This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the interaction between solitary waves and vertical circular cylinders. This is achieved via process based numerical modelling using the parallel Particle-In-Cell based incompressible flow solver PICIN. The numerical model solves the Navier-Stokes equations for free-surface flows and incorporates a Cartesian cut cell method for fluid-structure interaction. Solitary waves are generated using a piston-type wave paddle. The PICIN model is first validated using a test case that involves solitary wave scattering by a single vertical cylinder. Comparisons between the present results and experimental data show good agreement for the free surface elevations around the cylinder and the horizontal wave force on the cylinder. The model is then employed to investigate solitary wave interaction with a group of eleven vertical cylinders. The wave run-up and wave forces on the cylinders are discussed.