KILKENNY, an inland co. of the province of Leinster, in Ireland, bounded on the s. by Waterford, is 46 m. in its greatest length from n. to. s. and 24 in its greatest width from e. to west. Its area is 796 sq.m., or 509,732 acres, of which 405,321 are arable. The population has been steadily decreasing since 1841, when it was 189,312. In 1851 it.was 188,775; in 1861 it had fallen to 110,341, and in 1871 (including the popu lation of the city) to 109,379; of whom 103,324 were Roman Catholics, and 5,566 Episco palians. The surface of the county is very varied, the southern portion being especially elevated, the hills rising to a height of 1696 ft. in the summit of Mt. Brandon. In the western district are situated:the Walsh mountains. The principal rivers are the Nore, which traverses the whole length from n. to s.e., and falls into the Barrow; the Barrow, and Suir, which form the eastern and southern boundary. The surface of Kilkenny, except the mountains in the s., is mainly of the limestone formation, overlaid in the n. districts by shale and sandstone. In the hilly districts is an extensive deposit of anthracite coal, but of inferior quality. In the neighborhood of the city of Kilkenny a valuable black marble, interspersed with fossil shells, is quarried, of which a consider able manufacture of chimney-pieces and similar objects is carried on. Marl is generally
found throughout the county. The soil is generally fit for tillage. In 1876 the number of acres under crop was 175,710. The live-stock in 1876 was—horses, 17,802; cattle, 117,753; sheep, 113,729; pigs, 54,373. The capital is the city of Kilkenny (q.v.). The towns of secondary importance are Callan, Thomastown, Freshford, Urlingford, and Castlecomer, which is the center of the coal-district. Kilkenny has two county mem bers, and the city a third. Kilkenny having been, from an early period after the inva sion, the seat of the great Anglo-Norman families of Fitzgerald. Butler, Grace, Purcell, and others, has been the scene of much of the conflict of the English and Irish races, and is still thickly studded with remains of the military strongholds of the English settlers. The ecclesiastical remains are no less numerous; and it possesses five round towers and a considerable number of raths or tumuli, cairns, stone-circles, and pillars. The most remarkable natural curiosity is the cave of Dunmore, between Castlecomer •and Kilkenny, opening by a natural arch of 50 ft. in height, and containing several chambers incrusted With stalactites. , It is traversed by a subterranean stream.