical tour of the city.
Tynan set up his business, Kilkenny Walking Tours, in 1983, aged just 19. The new tour is a fitting way to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
Written by John Morton of Barnstorm Theatre, it features local actors playing parts such as the Sovereign which not only involves great acting but is a very effective form of outdoor advertising too.
“He’s certainly been getting a lot of attention striding around the town with his sword,” said Tynan.
Other characters include John Rothe, erstwhile owner of Rothe House, the city’s restored medieval house and garden. Bishop Richard de Ledrede of Ossory, the man who led the witchcraft charges against Alice Kyteler, also features. The tour finishes up at Kyteler’s Inn, where the lady gets to give her version of events.
The whole thing takes around 70 minutes, starting at the Hole in the Wall, one of Kilkenny’s most famous watering holes, and including St Mary’s Church, the Butter Slip, Tholsel, the city walls, the Black Abbey and St Canice’s cathedral, as well as other sites of historical significance.
There’s additional significance for Tynan. This year his son, Patrick, who is 19, has begun guiding some of the firm’s walking tours himself. It’s history repeating itself.