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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.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 130 Hotels in Kilkenny
£112
Lyrath Estate Hotel Spa & Convention Centre

Lyrath Estate Hotel Spa & Convention Centre

Paulstown Road, Kilkenny
4.5
of 5, from 44 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Kilkenny hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of The Hub, St John's Church, and Nowlan Park. Shee Alms House and Tholsel are also within 3 mi (5 km).

£68
Hotel Kilkenny

Hotel Kilkenny

College Road, Kilkenny
4.2
of 5, from 136 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Kilkenny hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Talbots Tower, Butler House, and St Mary's Cathedral. Tholsel and Shee Alms House are also within 15 minutes.

£43
Aspect Hotel Kilkenny

Aspect Hotel Kilkenny

Ring Road, Kilkenny
4.0
of 5, from 91 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Kilkenny hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Talbots Tower, National Craft Gallery, and Butler House. Shee Alms House and Kilkenny Castle are also within 2 mi (3 km).

£76
Pembroke Hotel

Pembroke Hotel

11 Patrick Street, Kilkenny
4.7
of 5, from 128 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Kilkenny City Centre, this spa hotel is steps from Butler House, National Craft Gallery, and Kilkenny Castle. Shee Alms House and Talbots Tower are also within 5 minutes.

£70
Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel

Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel

1 Ormonde Street, Kilkenny
4.3
of 5, from 17 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Kilkenny City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kilkenny Castle, St Mary's Cathedral, and Black Abbey. The Hub is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) away.

£48
Kilford Arms Hotel

Kilford Arms Hotel

John Street, Kilkenny
3.7
of 5, from 34 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Kilkenny City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St John's Church, Shee Alms House, and Tholsel. National Craft Gallery and Kilkenny Castle are also within 10 minutes.

£86
Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel

Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel

Ormonde Street, Kilkenny
4.1
of 5, from 53 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Kilkenny hotel is located in the historical district, within a 5-minute walk of Shee Alms House, National Craft Gallery, and Talbots Tower. Tholsel and Butler House are also within 5 minutes.

Kilkenny River Court Hotel

Kilkenny River Court Hotel

The Bridge John Street, Kilkenny
4.0
of 5, from 67 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Kilkenny City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Shee Alms House, Tholsel, and National Craft Gallery. Kilkenny Castle and St John's Church are also within 10 minutes.