Top Things To Do in Kilkenny
#1 - Be a King and visit Kilkenny Castle!
Go back in time to a 12th Century castle, remodelled and restored and set in 1830's splendour and extensive parklands: includes art gallery and playground. Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the 'High Town' of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. (www.kilkennycastle.ie / www.visitkilkenny.ie/kilkenny_castle)
#2 - Go underground and visit Dunmore Cave
10km from Kilkenny City on the Castlecomer Rd. It contains some of the finest calcite formations found in any Irish cave. Consisting of a series of chambers formed over millions of years, the cave contains some of the finest calcite formations found in any Irish cave. The cave has been known to man for many centuries and is first mentioned in the 9th century Irish Triads. Afterwards enjoy a stroll amongst the deer at Castlecomer Discovery Park, which has the Jarrow café, a fascinating coal-mining interpretative museum and a craft yard. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/dunmore_caves)
#3 - On your bike and go loopy! Do the South Kilkenny Cycle Loop Trail
Starting at the Trail Kilkenny Kiosk on the Parade in front of Kilkenny Castle in the city, the loop takes you gently through the historic towns of Bennettsbridge, Stoneyford and Kells. The total Distance is 41 km and time is 2 to 3 hours. Take all day and explore and stop off for great food. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/trail_kilkenny_present_south_kilkenny_cycle_loop or www.trailkilkenny.ie)
#4 - Forget the rain and be bowled over at KBowl in the McDonagh Shopping Centre in Kilkenny City
Try ten pin bowling, air hockey, or Ireland's only virtual mini golf in this fully weatherproof environment! This is where Bruce Springsteen chilled out and relaxed when he was in Kilkenny playing Nowlan Park last summer. If it's good enough for Bruce its good enough for you! (kbowlkk.ie)
#5 - Visit the beautiful Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum
Overlooking the River Nore Valley and the picturesque Co. Kilkenny village of Inistioge. The gardens date to the 1740's and feature a walled garden, rose garden, rockery, a recreated Turner Conservatory, and a collection of rare and exotic trees in the arboretum. There are also many tranquil woodland walks. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/woodstock or www.woodstock.ie)
#6 - Step back in time with a visit to magnificent Rothe House & Garden
A 17th century merchants house in the centre of Kilkenny. After touring the museum, one of the few private museums in Ireland, research your Kilkenny family history at the genealogy centre. And then take a walk in the glorious urban garden. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/rothe_house or www.rothehouse.com)
#7 - Step it out for a night of mighty fun, music, stories, songs, history and culture with the Kilkenny Traditional Irish Music Trail
Follow professional musicians as the tour winds through Kilkenny streets taking in a number of iconic traditional pubs. Your guide will treat you to an unrivalled music session at each venue, explaining about the origins or Irish music, instruments and influences. A mighty night’s craic beckons! (www.kilkennytradtrail.net or www.visitkilkenny.ie/music_kilkenny)
#8 - Go wild and visit Ireland's only Reptile Village Zoo in Gowran
This fascinating 6000 square foot indoor venue has over 150 animals and 50 different exotic species. Get up close and personal with animals that would normally only be seen on TV! (www.reptilevillage.net or www.visitkilkenny.ie/reptile_zoo)
#9 - Cook up a storm......with a cooking class at Eden Hall in Ballyragget
Food lovers can learn, taste, and enjoy food with demonstrations for all from the novice to the more experienced cook. Eden Hall is located in a traditional old Irish house in the heartland of County Kilkenny (www.cookingclasses.ie / www.visitkilkenny.ie/eden_hall_cooking_classes)
#10 - Make it a sweet Valentine and pop into Cafe Mocha
Pop into Cafe Mocha at 4 Gas House Lane (beside Campagne Restaurant and opposite MacDonagh Junction) and feel the love as you indulge in delicious homemade cakes and goodies! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/cafe_mocha / www.facebook.com/CafeMochaKilkenny)
#11 - Be crafty and go potty in Bennettsbridge Head to beautiful Bennettsbridge in Co. Kilkenny
On the banks of the magnificent River Nore for a craft feast. Call into Larry Kinsella and witness him crafting beautiful candles at Moth to a Flame. Enjoy a cuppa in the restaurant at Nicolas Mosse Pottery Factory before wandering around the pottery shop and observing how this internationally famous pottery is hand crafted. The drop into Philip Heiter, a local wood turner.
#12 - Turn over a new leaf and visit The Chapter Room and Chapter House Tea Rooms
Chapter House Tea Rooms at St. Marys Cathedral in the heart of medieval Kilkenny. Both are part of major restoration work at the Cathedral. The Tea Rooms are underground with stone walls and arch-shaped doors that lead to a patio outside - the perfect place to have lunch or coffee in stunning historical surroundings. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/chapter_house_tea_room / stmaryscathedral.ie)
#13 - On yer bike with Waterside Bike & Hire in Graiguenamanagh
Explore the River Barrow towpath from its base in this beautiful historical town and discover a real adventure for the whole family. The towpath is a flat, grass track following the river as it meanders south towards the sea. Safe and traffic free bike trails, (www.watersideguesthouse.com / www.visitkilkenny.ie/waterside_bike_and_hike)
#14 - Treat yourself to a well deserved break at The Orchard Salon & Day Spa in the 4 star Hotel Kilkenny
This is a haven of calm and tranquility and is only a leisurely stroll away from the beautiful Medieval City Centre of Kilkenny. You can combine the latest cutting edge beauty and anti ageing treatments with quality massage and holistic treatments, (www.hotelkilkenny.ie / www.visitkilkenny.ie/orchard_salon_and_day_spa_at_hotel_kilkenny)
#15 - Be inspired on a visit to the Butler Gallery
The Butler Gallery is located in the former kitchens of Kilkenny Castle and is open to the public seven days a week, all year round. The gallery offers a programme of contemporary exhibitions, an important permanent collection and innovation education initiatives that includes talks, events, courses and workshops. This year it celebrates 70 years of The Butler Collection, (www.butlergallery.com / www.visitkilkenny.ie/culture)
#16 - Take the bait and go fishing in Jerpoint Park on the River Nore
Situated downstream from magnificent Mount Juliet Estate and upstream from historic Thomastown you might hook wild salmon and brown trout (jerpointpark.com / www.visitkilkenny.ie/fish_river_nore_salmon_brown_trout)
#17 - Splash out and have great family fun at The Watershed in Kilkenny City
#18 - Find adventure at Castlecomer Discovery Park
Immerse yourself in Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny, which boasts 80 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes. Get the adrenalin pumping on the Tree Top Adventure Walk or Climbing Wall, or take the bait fly fishing on the lakes. Enjoy a trip through history and see the fascinating Coal Mining Exhibition, Visit the craft yard and then revive in the lovely Jarrow Cafe, (www.discoverypark.ie / www.visitkilkenny.ie/castlecomer_discovery_park)
#19 - Experience the magic and medieval wonder of Kyteler's Inn
An award winning, historic, bar, food and music venue in the heart of Kilkenny City.. Kyteler's Inn has an intriguing background dating back to 1324. Hear the story of Dame Alice who was accused of being a witch and poisoning four husbands!, (www.kytelersinn.com / www.visitkilkenny.ie/kytelers_inn_kieran_st)
#20 - Soak up history at the Nore View Folk and Heritage Museum
Check out this gem based outside the beautiful, scenic village of Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny, overlooking the stunning River Nore. The Museum houses over 10,000 items of Irish historical interest, some dating back to 2000 BC. They include a history of the Penal Times, the Great Famine, the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. See an old time kitchen, pub, carpenters workshop, forge, threshing set and dairy, as well as displays of old Irish transport and a petrol station, all of which reflect the lives of the ordinary people in Ireland long ago. There is also a fine display of musical instruments, a collection of church items, and a selection of old bicycles and prams. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/nore_view_museum/)
#21 - Fall under the spell of Kilfane Glen and Waterfall near Thomastown. Co.Kilkenny
A pristine example of a romantic era garden, this rugged but idyllic garden dates from the 1790s, and is a picturesque paradise. The gardens contain a 30 foot waterfall which tumbles to a rushing stream. Woodland paths lead to a cottage orné. Tiny bridges sit among ancient trees, and you can immerse in wild fox-gloves, ferns and other 18th century planting, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/kilfane / www.kilfane.com)
#22 - On yer bike with Kilkenny Cycling Tours!
Get your spoke in and experience medieval Kilkenny at an easy and enjoyable pace on two wheels. Kilkenny Cycling Tours offers you the opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites including Kilkenny Castle, The Kilkenny Design Centre, Shee Alms House, The Tholsel, St. Mary’s Church, Rothe House & Gardens, The Courthouse (Grace’s Castle), St. Francis’ Abbey, The Black Abbey and St. Canice’s . You can also have extended cycles out of the city, including a new tour to Dunmore Caves (with lunch option), (www.visitkilkenny.ie/cycling_tours / www.kilkennycyclingtours.com)
#23 - Find your way and orienteer in Kilkenny Castle Park!
Navigate to Kilkenny, grab a map and try out the new permanent orienteering course in the magnificent Kilkenny Castle Park. Have great fun as you undergo the challenge through the various trails in the park and on the Canal Walk. There are courses of different levels to choose from - a 5.3 km course with 25 controls; a 4 km course with 20 controls; a 2.6 km course with 18 controls; and an additional Short/track for those with reduced mobility, which is 1.7 km long and has 11 controls, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/kilkenny_castle / kilkennycastle.ie)
#24 - Travel back in time and visit the 13th Century Cistercian Duiske Abbey in the gorgeous riverside town of Graignamanagh
The churchyard is home to the Aghakiltawn and Ballyogen Crosses, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries. Enjoy the ambience by the River Barrow on the way to the Duiske Glass Kilkenny factory. And after that wander up to see Cushendale Wollen Mills.
#25 - Take afternoon tea in the exquisite Langton House Hotel Tea & Wine Rooms
You can get away from it all in the peaceful surrounds of the David Collins designed Tea & Wine Rooms at Langton House Hotel. These intimate Tea Rooms are the perfect place to relax with friends in a refined setting. The perfect pit stop after exploring the city! Pick from a vast selection of teas from around the world along with speciality coffees, cakes and great food, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/langtons_castle_kitchens / www.langtons.ie)
#26 - Steep yourself in history with a visit to Kells Priory, one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland
The Augustine priory is situated alongside King’s River beside the beautiful village of Kells, about 15 km south of Kilkenny City. A National Monument, one of the priory's most striking features is its collection of medieval tower houses giving it the appearance of a fortress and from which it gets its local nick name "Seven Castles”. Inside the walls are the remains of an Augustinian abbey and the foundations of some chapels and houses, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/kells_priory)
#27 - The Wetter the Better! Go wild on a whitewater rafting adventure with Go With The Flow.
If its thrills and spills you're after then sign up to a whitewater adventure with the Go With The Flow team. Get the adrenaline pumping as you shoot weirs and waterfalls and ride the rapids of the Rivers Barrow or Nore. You can also do family river safaris, historic trails, canoeing, kayaking and river surfing, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/gowiththeflow / www.gowiththeflow.ie)
#28 - Be top of the world and climb the Round Tower in St. Canice's Cathedral.
At 100 feet tall, and with 121 steps to the top, St. Canice's Cathedral Round Tower offers one of the most magnificent views of Kilkenny and the surrounding area. The climb is well worth it! The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. and is one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland. Round towers were built at major religious sites as places of refuge for body and treasure during the times of the Viking raids from the end of the 8th century. Visit the Cathedral afterwards, an important site of Christian worship since the 6th Century. It remains both a hallowed place, and one of significant historical interest and continues to be used as a place of prayer and pilgrimage, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/canices_cathederal / www.stcanicescathedral.com)
#29 - Go loopy in Freshford!
Step it out on the Freshford Loop walk, taking in native Irish forest, riverside trails and farm land. On a clear day you can see across to Gathabawn and the Castlecomer Hills from the forest below Carraghduff. This one-and-a-half hour trail starts from the Green in Freshford and brings you to Upper Court Manor built by Sir William Morris around 1790. It also takes you into Brown’s Wood. This is one of the Trail Kilkenny Walks, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/trail_kilkenny_freshford_loop / www.trailkilkenny.ie)
#30 - Be inspired on a visit to Kilkenny Design Centre in the creative heart of the medieval city, and see at first hand the best of Irish craft and design.
Based in what was once the stables of historic Kilkenny Castle, it is located adjacent to the National Craft Gallery, one of Ireland’s most exciting artistic venues. As well as showcasing stunning Irish and contemporary gifts and crafts, Kilkenny Design Centre also has an award winning restaurant which serves delicious homemade fare, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/kilkenny_design_centre / www.kilkennydesign.com)
#31 - Have a great family day out at Nore Valley Park Pet Farm & Activity Centre in Bennettsbridge.
Take time and stroll around the farm while the children play in an interactive and relaxing setting. They will be kept busy feeding lambs, goats, ducks, turkeys and cuddling rabbits. There is also a playground, sandpit with diggers, straw play area and giant chess. Relax with a cup of tea and home baked scone or biscuits, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/nore_valley_farm / www.norevalleypark.com)
#32 - Choo Choo! Take the Kilkenny City Road Train!
Hop on this special train and experience the medieval wonders of Kilkenny. All aboard at Kilkenny Castle, before depart on a 25 minute tour of the City. While on board hear about Kilkenny's fascinating history and see heritage sites from the comfort of your seat, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/historic_kilkenny_city_road_train / www.kilkennycitytours.ie)
#33 - Travel back in time and visit the "Cherryfield" Famine Graveyard in Baunta Commons, Callan, Co Kilkenny.
This is the final resting place of hundreds of victims of the Great Famine, many who died in Callan Workhouse 1841-1922. It is located in a remote one and a quarter acre site about one and a half miles south-east of Callan off the Clonmel Road in the townland of Baunta Commons. Because cherries grew there in times gone by it is still popularly known as Cherryfield. Between 1841 and 1851 a total of 1,411 people, 688 males and 723 females, died in Callan Workhouse, and 2,104, 1,050 males and 1,054 females died in the temporary fever sheds, a grand total of 3,515 people, (irishfaminememorials.com)
#34 - Fall through the captivating "Hole In The Wall" tavern-style cafe and music venue in the heart of medieval Kilkenny.
The Hole In The Wall is a special place based in the oldest surviving townhouse in Ireland, the 1582 Archer Inner House at 17 High St. This Elizabethan building has a tavern, snug and Archer room has been fully restored over the last 10 years. It is available for hire for private parties, functions, conferences and all occasions. The Archer room situated upstairs is the perfect venue for intimate music gigs and lavish banquets/small weddings. By day call in for a great coffee!, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/hole_in_the_wall_Kilkenny / www.holeinthewall.ie)
#35 - Afternoon Tea at Mount Juliet House
Tea is served! Treat yourself to Afternoon Tea in the luxurious surroundings of Mount Juliet Estate hotel in Thomastown. The Mount Juliet Afternoon Tea experience includes freshly prepared finger sandwiches, baked scones with Mount Juliet homemade preserve, and much more. Walk around the magnificent grounds afterwards and build up an appetite for a return stay! Mount Juliet Estate Lady Helen restaurant was awarded a prestigious Michelin Star this year, (www.mountjuliet.ie)
#36 - Be an All Star and score on The Kilkenny Way Hurling experience!
Experience the pride, passion and glory of hurling on a 2 hour journey on The Kilkenny Way in the true home of hurling champions. Get a unique insight into the worlds oldest (3000 yrs) and fastest field game. On your hurling adventure you learn skills such as Solo Runs, Lifting, Striking & The Long Puc. Finish up in Legend's Hurling Bar - Ireland's only Hurling Museum Bar - and enjoy a bowl of Irish Lamb Stew while relaxing and watching a game to see the skills you've learned in action on the field of play. You can also see the 5 stages of hurley making with a master craftsman, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/kilkenny_way_hurling / www.thekilkennyway.com)
#37 - Visit the 13th century Church of St. Mary in the beautiful heritage village of Gowran.
This collegiate church was on the site of an earlier monastery and was served by a "college" - clerics who lived in a community but who did not submit to the rule of a monastery. It consists of a nave with an aisle, a tower and battlements added in the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries. There are a number of carved effigies and tombstones preserved in the tower including one of James Butler, the first Earl of Ormond who was buried in Gowran church in 1382. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/stmarys_church)
#38 - The Vintage Tea Rooms, 4 The Arches, Gas House Lane, Kilkenny City.
The Vintage Tea Rooms are open Monday to Saturday 8.30am till 5.30pm serving breakfast, lunch, sweet treats and traditional afternoon tea. Fully air conditioned with wine license. This enchanting cafe has mouthwatering cakes, chocolates and pastries. The tea is served in china cups and the coffee is from coffee company Matthew Algie! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/the_vintage_tea_rooms)
#39 - Branch off on the stunning Brandon Hill loop walk!
This exhilarating walk is guaranteed to revive and rejuvenate. Starting in the beautiful riverside town of town Graiguenamanagh this 12km walk brings you along part of the South Leinster Way along forest tracks with magnificent scenery. The prize is the breath taking view from the top of Brandon Hill, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/trail_kilkenny_brandon_hill_loop / www.trailkilkenny.ie)
#40 - Get hooked on a visit to Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Thomastown, makers of Ireland's only caviar.
Do a farm tour, drop into the new visitor centre, or sign up to a fish smoking course. Mags and Ger Kirwan, owners of Goatsbridge, will be delighted to see you! (www.goatsbridge.ie)
#41 - Be on target and hit a bulls eye at Kilkenny Airsoft indoor shooting range at Wallslough Village.
This is the first fully automated airsoft indoor shooting range in Ireland and caters for experienced shooters and those who have never held a gun before. Special packages are on offer for families (all participants must be 13 or older) and groups. Try target shooting - or get involved in skirmishes, organized scenarios or historical re-enactments! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/kilkenny_airsoft / www.kilkennyairsoft.ie)
#42 - Be a culture vulture and visit the inspiring Butler Gallery located in the former kitchens of Kilkenny Castle.
The gallery is free of charge and open to the public seven days a week, all year round, offering visitors excellent contemporary exhibitions which reflect the constantly changing nature of visual art. There is also a significant permanent collection. Be inspired, stimulated and enthralled! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/culture / www.butlergallery.ie)
#43 - Steep yourself in the best of Irish design on a visit to The National Craft Gallery, one of the most exciting artistic venues in the country.
The National Craft Gallery is the Crafts Council of Ireland’s (CCoI) flagship exhibition space, housed in Castle Yard, the former stables of Kilkenny Castle. In 1965 these late 18th century buildings were converted to house Kilkenny Design Workshops and today are home to the CCoI headquarters. In 2000 architect Orna Hanley was commissioned to create a groundbreaking exhibition space and she transformed the rooms into an airy, light-filled gallery. The National Craft Gallery is an inspirational outlet where craftspeople can develop new and innovative designs. There is an exciting year-round exhibitions programme, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/culture / www.nationalcraftgallery.ie)
#44 - Step into Spring and do the stunning Jenkinstown Walled Garden Loop Walk.
Starting from the car park, head through the ‘door-in-the-wall’ and turn into the magnificent woodland. Follow the signposts on this breath taking walk which will bring you to St Colman’s Well. See the remains of the old house which is long gone. You will also see rare plants including Chinese Necklace Poplars. The facilities also include a picnic site, forest walks, deer park and a craft centre. There is a small garden to commemorate the Irish poet Thomas Moore – a friend of Byron and Shelley. Moore wrote the Last Rose of Summer while staying at Jenkinstown House! (www.discoverireland.ie / www.trailkilkenny.ie)
#45 - See the fascinating Coal Mining Exhibition at Castlecomer Discovery Park.
This comprises a 45 minute interactive tour through Castlecomer’s coal mining past. Starting with the formation of the coal 300 million years ago, it brings the visitor through more than 300 years of coal mining history to the closure of the mines in 1969, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/castlecomer_discovery_park / www.discoverypark.ie)
#46 - Get into high spirits and drop into Dylan's Whiskey Bar, John Street, Kilkenny.
The Dylan is an old victorian style bar that specialises in fine whiskies. The famous Whisky Library contains nearly 100 of the worlds finest whiskies and is continually growing. With comfortable leather seating, private snugs, an open turf fire and walls adorned with whiskey mirrors, old advertising and Bob Dylan memorabilia this bar provides a warm cosy atmosphere to chat with friends while enjoying a dram. If whiskey's not your thing, there is also a great selection of craft beers, wines and cocktails. (www.thedylanwhiskeybar.com)
#47 - Step back in time and stroll through the Butter Slip, a narrow medieval walkway connecting High Street and Kieran Street.
With its arched entry and 20 marble stone steps, Butter Slip was previously called Low Lane, and is the most picturesque of Kilkenny's many historic corridors. It dates to 1616 and ran underneath two houses owned by Nicholas Langton. It was originally flanked with the stalls of butter vendors, hence it's name.
#48 - Walk the line! Drive to the beautiful village of Goresbridge, park the car and walk along the Barrow line as far as Graiguenamangh. And back!
Pack a picnic to have along the way. Soak up the stunning scenery as you meander along the tow path and see swans, herons, ducks and other wildlife. You can go at your own pace!
#49 - Have a Hooley! Enjoy a night of fun and Craic at the Lanigan's Bar Hooley Night Monday to Thursday each week.
Get into the mood with candlelit seanchai storytelling. Then liven it up with Irish trad music and dancing with Cu Chulainn and World renowned Irish Dancer, Ger Hayes, from record breaking shows Lord of the Dance and Celtic Legends. Lanigans Bar is just 2 minutes walk from Kilkenny Castle and serves top class food. Put it on your Kilkenny itinerary! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/lanigans_rose_inn_street_kilkenny / www.lanigans.ie)
#50 - Be blown away on a visit to Jerpoint Glass Studio in Stoneyford.
Glass blowing is most exciting spectacle. At Jerpoint Glass see the skilled glassblowers perform their magic as they turn flowing red-hot molten glass into the beautiful Jerpoint shapes, right before your eyes! In the adjacent stone building the full Jerpoint collection is available in the studio shop and gallery. Nestled in the beautiful Kilkenny countryside, Jerpoint Glass is an ideal destination for an enjoyable afternoon, with nearby walking trails, artisan cafes and restaurants. Check out this video here! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/jerpoint_glass / www.jerpointglass.com)
#51 - Do the boardwalk!
Step it out on the stunning 1.6km re-developed Lacken Board Walk, a scenic riverside route from the heart of the city to the ring road. The walkway stretches along the Nore riverbank from Maudlin Street as far as the new Ossory Bridge, where it links up with the Nore Valley Walk. It features a ramped wooden boardwalk with fencing and handrails, as well as picnic tables and seating along the route. A perfect way to spend an afternoon when you are visiting the medieval city! (www.kilkennycoco.ie)
#52 - Kilkenny Walking Tours
This is a special experience that will take you through Kilkenny's Medieval Mile stopping at some of The city's iconic sites with guides bringing to life the history and stories of this unique city. Hear about the famous Butler family, the great Merchant Traders, the Mayor who had 25 children, and meet the witch Dame Alice Kyteler. The Walking Tour takes in historical sites including Shee Alms House, St. Mary's Monument, the Tholsel, the Butter Slip, Kytelers Inn (witches house), the Market Slip, Courthouse/City Jail, Rothe House, the Black Abbey, St. Canice's Cathedral, and St. Mary's Cathedral, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/tynans_walking_tours / www.kilkennywalkingtours.ie)
#53 - Step back in time to Bridie’s, a stunning take on an old world bar and general store.
Take a walk into the general store and purchase some excellent fine foods - or pick up old items such as snuff! Behind the traditional Irish shop front discover luscious cakes piled high, vintage-style confectionery stacked on the shelves and baskets of “bread baked by Bridie”. Then stroll through the saloon doors into the bar with beautifully tiled floors, superb wood panelled walls, pewter and marble counters attended by staff in crisp white aprons. The next gem in this wonderful place is the exotic walled garden with ample seating in Victorian styled bus shelters. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/bridies_bar / www.langtons.ie)
#54 - Travel back to the 1700's and visit the charming Cottage Museum at Ballilogue Clochan near the pretty village of Inistioge.
This beautifully restored cottage preserves a history and tradition of Irish rural life in the Kilkenny countryside. It contains alcoves and dressers used to store the food and crockery of daily life for a family of 8 or more people. The open hearth still remains with it's crane, cast iron pots and kettles. The Cottage still feels lived in with it's artifacts, delph and images of a community long gone, (www.ballilogueclochan.com)
#55 - Visit the splendid Black Abbey, a Dominican Church founded in 1225 by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke.
This magnificent Church has been restored to its original glory, with a spectacular stained glass "Rosary Window" created in 1892. It is the largest stained glass window in Ireland, and the colors and scenes depicted glow vividly in bright light. The Black Abbey (so-called because of the colour of the priests’ habits) was part of the Dominican Priory. In addition to the church, there were many other buildings where the priests and lay brothers lived and worked. Originally the Abbey lay outside the walls of the city, and was connected to the rest of Kilkenny by a gate, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/black_abbey / www.blackabbey.ie)
#56 - Take a walk on the wild side!
Stretch your legs this weekend with a stunning walk in Ballykeeffe Woods and Nature Reserve near Kilmanagh - and experience one of Ireland's most amazing natural amphitheatres. This walk is delightful and will bring you through the flora, fauna, the mass rock of this special place. See the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre, a unique outdoor auditorium located beneath Ballykeeffe Woods and used several times during the year for outdoor performances. The Amphitheatre was built in the remains of an old slate quarry, and the acoustics and setting provide for a great outdoor theatre and music performance, (www.ballykeffeamphitetheatre.com)
#57 - Tread the boards at The Watergate Theatre!
This is a very special year for the Watergate Theatre. Located in the heart of Kilkenny City it has been keeping audiences entertained since 1993 with local, national and international theatre productions, live music, dance, comedy and more besides. Check out this unique 328-seat capacity venue! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/culture // www.watergatetheatre.com)
#58 - Taste A Slice Of Heaven!
Give your taste buds a treat and call into A Slice of Heaven on High Street where Mary McEvoy sells her mouth watering pastries, cupcakes and celebration cakes. Marvel at Mary's sweet creations - true works of art! Nearly too good to eat. She shares her baking secrets on Saturday morning workshops too. (www.asliceofheaven.ie)
#59 - Step it out for a special family forest walk.
Pack a picnic and bring the family for a lovely weekend walk to Coill an Fhaltaigh, locally known as "Walls Wood" (dating back to the 1650s) off the Callan Road. This is a Millenium Forest covering 230 acres with a pond and wildlife sanctuary with lots of flora and fauna. There are three marked walks, all of which are suitable for all of the family, including pushchairs - and picnic tables adjacent to the car park. As it is an old woodland site Coill an Fhaltaigh retains remnants of oak, ash, birch, alder and hazel. The bird life of the wood includes large species such as pheasant, woodpigeon, woodcock (winter), sparrowhawk, hooded crow and long-eared owl. Smaller birds include goldcrest, coal tit, treecreeper, chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap, spotted flycatcher, chaffinch, redpoll, wren, dunnock, blackbird and robin, (www.millenniumforests.com)
#60 - Spin a yarn at Cushendale Woollen Mills in Graiguenamanagh!
For generations the Cushen family have produced high quality Irish-made textile products at its mill in Graiguenamanagh. They pride themselves on using natural fibre textiles made with mohair, Irish wool and merino lambswool to produce a broad range of stunning and colourful home furnishings, fashion accessories, knitting yarns and fabrics. Visitors to its mill shop can feast their eyes on the full range of products made in the adjoining mill, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/cushendale_woolen_mills // www.cushendale.ie)
#61 - On your bike and pedal the East Kilkenny Cycle route!
Get in the saddle for a scenic 64 km cycle through the historic and culturally rich towns of Gowran, Graiguenamanagh, Thomastown and Bennettsbridge. This route uses quiet rolling country roads and provides stunning views of Brandon Hill, the River Barrow and the River Nore. Along the way there is no shortage of cafés to help you revive, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/trail_kilkenny_present_east_kilkenny_cycle_loop // www.trailkilkenny.ie)
#62 - Hit the high notes and sign up for some mighty toe tapping fun!
Kilkenny's Traditional Irish Music Tour is not to be missed. This intimate and informal evening brings you on an unforgettable musical journey into the history and heart of traditional Irish Music. Join two traditional Irish musicians on a session tour of some of Kilkenny's legendary pubs. Learn about the history of Irish music and the origins of traditional instruments. Enjoy an unforgettable night of music and chat, songs and crack, tunes and laughter in the company of some of some of Ireland's finest musicians. This is part concert, part story theatre, part session, part music workshop, part raucous merriment AND ninety minutes of pure traditional entertainment gold! It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard before! Join in, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/trad_trail // www.kilkennytradtrail.net)
#63 - Enjoy retail therapy whilst immersing yourself in history at The MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre.
The centre is on the site the former Kilkenny Famine Workhouse, the fifth largest in Ireland. It housed a staggering 4,357 local men, women and children at the height of the famine in 1851 in the worst living conditions imaginable. The Workhouse buildings have been sensitively and beautifully restored and form an integral part of the retail element of MacDonagh Junction. In Workhouse Square you can see the old structure merged with modern award winning architecture.Visit the famine memorial garden at Goods Shed Square, and take time to read the Heritage display boards near Quigleys Café. The centre boasts great shops and leisure facilities. A must when you visit Kilkenny, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/macdonagh_junction // www.macdonaghjunction.com)
#64 - Experience the wonder of the Thomastown to Inistioge Trail.
This glorious 10 km stretch of the Nore Valley Walk takes you through diverse countrysidemand woodland rich in flora and fauna. At the start of the walk you will find the ruin of Grennan Castle built by Strongbow’s son-in-law in the 13th century. Then wander through the pretty Dysart Woods, carpeted in springtime with wood anemones, bluebells and primroses. You will pass the ruins of Dysart Castle, home to philosopher Bishop George Berkeley. The trail leads you by Ballyduff House, a Georgian country house in a stunning parkland setting and Brownsbarn Wood. You will finally be rewarded at the end of your walk with a view of the 10 arch bridge in picturesque Inistioge, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/trail_kilkenny_thomastown_to_inistioge // www.trailkilkenny.ie)
#65 - Did you know a Kilkenny architect designed the Whitehouse in Washington, D.C?
James Hoban from Cuffesgrange is the man and you can visit a special memorial honouring his life's work. Located at Desart in Cuffesgrange, close to his birthplace the memorial incorporates a 'Spirit of Place' erected by architecture students from the UDA. The famous architect attended the Dublin Society’s Drawing Schools for a number of years around 1780, and after practising briefly in Dublin, emigrated to Philadelphia. He later settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where he came to President George Washington’s attention. He lived and worked in Washington DC for almost forty years, a unique record in the first half-century of the new city’existence. Put it on your itinerary. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/hoban_memorial)
#66 - Visit the Callan, Co. Kilkenny, birthplace of Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian and Presentation Brothers.
Edmund Rice was born to Robert and Margaret Rice, prosperous tenant farmers, at Westcourt, Callan, on 1 June 1762. At the time the Penal Laws against Catholics were still in force in Ireland but Co. Kilkenny fared better than many places because of the tolerance of John Butler, the Protestant Duke of Ormonde who resided in Kilkenny Castle. As a result, enterprising Catholics, such as Robert Rice, were allowed to rent farmland from tolerant Protestant landlords at reasonable rates. So Edmund was fortunate in a land where the majority of Catholics were “hewers of wood and drawers of water”. His home place, a thatched house at "Westcourt", is over 300 years old and is. Is a heritage centre. The six roomed house consists of a kitchen, parlour, breakfast room and three bedrooms. Of particular interest is the bedroom in which Edmund Rice was born. Also on the site is the Edmund Rice Memorial Chapel and a large visitors’ centre, (www.edmundrice.net)
#67 - Tantalise your tastebuds with a splendid meal at Zuni!
Situated in the heart of the medieval city you are guaranteed a meal you will never forget under the guidance of the highly talented Executive chef Maria Raftery. Zuni use the best of fresh local ingredients, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/zuni // www.zuni.ie)
#68 - Bag a great deal! Buy a Kilkenny Tourist Discount Pass when you are visiting the marble city.
It offers a massive range of deals and discounts to dozens of Kilkenny tourist attractions, restaurants, bars and shops. It only costs 10 Euro and is valid for 14 days, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/tourism_deals_in_kilkenny // www.touristdealsireland.com)
#69 - Try it on at Rudolf Heltzel on Patrick Street!
Adorn yourself in cool sterling silver, or wrap yourself in stunning 18ct gold with sparkling gemstones! Rudolf Heltzel has lived and worked in Kilkenny since 1966 and at his studio platinum, gold, silver and precious stones are worked into magnificent, timeless and eminently wearable jewellery. His strong designs and impeccable workmanship have won him international acclaim. Rudolf believes that making jewellery is part of a living cultural heritage - and should express the individuality and aspirations of both the maker and the wearer. So if you are just day-dreaming, or have an idea in mind for that special purchase, you are very welcome to drop any time. p.s there is no obligation to buy! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/rudolf_heltzel_goldsmith // http://rudolfheltzel.com)
#70 - Have a great night out at Matt the Millers.
Beautifully situated overlooking the River Nore, Matt The Millers is a buzzing pub and music venue right in the heart of the city. It boasts four floors with a bar on each - and customers are spoilt for choice with great food, drink and music in a pub that has retained it’s medieval character. There is a late bar every Fri/Sat/Sun and Monday nights till 2.30am The Kilkennys play live every Tuesday and resident DJ is Eddie Hughes. Put it on your itinerary when you visit The Marble City! (www.visitkilkenny.ie/matt_the_millers // www.mattthemillers.com)
#71 - Get set for a night at the theatre!
Don't visit Kilkenny without checking out what's on in the visually stunning SET Theatre, part of renowned Langtons Hotel. This is a state of the art venue which can hold 252 people seated and 380 standing and seated. The SET hosts a wide variety of events - music acts, comedy, and film. Designed by the David Collins Studio in London this is one of the most beautiful and talked about venues in the country. For information on upcoming shows go to (www.visitkikenny.ie/culture // www.set.ie)
#72 - Visit the largest grotto in Europe!
Did you know that Kilkenny contains a very special hidden gem - the largest calvary grotto in Europe standing on top of the hill overlooking the scenic, undulating cemetery in the centre of Windgap Village. This amazing grotto covers 4 acres with detail of Italian mosaic featuring 3 languages and Ogham stones. Created in the 1920's it contains many walkways decorated with quartz and mosaics inlaid in front of several statues. The main sculpture is of Christ on the Cross, made of Portland Limestone. There is a statute of The Immaculate Conception, made from Sicilian marble and three other statutes made from Italian marble -including one of Christ the King and St Patrick. Take time to explore this special spot, (www.visitkilkenny.ie/windgap_grotto // http://www.windgap.ie)
#73 - Go potty at the Sevensisters!
Kilkenny is the home of the Irish design and craft industry. For a pure treat visit ceramic artist, Maeve Sookram, in her amazing Sevensisters studio at Main Street, Johnstown, Co, Kilkenny. Maeve makes the stunning range of unique, hand built stoneware ceramics using a wide variety of innovative decorative forms, finishes and variety of clays. The studio is open to the public everyday from 10 to 6pm. and there are regular ceramic classes and workshops. (www.visitkilkenny.ie/sevensisters_ceramics // www.sevensisters.com)
#74 - Get cheesed off in Stoneyford!
Visit champion cheesemaker Helen Finnegan, of the award winning Knockdrinna Cheese, just a few miles from Kilkenny in the beautiful village of Stoneyford. Browse the farm shop, revive in the café, or maybe sign up to a one-day cheese making course in which Helen imparts all her secrets to you! Knockdrinna makes the famous Knockdrinna Snow, a goats camembert that is firm when young, with citrus flavours as it matures. (www.knockdrinna.com)
#75 - Be a clever KAT!
Treat yourself to a great night and see the talented KATS Theatre Group in action when you visit Kilkenny. This is the longest running amateur dramatic group in the city, and over the years its members have entertained and regaled audiences with its plays and shows. This Thursday, Friday and Saturday KATS is staging Spoiler Alert with live extracts from classic films including Pulp Fiction and The Snapper in Cleere's Theatre. Dont miss it! Follow Kats on its Facebook page. (facebook.com/katstheatregroup)
#76 - Rev it up on one of 7 splendid touring routes!
Get into gear and select a Kilkenny touring route taking in the rich heritage,culture and beauty of the area. See the link below for details of all 7 routes. But one we love is The Gowran Tour which is approximately 74km long. This tour is predominantly around the scenic River Barrow and its valley with history and beauty combined to make this a spectacular drive. Touring highlights include Clara Castle; Shankhill Castle; Paulstown Ullard Church; Duiske Abbey in Graiguenamanagh and St. Mary's Church in Gowran. Stop off along the way and walk the Barrow Towpath or Brandon Hill. Or seek out adventure and canoe or kayak on the Barrow. There is Horse Racing and Golf in Gowran Park.
#77 - Tantalise your taste buds!
Kilkenny is food heaven - and with good reason. The city and county boats some of the country's top artisan food producers supplying everything from farmhouse cheeses, fruit, vegetables, honey, organic meat, preserves, home-baked breads and cakes, fruit juice, salads and much more. You can sample this delicious food yourself every Thursday from 9.30 a.m - 2.30 p.m at the weekly Kilkenny Farmers Market on the Parade in front of historic Kilkenny Castle. Meet the local producers, have coffee, or stock up for a lunch picnic in the castle park. But most of all enjoy the buzz!
#78 - Melt with a treat from Cramers Grove Ice Cream!
This is the perfect weather to indulge with some tasty ice cream from Cramers Grove farm which has been producing high quality dairy produce for generations. Cramers Grove Farmhouse ice creams, sorbets and frozen yogurts are handmade with uncompromising care on a family farm in Kilkenny. Only the freshest milk and cream from dairy cows are mixed daily in small batches and are then combined with the finest natural ingredients to create a luxury ice cream for you to enjoy. All of the delicious produce are made in the traditional way using only fresh and natural ingredients with no artificial additives, flavourings, colourings or preservatives. (www.cramersgrove.com)
#79 - Whet your appetite at The Loft at Cillin Hill!
Langton's Loft café, bar and restaurant at Cillín Hill is the place to go to revive and refresh! It boasts a distinctly warm feel with cake stands laden with delicious moist carrot cake, ever popular chocolate biscuit cake and jars of cookies. Enjoy all day dining and relaxed table service seven days a week with light bites including Lavistown Cheese & Onion Tartlet, Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad, Antipasti Platters and Wraps and delicious Pulled Pork Sliders. (www.langtons.ie)
#80 - Smithwick's Experience
Located in the old Victorian brewing building on Parliament Street in Kilkenny City, this multi-sensory and interactive experience will take visitors on a journey through the medieval origins of brewing on the site of the St. Francis Abbey Brewery to the arrival of John Smithwick in the 1700’s, and right up to the present day. Visitors will be fully immersed in the history of Smithwick’s, Ireland’s oldest beer brand, the amazing heritage of the Smithwick’s family and its place in Kilkenny, a city steeped in history and brewing tradition.
“Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny has been modeled on the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s number one international visitor attraction. It is an engaging experience that will provide an interactive way of understanding the amazing history of an iconic brand and its brewing credentials. Kilkenny and the surrounding area is already a wonderful, culturally rich tourist destination and we believe that the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will further add to this,” commented Mark McGovern, Manager, Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny (www.smithwicksexperience.com)