Located in Ireland’s Ancient East, the quaint city of Kilkenny is as charming as it is historic. From cosy pubs to medieval history, Kilkenny has something to offer every type of holidaymaker, whether your visiting for one day or one week! With so much on offer, we’ve put together a list of our top ten things to do in Kilkenny. Read on to find out…
Shop Irish at Kilkenny Design Centre
The Kilkenny Design Centre has been at the forefront of Irish design for over 50 years. It was originally established by the Irish Government to help develop new Irish craft makers into self-sufficient entrepreneurs. Today, the Kilkenny Design Centre sells bespoke Irish craftwork and has expanded with 14 stores around the country. Feeling peckish? Pop into the Centre’s food hall and restaurant, offering delish dishes and tasty treats made fresh with local produce.
Jump Back in Time at Kilkenny Castle
Found in the heart of Kilkenny City on the banks of the River Nore, Kilkenny Castle is often named one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland. Dating back to 1195, Kilkenny Castle is a focal point of the city. It has been restored and is fully furnished, allowing visitors to enjoy a guided tour and learn about the castle’s history or to simply stroll around the beautiful grounds for themselves – don’t forget your camera!
Delve into Irish History at Jerpoint Abbey
A visit to Jerpoint abbey is one of the best things to do in Kilkenny for history lovers! Dating back to the 12th Century, Jerpoint Abbey is one of the most intact Irish Cistercian monasteries. The Abbey is home to an important collection of sculpted tombs, including carvings of saints and apostles. The most remarkable part of the site is its reconstructed 15th century sculptured cloister arcade, depicting images of armoured knights, courteous damsels and other quirky sculptures.
Experience the Smithwick’s Brewery
What better place to learn about Ireland’s favourite ale than its birthplace, Kilkenny. First brewed in 1710, Smithwick’s has become synonymous with Irish culture. The Smithwick’s Experience, Kilkenny, offers visitors a unique insight into the brand’s history, the brewing process as well as a complimentary pint of your favourite Smithwick’s Ale, or soft drink for under 18s. Visiting in a group? The Smithwick’s Experience also offer private evening tours for groups, find out more information here.
Discover the beauty of Dunmore Cave
Dunmore Cave is one of the most popular things to do in Kilkenny, and for good reason! The cave is full of history and intrigue and has been attracting tourists for years, with its rich archaeological discoveries as well as being the site of a Viking massacre in 928. Consisting of a series of chambers and formed over millions of years, Dunmore Cave contains some of the best calcite formations found in any Irish cave. Enjoy a guided tour through the quarter of a mile of passages, deep underground – to 150ft below the surface at its deepest point!
Stretch Your Legs on the Medieval Mile
The Medieval Mile is a discovery trail running through the centre of Kilkenny city and links the 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral with Kilkenny castle and everything in between, including the Medieval Mile Museum, Rothe House & Garden, the Smithwick’s Experience and more. Want to see it all? For the best value but the Medieval Mile Pass to save money and beat the queues!
Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Jenkinstown Wood
Looking for things to do in Kilkenny with the kids? Located on the outskirts of Kilkenny City, Jenkinstown Wood is a great option! With walking trails, picnic sites and wildlife, including a heard of deer, foxes, badgers, squirrels and more, Jenkinstown Wood is the perfect place to stretch your legs and enjoy time outdoors with the kids!
Explore Kilkenny on a Walking Tour
One of the perks of Kilkenny’s quaint size is the ability to explore the city on foot! Enjoy a walking tour of Kilkenny City and explore the winding cobbled streets and under the city’s many medieval arches. Listen to the tales and legends told by your entertaining guide along the way, from kings and sieges to witch trials and murder!
Try a Whiskey Experience at the Ballykeefe Distillery
Calling all whiskey lovers! Uncover the history of Irish whiskey with a guided tour of Ballykeefe Distillery. On the tour, visitors will be brought through every part of the Ballykeefe operation from from the mill house to the brewhouse, to the famous copper potter stills and the on-site bottling plant. Finish off your experience and quench your thirst with samples of Ballykeefe products in the tasting room.
Explore Rothe House & Garden
Dating back to the 16th century, Rothe House is a merchant’s townhouse complex, made up of three houses, courtyards and a large garden and orchard, located in the city centre. The only one of its kind in Ireland, Rothe House houses a collection of artefacts relating to Kilkenny and Ireland and its stunning garden has been reconstructed to reflect that of a typical 17th-century one. Learn all about the history of Roth House and enjoy a self-guided tour of the houses, courtyards, and gardens.
Thank you for reading our blog ‘Top 10 Things to do in Kilkenny’. Dreaming of visiting this charming city? Take a day-tour to Kilkenny from Dublin with Wild Rover Tours to discover all this and more.