Kings River historykingart
Kings Mill restaurant lies beside an ancient, picturesque river. Kings river was always important for local people and holds great history. Learn more about its past and origin of its name.
We are proud to be based in the picturesque spot just on the riverbank of ancient Kings River. Let’s look at this rivers’ history and function in the past.
County Kilkenny is well known for scenic rivers. Most known and longest are the so-called “three sisters” – rivers Barrow, Nore and Sui. For ages these were famous as sources of freshwater pearl mussel and salmon. The latter was exported to Dublin and highly regarded there.
Kings River, as a tributary to river Nore is still popular among fishermen, who want to catch salmon or rainbow trout.
Ages ago the river had a different name, it was called “Callan”. It was up until the IX century, when Kells was a part of the powerful, independent kingdom of Ossory (Osraige). Back then the most powerful ruler on the Island – Niall Caille, High King of Ireland led an army to conquer Ossary. He and his men marched along the river. When they saw the town of Kells on the other side, they decided to cross it using its most ancient ford. King entered the river on horseback and unfortunately due to strong river currents he fell into the water and drowned.
After this event the river was renamed to Kings River and nearby church, on which grounds king was buried became known as Church of the King (Kilree, Cill Righ in irish).
A mill on the river was built around the XII century in the same spot as our restaurant stands nowadays. People harnessed power of the water for centuries here, in Ireland. It brought wealth and abundance of food to the region. Number of mills was steadily growing over the decades and centuries. During the time of the industrial revolution there were 72 mills in the County. Tens of boats and barges transported flour and other goods along the rivers to sea and then further to Dublin and England.
Contemporary writers, interested in geography like Samuel Lewis noted that this rise of industry had a negative influence on the natural environment. Number of salmon and other fish in the rivers has plummeted in the XIX century.
Luckily nowadays rivers are not any more needed for transportation. Instead these can be enjoyed by tourists and local fishermen.
We invite you to walk along the old paths along the Kings River, where old King led his army or sit outside our restaurant and enjoy the view at the river and nearby old stone bridge.