County Kilkenny Holiday Guide

With around 100,000 inhabitants, at least a quarter of whom reside in the city of Kilkenny and its surrounds, County Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s more intimate counties. However, there is nevertheless an abundance of countryside and cultural activities to keep you entertained here.

Enjoy one of Kilkenny’s many breathtaking historic gardens and ancient castles. You could also make the most of some contemporary culture at one of the county’s many annual festivals. Lower lying than much of Ireland, Kilkenny is also ideal for exploring the Emerald Isle without having to conquer staggering peaks.

Head Out Hiking in County Kilkenny

Flat enough for easy climbing but still hilly enough to offer interesting landscapes, why not head out on the leafy Brandon Hill Loop? This hike to County Kilkenny’s highest peak starts and ends in the twee town of Graiguenamanagh. The route heads along woodland paths and moderate hills to the peak of Brandon Hill and back again. About seven miles long, and roughly five hours of hiking, the Brandon Hill Loop nevertheless presents a good challenge.

Rothe House in Kilkenny Town

Pay a visit to the bustling and historic city of Kilkenny. Here you can see Kilkenny Castle or enjoy a trip to the impressive Rothe House and Gardens. This is Ireland’s only 17th century merchant townhouse. Built during the reign of Elizabeth I, Rothe House oozes with ancient character and homes a museum with over 2,500 fascinating historical items. The garden, a 17th century replica, is a lovely place to rest awhile.

Gardens in Kilkenny

County Kilkenny is abundant with gardens besides those at Rothe House. There are breathtaking gardens on offer in Jenkinstown, Goresbridge and Paulstown – plus many more. Perhaps the best garden here, however, is Kilfane Glen in Thomastown. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this 18th century gem. Packed with wildflowers, tranquil resting spots, and with its own waterfall and stream, a visit to Kilfane Glen is like stepping into a fantasy land.

Festivals in County Kilkenny

Packed with craft food, tours, exhibitions and workshops, Kilkenny Medieval Week is a great way to learn about the county’s heritage. However, Kilkenny Arts Festival is probably the most well-known event here. Running since 1974, the festival is a hub of musical delights. Gardens, churches, country houses and other venues become the stage for a range of classical and traditional music performances. You’ll even find Shakespeare open-air theatre, so this is definitely one to add to the itinerary.

Dunmore Cave in County Kilkenny

Head underground into Kilkenny’s prehistoric past with a visit to Dunmore Cave in Ballyfoyle, where you can explore limestone chambers, formed over millions of years. These eerie caves were even the site of a Viking battle, so the history here is bloody as well as beautiful. The tour is extremely affordable and your guide will really bring the caves to life.

Enjoy County Kilkenny

Explore the best of Ireland with a trip to County Kilkenny. Search online and book your visit today with Expedia.

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