Famous for its emerald green hills, old castles, friendly people, and lively culture, Ireland itself is a popular travel destination. The country is peppered with numerous cities and villages, all offering impressive sights, such as Kilkenny. Located in eastern Ireland south of Dublin, Kilkenny is a great destination to explore during your visit to Ireland. In fact, Kilkenny offers so much to see and do that you may never want to leave.
Since Kilkenny is a small town, you can easily walk around at your own leisure and explore all the main attractions. If you get tired, hungry, or thirsty, there are plenty of cafes and pubs where you can relax, eat, and chat with the locals. However, if you are not physically able to do much walking or don’t like to walk, you can also take the City Tours Train, which will take you all over the town, stopping at major places of interest, and giving you a great overview of the town’s history and highlights.
You can’t go to Kilkenny and not see its glorious castle, Kilkenny Castle. You may see oodles of castles dotted throughout Ireland’s landscape, but you will see few as impressive as Kilkenny Castle. Portrayed in many magazines, books, and postcards, this 12th century structure was first built as a Norman fortress. Since then, the castle has played many important roles in the country’s history. You can take a guided tour of the castle complex where you can view elegant rooms, antique furniture, beautiful furnishings, and fine art works. After the tour, you can stroll around the well-manicured gardens and take photos of the castle.
Smithwick’s Brewery is another stop you definitely don’t want to miss. This brewery dates back to the 14th century, and you can still see the original building though it is in ruins. You can take a tour of the brewery to observe all the steps of beer-making, and then at the end of the tour, you will be rewarded with a free sample.
Other Historic Sites
Other points of interest that are well worth a visit include the Kilkenny Town Hall, St. John’s Priory, Jerpoint Abbey, Rothe House, and St. Canice’s Cathedral. All of these sites offer beautiful architecture, historical interest, and fantastic photo opportunities.
Festivals, Arts and Culture
Kilkenny boasts a lively arts and culture scene. You can admire fine art at the Butler Gallery and check out Viking artifacts at the Rothe House Museum. You may also want to catch a live performance at the Watergate Theater. If you enjoy attending cultural festivals, Kilkenny hosts several every summer such as the Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, and the Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on visiting Kilkenny’s pubs. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, you will enjoy popping into one of these lively establishments to experience the traditional Irish food, music and dance. One of the town’s popular pubs is Tynan’s Bridge House Bar, known for its old world charm furnishings, friendly locals, and fabulous food and music.
When to Go
Anytime is a good time to visit Kilkenny because the climate is usually mild all year-round, never too cold or too hot. However, summers are most ideal for you to see flowers and trees in bloom and to attend festivals and special events. Like the rest of Ireland, the town does experience frequent, soft rain showers, so make sure you pack an umbrella or raincoat.