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Alice Kyteler, The Runaway Witch
The infamous Dame Alice Kyteler, born in Kilkenny in 1263, was an attractive and highly sophisticated woman who is said to have been expert in the art of manipulating men to her will, bestowing her with jewels and money. This mistress of Kytelers Inn allegedly experimented in witchcraft, using some of her many maids as participants. Immersing herself in the art of demonology she became a central figure in a battle between the Church and the Temporal Power in Ireland during this time.
Dame Alice married four times and when her first three husbands succumbed to the same fate (an early, sudden, mysterious death!) the family of her fourth husband – who was already starting to mysteriously decline – launched a witchcraft and sorcery claim against her, saying she had forced him to amend his will to her benefit. Talk of an arrest and trial led this notorious dame to run away and disappear to neighbouring England, never to be heard of again!
When Ireland’s only witch trials took place in Kilkenny in 1324 (said to be Europe’s first witchcraft trials), Dame Alice Kyteler was accused of using poison and sorcery against her four husbands, and in her absence, one of her poor faithful maids was flogged and burned at the stake in her place.
Keep watch as you stroll about as it is said her spirit lives on in Kytelers Inn and on the streets of medieval Kilkenny City!