Kilkenny is a decorative, Victorian-style font based on the metal type named Nymphic that was designed by Hermann Ihlenberg. Ihlenburg was born in Germany in 1843 where he studied art and worked for several German type foundries. He moved to the USA in 1866 and worked for the L. Johnson & Co. foundry, later MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan. American Type Founders acquired this typeface when they took over the MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan foundry and Nymphic appears in the ATF catalog of 1896.
For this digital version, the character set has been expanded to include accented characters, punctuation, and currency symbols—and most everything you would expect to find in a digital font.
The original metal font consisted of swash caps, upper case characters, and a “morticed” lower case, which was raised off the baseline. This mortcied form was designed to nestle inside the ornate swash caps as well as to work with the upper case. The five digital versions contained in this set are basically different configurations of these different alphabet sets, they differ as follows: Kilkenny—the original upper case version with a modified lower case that has been enlarged, shifted to align along the baseline, and given taller ascenders to give it a more “regular” appearance. Kilkenny Eureka—true to the original design with the “morticed” or superior lowercase forms. Kilkenny Swash—original swash caps with the modified lower case. Kilkenny Swash Caps—original swash caps with the original caps as the lower case. Kilkenny Swash Eureka—swash caps that have been adjusted to match the weight of the original lower case forms.
The OpenType version contains all of the above, plus additional Central European and Cyrillic characters for a total of almost 1000 glyphs.