Plan the Perfect Family Short Break in Kilkenny

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A world away from the overwhelming hustle and bustle of larger cities, Kilkenny has its own special energy and excitement. Explore medieval streets, learn about buried Viking treasure, check out the local castle and get in touch with your family's adventurous side.

Kilkenny's River Nore
A family picnic
Left: The beautiful River Nore | Right: A family picnic

While we've been waiting to revisit our favourite family getaway spots, Kilkenny has been getting ready to roll out the red carpet for visitors again. If you've had quite enough of the front room and back garden, the wide-open green spaces and intriguing streets of the Marble City and its environs are the best possible antidote to cabin fever.
 

Start Your Trip in Kilkenny City


The Medieval Mile

The kids are going to love learning about Kilkenny city’s rich medieval history as you walk the colourful Medieval Mile together. Linking 13th century St. Canice’s Cathedral with the ancient Kilkenny Castle, this is the heart of the city where you’ll hear tales of the church Oliver Cromwell slept in, and speculation on whether infamous innkeeper Alice Kyteler was really a witch.


Kilkenny Castle Parkland

The magnificent Kilkenny Castle Parkland has over 50 acres of gardens to explore as well as the impressive 900-year-old castle which stands guard over the River Nore. Have fun with the little ones in the great kids' playground or challenge older kids and teenagers at the permanent orienteering course.  


Kilkenny Road Train Tours

Just outside Kilkenny Castle hop on the Kilkenny Road Train for a 30-minute jaunt around the city’s medieval streets, unlocking its secrets as you go. While onboard, you will get a full commentary and insight on the fascinating history of Kilkenny as you pass its most impressive sights from St Canice’s Cathedral to St Francis Abbey Brewery.


Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience

Hurling is not just an obsession in Kilkenny, it’s a way of life and there’s no better place to see their passion than Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience. Your family will find out all about Brian Cody and his famous Cats while learning the basic skills of the fastest field sport in the world, you’ll even get the chance to show your kids how a hurley is made.

Kilkenny craftsmanship
View of Kilkenny Castle
Left: Kilkenny craftsmanship | Right: Kilkenny Castle and grounds

The Best Food in Kilkenny City

 

Langton’s and La Rivista 

On your visit to Kilkenny, you’ll probably pass Langton’s on John Street. This award-winning bar and restaurant has a number of dining options; bar food for a quick pit-stop, and an elegant restaurant for the perfect family meal thanks to their ‘Just For Kids’ menu. Or if for the kids would rather some great pasta, pay La Rivista on Parliament Street a visit. 


Kyteler's Inn

Another Kilkenny legend is Alice Kyteler who established Kyteler’s Inn back in the 13th century. She was the first person in Ireland to be condemned of witchcraft and was even suspected of using potions and sorcery to control the local Christians. The inn is now one of Ireland’s oldest establishments and is still going strong and well-known for serving excellent food.

Ruins at Jerpoint Park in Kilkenny
View of the Kilkenny Countryside
Left: Jumping for joy at Jerpoint Park | Right: View of the Kilkenny Countryside

Explore Outside Kilkenny City


The National Reptile Zoo

On the edge of the city, you’ll find something that will delight your animal-loving kids. The National Reptile Zoo is Ireland’s only reptile zoo and acts as a centre where adults and kids can learn about these amazing animals. There are daily slots for your children to hold slithering snakes and scaly iguanas – if they’re brave enough.

 

Castlecomer Discovery Park

A 20-minute drive from Kilkenny city, Castlecomer Discovery Park has something for people of all ages. There are coal mining and craft exhibitions, while the younger kids will enjoy tackling the Tree-Top Adventure Walk to the Elf and Fairy Village.  

 

Nore Open Valley Farm

Your children will be talking about Nore Valley Park long after you’ve left it, as you plan your next visit to a destination with camping and caravan facilities, an activity centre and open farm. You can rent a mobile home or a lodge in this peaceful valley location that’s supervised at all times. There is a TV room, pool room, a new children’s play area, crazy golf and archery – located close to Kilkenny city.

 

Wherever you plan to go on your Kilkenny family getaway, be sure to contact individual attractions and businesses in advance to confirm they're ready to welcome visitors again. Because our changed world means a new focus on public protection, social distancing and safe travel measures will be essential everywhere — as explained in the new nationwide COVID-19 Safety Charter.


While you're mapping out your next adventure, there are many more ways to find something for everyone in Ireland's Ancient East. Ready to go further afield? Find out more about how to Make a Break for It in other regions of our amazing island...

More Kilkenny To Explore

While You're In Kilkenny




Enjoy your escape in Ireland’s Ancient East!

For more ideas, check out the Highlights section