One of the liveliest spots in the country, Kilkenny offers thriving nightlife with myriad pubs and loads of live music; a fantastic festival scene; and a wide array of delights for foodies, craft and design lovers, the culturally curious, and history buffs.
Investigate the city, then go further afield – stroll along cycle paths, tour Jerpoint Park (where you'll discover a hidden medieval village), or visit the spectacular gardens of Mount Juliet Estate. For a short break with plenty to choose from, here's some of the highlights...
Exploring Kilkenny City
Spend your first day discovering all the 'Marble City' has to offer...
The Kilkenny Medieval Mile links Anglo-Norman Kilkenny Castle (at the centre of the city) to St Canice's Cathedral. Along the way, housed in St Mary's Cathedral you'll find the Medieval Mile Museum: take the guided tour, find out why Kilkenny is a city – not a town! – and gain insight into the area with the other tales the museum has to tell.
Proud of its food culture, Kilkenny is home to a wide variety of tempting cafés and restaurants offering the best of local produce. After a busy morning touring, when you're ready for a break enjoy a bite at The Grapevine Wine & Tapas Bar or treat yourself to afternoon tea at Mocha's Vintage Tea Rooms. Visit the foodhall at the Kilkenny Design Centre – sit in, or take a picnic to Castle Park across the road.
Or continue your travels through time over lunch, as you learn about the history of Kytelers Inn and the eventful life of infamous original owner Dame Alice Kyteler. Born in Kilkenny in 1263, Dame Alice was a 'merry widow' – four times over – who is said to have fled to England to avoid being burned as a witch.
Only a few feet away from the Medieval Mile Museum you'll find the Smithwick's Experience. Discover the age-old tradition of craft ale making – from its mastery by 13th century local monks on the site of the St. Francis Abbey Brewery, to the arrival of John Smithwick in the 1700s, right up to the present day. Get involved as you stir your own hops and are immersed in the multi-sensory, interactive tour.
If you're interested in other forms of craft (besides ale), the National Craft Gallery awaits. Visit the artisan workshops in the Castle Yard and admire the skills on show in the Jewellery School Studios as you watch a goldsmith crafting a Celtic brooch – and you'll realise just how much creativity is a part of this city's DNA. Or take part in a workshop where you can design and create your very own masterpiece!
Evening in Kilkenny
Even more of the city's charms are revealed as the sun sets…
Get a scare before bedtime with a Kilkenny Ghost Tour or explore the Medieval Mile in the evening in a fun, quirky way by joining Shenanigans - The Kilkenny City Walk for a storytelling tour with a mix of comedy and magic.
Delicious dinner options abound – for an excellent informal meal check out Ristorante Rinuccini, Zuni Restaurant, or The Hole in the Wall (where there's plenty of entertainment to be had as well). To truly spoil yourself, choose from local Michelin-starred options Campagne or the Lady Helen at Mount Juliet.