The city of Kilkennyis one of Ireland’s historic gems and lies in the heart of County Kilkenny in the southeast corner of the Republic of Ireland. A tourist favourite, the city brims with attractions, including a beautiful castle on the banks of the River Nore, a fine 13th century cathedral and a veritable maze of 17th century alleyways littered with interesting shops and ancient inns.
Sometimes known as the ‘marble city’ for the local dark marble that features in much of its architecture, Kilkenny is also well placed for some of Ireland’s finest countryside and attractions, from idyllic woodlands and pretty villages to medieval churches, walking trails and emerald green golf courses.
Sights in KilkennyMany regard Kilkennyas Ireland’s medieval capital, and for good reason. With its 6th century origins, the city centre is awash with history at almost every turn.
Many visitors follow what’s known as Kilkenny’s ‘Medieval Mile’, a tourist trail that loops around the city’s historic landmarks. When you set out on the trail, you’ll come to the sturdy 12th century Norman castle and its gardens, St Canice’s Cathedral — Ireland’s second biggest medieval cathedral — with its striking round tower, and also to Rothe House, a Tudor merchant’s house complete with a museum.
You’re spoiled for other entertainments, too. Art and culture lovers will want to visit the contemporary Irish crafts on show at the National Craft Gallery, while those eager to experience more history will love wandering around Kilkenny’s other churches, old inns, priory ruins and cobbled lanes.
Shopping in KilkennyKilkennyis one of Ireland’s best shopping destinations, with myriad independent shops and retailers tucked down the streets and lanes around the castle. A walk along the High Street reveals classy boutiques, gift shops, book emporiums and more, and you’ll find other enticing wares and stores crammed into the medieval alleyways. For big name shops, you should head for the Market Cross Shopping Centre, where you can browse everything from fashions to sports goods, homewares and beauty treats.
Food, Restaurants and Nightlife in KilkennyWith its vibrant atmosphere and eclectic restaurants and bars, Kilkennyis great for food lovers and night owls both. The medieval streets burst with stylish eateries, bistros and wine rooms serving retro and contemporary Irish food, as well as buzzing tearooms, cafes and cosy pubs ideal for quick refreshment stops or a sociable pint.
If it’s nightlife you’re after, you’ll find plenty of pubs and bars that host traditional Irish music, dancing and DJ nights, together with arts venues that stage live bands, stand-up comedy and other gigs.
Out and About in KilkennyKilkennyhas no shortage of outdoor activities in and out of town. You may want to stroll around Castle Park with its lovely gardens and ornamental lake, tee off at Kilkenny Golf Club or other courses near the city, or tackle the scenic walking trails through the local woodlands and countryside.
Other attractions include the subterranean stalactites and stalagmites of Dunmore Cave, fishing and walks on the Rivers Nore and Barrow, and atmospheric historic monuments such as Kells Priory and Jerpoint Abbey.