Fusing medieval history with a cosmopolitan city life, Kilkenny buzzes with an unforgettable energy. From the walls of the marble city, to the network of towns and villages that are dotted around the verdant countryside, this ancient county at the centre of Ireland’s Ancient East packs maximum wow-factor into an easily navigable space.
Right in the thick of the action is Kilkenny city’s Norman castle, gifted to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 by the Butler family for only £50. The castle is surrounded by a network of maze-like alleyways and lanes, so it’s an exciting adventure to see where, and in which century, you’ll end up. You might find yourself in St Canice’s Cathedral, with its massive stained glass window, travelling through time at the restored 17th century Rothe House, or knocking about a sliotar while practicing hurling at Nowlan Park.
Beyond the city
Step out of the city, and the necklace of towns and villages along the River Nore waits to transport you to a fairytale landscape. Through Bennetsbridge, Thomastown, Inistioge and more, discover a landscape that harks back to ancient times and tales.
The countryside is suited to driving, cycling, or walking; take a tasty day trip with Kilkenny Foodie Tours or explore the county's cycling and walking trails – the Barrow Way from Goresbridge to St Mullins is a highlight. You can also take to the water with Go with the Flow for paddling trails on Kilkenny's waterways to suit all abilities.
Kilkenny always has something new to explore, another hidden gem that you just might have missed the first time around. Stumble across hidden galleries in the city, unearth Viking gold at Dunmore Cave, discover the lost town at Jerpoint Park or get up close and personal with the birds of prey at the Hawkeye School of Falconry based in gorgeous Lyrath Estate. In short, don’t just plan one trip to Kilkenny – plan a few!
More around Kilkenny
Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle. Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years.
Kilkenny Cycling Tours
Kilkenny Cycling Tours offers you the opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites, including Kilkenny Castle, The Design Centre, Shee Alms House, The Tholsel, The Butterslip, Rothe House, The Old Courthouse, Saint Francis Abbey, The Black Abbey and Saint Canice’s Cathedral.
Nicholas Mosse Pottery and Mill Café
Nicholas Mosse Pottery and Mill Café is a beautiful studio set in a former flour mill in the picturesque village of Bennettsbridge, County Kilkenny. Browse the range of intricately detailed pottery, linen and glass, and enjoy food and drinks in the upstairs café.