Kilkenny City

Kilkenny City, Co. Kilkenny

Undoubtedly Ireland’s finest medieval city, Kilkenny City and its Castle sit astride a broad sweep of the River Nore. Kilkenny also comes with the reputation of being one of the rare Irish cities completely navigable by foot. The rewards of your walk will lead you along narrow, cheerful medieval era streetscapes, all the way to an imposing round tower that stands alongside the cathedral. For Kilkenny’s roots go back to a monastic settlement established here in the 6th century. However Kilkenny’s heart is firmly in the middle ages when the arrival of the Anglo-Normans. Following the Norman conquest in 1170, Kilkenny became the seat of the Butlers, Earls of Ormonde, the most powerful family in Ireland, under whose protection a number of Anglo-Norman families prospered. In the mid-17th century, Kilkenny virtually became the capital of Ireland, with the founding of a parliament in 1641 known as the Confederation of Kilkenny. This attempt to reunite resistance to the English persecution of Catholics was powerful for a while, though its effectiveness had greatly diminished by the time Cromwell arrived.
The layout of the city has changed little since Tudor times, although Georgian constructions included Kilkenny College (1780), which produced Jonathan Swift, George Berkeley and William Congreve, among others. Nowadays the old-fashioned pubs, cobbled streets, ancient castle and brewery make a visit to Kilkenny a must whether to make base whilst traveling the south-east or just to get away from Dublin for a while.

At a Glance

  • Wonderful Medieval City
  • Home of Smithwicks (Kilkenny) Ale
  • Kilkenny Castle
  • Great Pubs!

Our Take

Kilkenny outshines even Galway with its medieval Castle and streetscapes. Kilkenny is charming personified and not at all large so you can visit the Castle, the Cathedral and if you're lucky the Brewery in the same day. And the marble city's pubs are just divine!

Avoca Handweavers - Wicklow

The oldest working woolen mill in Ireland located in beautiful surroundings of Avoca, which is also known today as Ballykissangel

The Barrow Way

The Barrow Way is 113km (70 miles) in length, although you don't have to do it all in a single day! By breaking the journey into several manageable strolls (or even at at different times) you can enjoy one of Europe's most beautiful walks beside the "Goodly Barrow".

The River Barrow

The Barrow is the second longest river in Ireland. It is navigable for 69 kilometres (43 miles) between Athy and St Mullins, and this stretch is known as the Barrow Navigation. Unlike the Shannon however, the Barrow remains largely unchanged. Used for millenia for transport, it was made navigable for larger boats in the late 1700s and served as a working waterway until recent times.

Josef Finke

Josef Finke is the pioneer of organic farming in Ireland and also runs Ballybrado, one of the first commercially run organic farms in Ireland.

The Craft Trail

Using Kilkenny City as your base and a car as a mode of transport, you can now visit in a loop pattern some of Ireland's top craftspeople and their studios dotted along the Kilkenny Craft Trail.

Rothe House

A rare example of a Tudor Town House in Ireland, Rothe House located on Parliament Street in Kilkenny City Centre now houses the Kilkenny Archaeological Society- and a fine bookshop!

Kyteler's Inn

Unlike in Britain and the U.S, there is only one recorded case of witchcraft in Ireland and not unusually this dates back to the middle ages, when the influence of neighbouring Britain upon Irish affairs was only beginning.

The Butter Slip

Kilkenny is a true medieval city and this is reflected in its narrow streetscapes unchanged over all these years. A great example of these is the cute, inviting narrow lane called the Butter Slip.

St. Francis Abbey Brewery

Familiar with Kilkenny Ale Beer or perhaps the more traditional Smithwicks Ale? Then perhaps you would like to see where the history of brewing in Kilkenny actually began, the brewery at St. Francis Abbey.

Kilkenny Farmer's Market

If you are visiting Kilkenny on a Thursday (as chance might have it!) then you will be sure to see the Farmer's Market near the imposing Castle and see for yourself what sush lush and verdant landscape can bring to the kitchen table.

St. Canice's Cathedral

Kilkenny, or the church of Canice, is named after the Early Christian saint who established his monastery in the area. Thesedays it refers more to the Early Gothic Cathedral with its round tower from whence you can view the extent of the Kilkenny city boundaries.

Irish Seed Savers

“Nine bean rows will I have there and a hive for the honey bee”- From the Lake Isle of Inishfree by W.B.Yeats

Nicholas Mosse Pottery Workshop

The highlight of the Kilkenny Craft Trail must surely be a visit to the studios and shop/restaurant of Nicholas Mosse who specialises in "Irish Spongeware"- where sponges are used to apply natural dyes depicting objects from the natural world- some great seasonal ranges.

Jerpoint Abbey

A 12th Century Cistercian monastic ruins. Visitor and exhibition centre. The Church of the Assumption - holds the old High Altar of the great Cistercian Abbey of Jerpoint. Grennan Mill -18th Century Island Mill which now houses a craft school.

National Craft Gallery

The National Craft Gallery was set up by the Crafts Council of Ireland in December 2000, and runs a dynamic international and national exhibitions programme.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is one of the best preserved examples of an Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland. Entrance is by guided tour only but the tale of the Butlers, once the actual butlers responsible for supplying goods to the English monarchy is truly fascinating.

The Black Abbey

The Black Abbey, so called due to the colour of the vestments worn by the monks of the Dominican Order, is truly a liminal place. Take your time to soak in the history and the faith of the men of cloth.

Kilkenny City

Undoubtedly Ireland’s finest medieval city, Kilkenny City and its Castle sit astride a broad sweep of the River Nore. Kilkenny also comes with the reputation of being one of the rare Irish cities completely navigable by foot.

Glendalough - Wicklow

Glendalough, or the Glen of two Lakes, is one of the most important sites of monastic ruins in Ireland.It is also known as the city of the seven Churches. Fourteen centuries have passed since the death of its founder, St. Kevin, when the valley was part of Ireland's Golden Age.

Powerscourt House - Wicklow

Powerscourt is one of Europe’s great treasures and Ireland’s most famous House & Gardens. Gracing the Wicklow mountains, 20km from Dublin city centre, Powerscourt is a heritage property with a surprising difference.