Set amid rolling hills that encompass every shade of green imaginable, Kilkenny is many people’s dream of what Ireland should be. Whether you’re into the charms of pastoral landscapes, the thrill of historical discovery, or the excitement of vibrant nightlife, you’ll find something in Kilkenny that suits.
Explore the City
Kilkenny is a compact medieval town that can be traversed on foot in a couple of hours, but absorbing the many attractions will take considerably longer. Steeped in history, the streets have a grace and energy that makes them timeless. Some 60 licensed pubs and bars offer locals and visitors alike the electric atmosphere that makes for a party weekend.
Visit the Castle
Kilkenny Castle is a dramatic structure dating from the 13th century that dominates Kilkenny City. Originally built for William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke, it later became the principal Irish residence of the powerful Butler family, and now it offers visitors a fascinating glimpse of Kilkenny’s medieval history.
See St. Canice’s Cathedral
St Canice’s Cathedral is a splendid structure presiding over the entire city of Kilkenny. Founded in the 6th century, it was named after St Canice and also gives Kilkenny its Gaelic name (Cill Channigh). The site combines an early Christian settlement, Round Tower, and Anglo Norman Cathedral. Even if you have no interest in religion or its history, the site’s rich cultural resonance makes it a must-see on your Kilkenny visit.
Take a road trip
Roam through the rolling green hills of northern County Kilkenny and enjoy leisurely picnics along the way. Drive through the picturesque towns of Ballyragget and Castlecomer, explore Dunmore Cave, and create your own perfect day out by meandering along the area’s magical winding roads.
Immerse yourself in Inistioge
If you have watched Widow’s Peak or Circle of Friends, you have already seen Inistioge. A village this picturesque simple begs to appear onscreen, with its 18th-century, 10-arch stone bridge spanning the River Nore and old-style shops clustered around a peaceful square.
Aoife O’Carroll is a staff writer for GoIreland, a convenient accommodation website for booking hotels in Kilkenny, and all across Ireland. She thinks that Inistioge is probably the most beautiful village in southeast Ireland.