[St John’s Bridge, Kilkenny, Cathedral and Needle Tower]

Artist(s) : Luttrell Wynne (Draughtsman)

Finely drawn view of St John’s Bridge looking northwards up the River Nore. Substantial houses are shown on either side of the triple-arched bridge, with the Round Tower and St Canice’s Cathedral further back to the left. Green wash is used for the trees and vegetation along the riverbanks.

Image Details

Genre Townscape
Technique Wash drawings
Subject(s) Cities and towns
Geographical Location
  • Kilkenny - Town or city
  • Kilkenny - County
  • Leinster - Province
  • St John's Bridge - Named locality
Keywords(s) Bridges, Churches, Houses, Rivers, Round towers, Towers, Trees
Colour Coloured
Dimensions 31.5 cm x 21.5 cm
Published / created 1774

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Journal and sketchbook, Ireland (1774)
Print or manuscript Manuscript
Location of image in copy PD/435 [image 7]
Source copy Formerly in Cornwall Record Office. PD/470-473, PD/435
Rights Now in private collection. No reproduction authorized.

Related text from travel account

Friday the 27th we set out for Kilkenny […]
Half way between this place [Ballyragget] & Kilkenny we passed over a bridge on the River Dinar, the ford being render’d impassable by the late rains.
We did not arrive at Kilkenny till late at night. Its situation struck me very much in the morning. It stands on the River Nore which is broad and of some depth over which there are two handsome bridges. Johns bridge in particular is an elegant structure. The banks are finely diversified with groves of trees rising grounds &c. In the finest spot of all, stands the Castle belonging to Mr Butler the heir of the Ormond family: which from most of the appartments commands a noble view of the windings of the river a pleasant well cultivated country & the various remains of abbeys, castles &c. that are in the town & neighbourhood. In one of the roomes are two good pictures. The family of Ch[arles] I by Vandyke & a good copy of Corregio. The tapestry is fine. This gentleman tho’ in possession of a noble fortune is exceedingly tied down with respect to the use of it. He cannot cut a tree without the permission of his agent (Mr Herbert) & what is remarkable this power over the Butler estate descends to Mr Herberts posterity. The city is large & not ill built but very dirty. The Cathedral is a good old building & very well ornamented in the inside this was done chiefly at the expence & under the direction of B[isho]p Pocook. See is upper Ossory - Aghaboe was originally the B[isho]p’s residence. The city is divided into the English & Irish town the Cathedral is in the latter.
Near the church is a tall round tower like that at Kildare. There are considerable remains of three abbeys - that of St Francis, St John, & the Black abbey.
From here we had an exceeding pleasant road through a fine country - for many miles upon a sort of natural terrace commanding a charming prospect of the winding of the Nore and the noble groves of Dunmore park which are likely to remain in their full beauty, from the very limited power which the Butler family have over this part of their property.
We passed through a small village calld Freshford & by a great number of old castles* and some ruins of churches of Abbeys. We could not help being struck at the superstition of an old woman who was upon her knees doing pennance near a well by the road side.
*The number of these amounts to 50 in a whole morning’s ride a strong mark how well this country was inhabited formerly. But it is no small satisfaction to see these ancient bulwarks once so necessary for security, give way to handsome modern homes now everywhere erecting in their stead. Some of those are square & some round. Most of them are single Towers. [Unpaginated]
St John’s Bridge, Kilkenny, Cathedral and Needle Tower