Kilkenny is a county of fertile farmland formed in a central plain surrounded by rolling uplands. The River Nore flows through this plain and out to the sea at the River Suir and on the banks of the Nore in the centre of the county is the town of Kilkenny.
The town of Kilkenny was founded by St Canice, who established a monastery here in the 6th Century. When the Normans arrived in the 12th Century, they established one of their main power bases at the stunning castle in Kilkenny, making it the medieval capital of Ireland. Kilkenny is a lively town, which hosts a number of international festivals giving rise to Kilkenny's contemporary nickname as the Festival Capital of Ireland.
Around the county are remnants of Kilkenny's prestigious past such as the 13th Century Kells Priory and Jerpoint Abbey, where it is said St Nicholas (Santa Claus) is buried. Dotted around are numerous rural towns and the world famous golf course at Mount Juliet can be found in the south of the county.
Kilkenny's inhabitants are known as the cats a nickname which also refers to Kilkenny's very successful hurling teams. Famous Kilkenny Cats include James Hoban, the architect of the White House in the U.S.