Maudlin Castle - Kilkenny's forgotten Leper Hospital

Today this lovely tower house (thought to date from c.1500) sits serenely among the terraced houses and bungalows of Maudlin Street in Kilkenny City. ‘Gardens’ – the townland in which the tower is located, was heavily defended as it consisted of farmland and barns that stored the agricultural produce for Kilkenny Castle on the other side of the river.

It is thought that the tower also formed part of a walled leper hospital that may have existed in Maudlin Street since the 12th century. The name Maudlin is derived from the Irish for Magdalen, the saint after which many leper hospitals were dedicated. They were dedicated to St Magdalen because of the association between her and sexual excess and prostitution, which were incorrectly associated with leprosy.

The four storey tower house is 25m high with a stone spiral staircase on its south side and a garderobe (toilet) still jutting out proudly on its north! An 18th century drawing depicts an arched gate adjoining the castle on its south side, a ‘scar’ from which can still be seen today.

Maudlin Castle east & north side with ground floor entrance gate & garderobe – Geni Murphy
Maudlin Castle interior through arrow slit – Geni Murphy
Maudlin castle - garderobe – Geni Murphy
Maudlin castle - view through ground floor entrance gate to recessed cupboard in the wall – Geni Murphy
Maudlin Castle Kilkenny

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