Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair(s)

Norm Jones


Norm Jones


Susan Cogan


Alexa Sand


After the English-led invasion of Ireland, between 1169 and 1172, the country was run by Anglo-Irish lords—English and Welsh men gifted with Irish land and titles for their service to the English King. Of these families, the Butlers were one of the three most powerful in the country. The 3rd and 4th Earls of Ormond, both named James Butler, each held the highest title in Ireland, Lord Lieutenant, multiple times as well as being successful military leaders. Add to this a large income from all the wine revenues of the country, and the Butlers were a force to be reckoned with.

This thesis examines the Butlers in their seat of power, Kilkenny, to determine the connection between the two. It is apparent, by examining not only their policies but their surroundings, that the Butlers and Kilkenny had a mutually beneficial relationship. The Butlers profited from the extensive land they owned, the feudal nature of Ireland, and the trade in the city, and similarly helped the town prosper by building defensive fortifications, strengthening and expanding the city, and running the government efficiently. The actions of the Butlers and the town of Kilkenny prove that the Butlers were caught between the cultures of both England and Gaelic Ireland, as was typical of most of the Anglo-Irish ruling class.



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