Kilkenny: one of the best historical towns of Ireland

Kilkenny is a beautiful and historical town located approximately one hour and half from Dublin by train or car. Kilkenny is nicknamed The Marble city after the footpaths of Kilkenny city that were paved with Kilkenny marble flagstones. You have the charm of a small town with lots of places to visit like Kilkenny Castle, St.Canice’s cathedral or warm places to try Kilkenny ale.

Go shopping in the city centre

image 354

High Street in Kilkenny. Image by Marylou Prévost.

Kilkenny city is a nice town for shopping lovers as you can wander through the streets and its colourful storefronts of independent boutiques. You can go to one of the many shopping centres. MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre and Market Cross Shopping Centre only are home to more than sixty shops. Bookworms will love to browse the shelves of The Book & Coffee Shop and The Kilkenny Book Centre.

Gifts and jewellery can be found at Butterslip, find new clothes at Goods of Kilkenny or Peaches Boutique, create your signature scent at Valley of Roses or pick a chic suit at Frank Wall Mans Shop.

St. Canice’s cathedral

image 355

St. Canice’s Cathedral and the tower. Image by Marylou Prévost.

St. Canice’s Cathedral has been an important site of Christian worship since the 6th Century. For both pilgrim and tourist alike, the Cathedral remains both a sacred place, and one of significant historical interest.

Apart from its role as a house of prayer, the Cathedral is at the heart of the heritage of the vibrant city of Kilkenny. The building’s acoustics can be enjoyed each year during the Kilkenny Arts Festival, and concerts with the pipe-organ are regularly held in the cathedral. You can take a self-guided tour and walk as you please in the cathedral or take a guided tour from 11am to 3pm, from Monday to Saturday. You can also climb the tower next to the cathedral.

Opening hours:

  • October – February: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm (last admission 3.30pm)
  • March, April, May and September: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm (last admission 4.30pm). Sunday ( from 16th April) 2pm – 5pm (last admission 4.30pm).
  • June, July and August: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm (last admission 5.30pm). Sunday: 1pm – 6pm

Kilkenny Castle

image 352

Kilkenny Castle, one of the main attractions of Kilkenny. Image by Marylou Prévost.

Kilkenny Castle is the city’s most famous landmark, standing on an elevation of 30 metres overlooking the River Nore. The castle was founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted over a period of 800 years.

Kilkenny Castle is now open to visitors all year round and is largely a Victorian remodelling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle. This grand country house and its fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees welcome hundreds of visitors every year. A terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, added in the nineteenth century can also be visited. There is also a tearoom, playground and several trails for you to enjoy.

A permanent exhibition about the Ormondes allows you to understand more about the castle’s history. From 1391 when the 3rd earl of Ormonde bought the castle until the family abandoned the building in 1935. 

Kytelers Inn

image 353

Visitors can take a break at Kytelers Inn and try Kilkenny ale. Image by Marylou Prévost.

Kytelers Inn’s history dates back to 1263. The original owner of Kytelers Inn was Dame Alice le Kyteler. She is known to have had four husbands and a substantial fortune. She was accused of witchcraft and was burned at the stake. 

Kyteler’s Inn is full of charm due to its solid oak beams, open fireplace and stone. Their beef is of Irish origin and traceable from farm to fork. They serve Kytelers beef burger served with chips, the traditional fish and chips, the traditional bowl of lamb stew and many more.

During the High Season, the Inn has Traditional Irish Music nightly. Music starts at 9.00pm on Friday, 10pm Saturday and Sunday at both 6pm and 9pm. You will discover many sides of Irish music. Instruments from the fiddle, bodhran, mandolin, guitar, banjo, tin whistles to the uilleann pipes and drums are played in this ancient Inn.

Kyterlers Inn holds a vast array of whiskey and wines. You can also make a stop there to try the famous Kilkenny ale.

Opening hours:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10.30am-11.30pm
  • Friday-Saturday: 10.30am-1.30pm
  • Sunday: 12.30pm-11pm

Smithwick’s experience

image 351

Image via smithwicks_ireland.

Smithwick’s has been brewed here in Ireland since 1710. The Smithwick’s experience will tell you about John Smmithwick, the founder of Smithwick’s Brewery while you are enjoying your favourite Smithwick’s Ale. You can try Smithwick’s red ale blend of mild hops, sweet malt, and roasted barley. Smithwick’s pale ale has a golden colour, the award-winning Smithwick’s Pale Ale is inspired by old recipes of the brewery. This golden malt beer has flavours of fruit and grass. It’s brewed with aromatic Amarillo hops for a fuller, fruitier flavour. Soft drinks are provided for under 18s and the adults who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.

Smithwick’s Experience guided tours run at regular intervals throughout the day, seven days a week, each tour taking approximately 1 hour. From July and August there is a tour every 20 minutes, from 10.00am to 5.00pm. From March – June and September – October there is a tour every 30 minutes, from 10.00am to 5.00pm.

Opening hours:

Open seven days a week:

  • March – October: 10.00am – 6.00pm (last admission 5.00pm)
  • November – February: 11.00am – 5.00pm (last admission 4.00pm)

Smithwick’s experience is closed on:

  • April 18, 19, 25 and 26.
  • Christmas Eve (December 24), Christmas Day (December 25), St. Stephen’s Day / Boxing Day (December 26)

At the end of your day at Kilkenny, take your time when crossing John’s Bridge to watch the sun going down on the River Nore and the colourful buildings of the city.

Marylou Prevost
Marylou Prevost

After a Master's degree in journalism and one year as a journalist in France, I landed in Dublin to write for Babylon Radio. I mostly love writing about cultural events in Ireland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *