Things to do in Kilkenny Ireland

The 25 Best Things To Do In Kilkenny Ireland – Must-Do Activities Create Unforgettable Memories

Last Updated: August 3, 2023By

What are the top things to do in Kilkenny Ireland that sets it apart from other famous Irish cities and towns? From its medieval castle to old-world pubs, Kilkenny brings Ireland’s storied past to life. Stroll narrow lanes lined with vibrantly painted stone buildings that transport you to the 17th century.

Tour mighty Kilkenny Castle, climbing spiral staircases for sweeping views across the River Nore. Dig into hearty pub fare like Guinness stew at cozy taverns that have been pouring pints for centuries.

Roam the peaceful grounds of St. Canice’s Cathedral and climb to the top of its landmark medieval tower. Shop for pottery and crafts made locally for centuries. Just outside town, explore ancient abbeys and monasteries tucked into rolling green hills.

As night falls, listen to live music spilling from the pubs on every corner. With its rich history, scenic trails and energetic arts scene, discover the top things to do in medieval Kilkenny.

Get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in Kilkenny!

Key Takeaways

  • Kilkenny offers a rich historical and cultural experience with attractions such as the Medieval Mile Museum, St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Castle, and Rothe House & Garden.
  • The city is known for its natural beauty, with scenic locations like the River Nore, Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, Kilfane Glen and Waterfall, and Hole in The Wall.
  • Art and cultural enthusiasts can visit centers like the Kilkenny Design Centre, Butler Gallery, and National Craft Gallery to explore the local arts scene.
  • Visitors can also engage in unique experiences such as the Kilkenny Way Hurling, Kilkenny Ghost Tours, Gowran Park Racecourse, and the Medieval Mile Pass.

The Best Things To Do In Kilkenny Ireland

1. Explore the Medieval Mile Museum

You should definitely explore the Medieval Mile Museum while you’re in Kilkenny. It is one of the top things to do in this charming city in Ireland.

The museum is located on the famous Medieval Mile, a stretch that takes you through centuries of history. As soon as you step inside, you will be transported back in time to the medieval period. It’s magical!

The exhibits are beautifully curated and showcase the rich heritage of Kilkenny. You can marvel at intricate tapestries, ancient artifacts, and even see a preserved 13th-century church. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through each exhibit, providing interesting tidbits about Kilkenny’s past.

Don’t miss the chance to explore this gem of a museum and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Kilkenny.

2. Visit to St. Canice’s Cathedral

Explore the stunning St. Canice’s Cathedral for a glimpse into its rich history and breathtaking architecture. Located in Kilkenny, Ireland, this magnificent structure is a must-visit attraction when exploring the city.

As you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by the echoes of centuries past. Marvel at the intricate stone carvings and stained glass windows that adorn the cathedral’s interior, each telling a story of its own.

Climb to the top of the round tower for panoramic views of Kilkenny City and beyond, a sight that will leave you in awe. Don’t forget to explore the beautiful gardens surrounding the cathedral, where tranquility permeates every corner.

St. Canice’s Cathedral is an essential part of any visit to Kilkenny and should not be missed on your journey through this enchanting city.



3. Tour of Kilkenny Castle

Take a fascinating tour of Kilkenny Castle and immerse yourself in its rich history and magnificent architecture. Located in the heart of Kilkenny, Ireland, this iconic landmark is one of the must-visit attractions in the area.

As you step inside the castle, you’ll be transported back in time as you explore its grand rooms and learn about its storied past. Marvel at the intricate details of the medieval architecture and admire the stunning views from the top of the tower.

The knowledgeable guides will captivate you with tales of knights and nobles, giving you a true sense of what life was like centuries ago.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience one of the most impressive castles in Ireland on your list of things to do in Kilkenny.

4. Walk along the River Nore

Stroll along the River Nore and enjoy the scenic views of Kilkenny. This picturesque river flows through the heart of the city, offering a peaceful escape from the bustling streets. As you walk alongside its tranquil waters, you’ll be captivated by the beauty that surrounds you.

Here are four reasons why walking along the River Nore should be at the top of your list when visiting Kilkenny:

  1. Natural Beauty: The river is adorned with lush greenery and charming bridges, creating a postcard-perfect setting.
  2. Historic Landmarks: Along the riverbank, you’ll find landmarks like St. Canice’s Cathedral and Rothe House, allowing you to immerse yourself in Kilkenny’s rich history.
  3. Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for swans gracefully gliding across the water or catch a glimpse of playful otters in their natural habitat.
  4. Riverside Cafes: Take a break from your stroll and relax at one of the cozy riverside cafes, where you can savor delicious treats while taking in the serene surroundings.

So lace up your walking shoes and embark on this delightful adventure along the River Nore in Kilkenny, Ireland!

5. Experiencing Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny

If you’re a fan of beer, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing Smithwick’s Experience in Kilkenny. Located in the heart of Ireland, this attraction is a must-visit for anyone looking for things to do in Kilkenny.

Step into the world of brewing and immerse yourself in the rich history and tradition behind Smithwick’s, one of Ireland’s oldest breweries. The interactive tour takes you through the entire brewing process, from the raw ingredients to the finished product. Learn about the secret recipe that has been passed down through generations and discover how this iconic Irish ale is made.

After the tour, head to the bar where you can sample some delicious beers and enjoy conversation with fellow beer enthusiasts. Don’t forget to grab a souvenir before you leave!

Don’t miss out on this unique experience when visiting Kilkenny.

6. Visit to Rothe House & Garden

Now that you’ve enjoyed the rich history and flavors of Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, it’s time to delve into another fascinating attraction in this charming Irish city.

Get ready for a captivating visit to Rothe House & Garden. This hidden gem is a testament to Kilkenny’s past and offers a glimpse into the lives of its inhabitants centuries ago.

As you step inside Rothe House, you’ll be transported back in time, exploring its meticulously restored rooms filled with period furniture and artifacts. The knowledgeable guides will regale you with tales of the Rothe family who once called this place home.

Afterward, take a stroll through the tranquil garden, adorned with vibrant flowers and ancient trees. It’s the perfect spot to relax and soak in the beauty of Kilkenny, Ireland.

Don’t miss this chance to experience history come alive at Rothe House & Garden!

7. Exploring Kilkenny Design Centre

When you visit Kilkenny Design Centre, you’ll discover a hub of creativity and craftsmanship. Located in the heart of Kilkenny, Ireland, this center is a must-visit for anyone interested in design and shopping.

Here are four things to do when exploring Kilkenny Design Centre:

  • Browse the unique collection of Irish-made crafts and products. From exquisite jewelry to handwoven textiles, you’ll find something special to take home.
  • Watch local artisans at work in their studios. Witness the skillful techniques used to create beautiful pottery, glassware, and artwork.
  • Enjoy a delicious meal or snack at the on-site café, which offers a range of tasty options made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Attend one of the regular workshops or demonstrations held at the center. Learn new skills from experts in various fields such as painting, ceramics, and fashion.

Exploring Kilkenny Design Centre is an experience that combines culture, artistry, and inspiration all under one roof.

8. Walk Through the Butler Gallery

Take a stroll through the Butler Gallery and immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art and exhibitions. Located in Kilkenny, Ireland, this gallery offers an array of captivating works that will leave you inspired.

As you walk through the gallery, you’ll be greeted by thought-provoking pieces from both local and international artists. The vibrant colors and innovative techniques used in these exhibits create a truly immersive experience.

Take your time to appreciate each artwork, allowing yourself to be captivated by its beauty and meaning. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or just looking for things to do in Kilkenny, a visit to the Butler Gallery is a must.

So why not add it to your itinerary and explore this hidden gem?

9. Visit to Black Abbey

Don’t miss out on visiting the Black Abbey, where you can immerse yourself in the rich history and stunning architecture of this iconic site. Located in Kilkenny, the Black Abbey is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the city.

As soon as you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time to a place filled with centuries of religious significance. The abbey’s Gothic architecture is simply breathtaking, with its intricate stained glass windows and towering stone walls. Take your time to explore every nook and cranny, from the peaceful cloister gardens to the awe-inspiring nave.

Learn about the fascinating stories behind each carved detail and mural that adorns this sacred space. A visit to the Black Abbey is truly one of the most rewarding things to do in Kilkenny, allowing you to connect with history while marveling at its beauty.

10. Tour of Dunmore Cave

Make sure you don’t miss out on a fascinating tour of Dunmore Cave, where you can delve into the geological wonders and ancient history of this captivating site.

Located in Kilkenny, Ireland, Dunmore Cave is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for exciting things to do in the area.

As you embark on this tour, be prepared to be amazed by the stunning rock formations that have been shaped over millions of years. Explore the underground passages and marvel at the eerie beauty that surrounds you.

Learn about the cave’s rich history, which dates back thousands of years and includes Viking invasions and archaeological discoveries.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a history buff, a visit to Dunmore Cave promises an unforgettable experience.

11. Experiencing Kilkenny Way Hurling

Get ready to immerse yourself in the thrilling sport of Hurling at Kilkenny Way. Located in medieval Kilkenny, Kilkenny Way offers a unique opportunity to learn about and participate in one of Ireland’s most beloved sports.

As you step onto the field, you’ll be captivated by the intensity and skill required to play Hurling. The knowledgeable guides at Kilkenny Way will teach you all about the history and rules of the game before giving you a chance to try it for yourself.

It’s not just a lesson in Hurling; it’s an immersive journey into Ireland’s sporting culture. This top attraction should be on everyone’s list of things to do and see while visiting Kilkenny.

Don’t miss out on this unforgettable Kilkenny Hurling Way experience!

12. Visit to National Craft Gallery

When you visit Kilkenny, be sure to check out the National Craft Gallery for a fascinating exploration of Ireland’s rich artistic heritage.

Located in the heart of Kilkenny, this gallery is one of the best places to visit if you’re looking to immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Irish craft and design.

The gallery showcases an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional artworks, including ceramics, textiles, glassware, and jewelry.

As you wander through the exhibits, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Ireland’s creative spirit and craftsmanship.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply curious about Kilkenny’s cultural scene, a visit to the National Craft Gallery is a must-do attraction in Kilkenny.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to uncover the hidden gems that make Kilkenny such a popular tourist destination.

13. Exploring Kells Priory

Exploring Kells Priory is a fascinating way to delve into the historical significance of this ancient site. Located just outside of Kilkenny City in Ireland, this well-preserved priory offers a glimpse into the past that will leave you in awe.

As you wander through its imposing stone walls, imagine what life was like for the Augustinian monks who once called this place home.

Here are two reasons why visiting Kells Priory should be at the top of your list when exploring Kilkenny:

  • Step back in time: The priory’s impressive ruins transport you back to medieval times. From the towering round tower to the crumbling remains of the church and living quarters, every corner tells a story.
  • Peaceful surroundings: Situated in picturesque countryside, Kells Priory provides a serene escape from city life. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank or have a picnic amidst lush green fields.

Don’t miss out on this captivating experience while discovering all that Kilkenny has to offer!

14. Walk Through the Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum

Located just a short distance from Kells Priory, take a walk through the Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. These stunning gardens, located in Kilkenny Ireland, offer an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

As you stroll along the winding pathways, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant colors and fragrant smells that surround you. The Woodstock Gardens boast an impressive collection of plants and flowers from all over the world, making it a true haven for any nature lover.

Don’t forget to explore the arboretum, where you can marvel at the diverse range of trees and learn about their fascinating history. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or simply want to enjoy some fresh air, a visit to the Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum is a must-do activity when in Kilkenny.

15. Visit to Jerpoint Abbey

To fully experience the historical significance of Jerpoint Abbey, you’ll want to take your time exploring its stunning architecture and intricate stone carvings. This medieval attraction is located in Kilkenny, Ireland, just a short drive from Dublin.

As you step through the abbey’s ancient entrance, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of spiritual devotion and artistic craftsmanship. The abbey’s towering walls and graceful arches will leave you in awe, while the delicate details of its stone carvings will captivate your imagination. Don’t miss the chance to wander through the abbey’s peaceful cloisters or admire the remnants of its grandeur in the nearby graveyard.

After your visit to Jerpoint Abbey, consider continuing your exploration of Kilkenny with a stroll along the Medieval Mile or a trip to Castlecomer Discovery Park.

16. Experiencing Kyteler’s Inn

Now that you’ve explored the beauty and history of Jerpoint Abbey, it’s time to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Kyteler’s Inn.

Located in the heart of Kilkenny, this charming pub is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the true spirit of Ireland.

As you step inside Kyteler’s Inn, you’ll be transported back in time with its rustic interior and cozy ambiance. The walls are adorned with historical artifacts and memorabilia, telling stories of its rich past.

Sit down at one of the wooden tables and indulge in delicious traditional Irish cuisine, accompanied by a pint of Guinness or a glass of whiskey.

But Kyteler’s Inn is not just about food and drink. It carries a fascinating history too. It was once owned by Dame Alice Kyteler, who was accused of witchcraft in the 14th century. Her story adds an air of mystery to this already enchanting place.

So take a seat, relax, and let Kyteler’s Inn transport you to another time as you soak up the authentic Irish atmosphere right here in Dunmore, Kilkenny.

Don’t forget to explore other nearby attractions like Rothe House and Garden to make your visit even more memorable.

17. Visit to the Hole in The Wall

When you visit Kyteler’s Inn, make sure to also check out the Hole in The Wall for another unique experience. Located just a short walk away, this hidden gem is a must-see in Kilkenny.

The Hole in The Wall is known for its historic significance and captivating charm. As you approach the entrance, you’ll be greeted by the sight of an impressive round tower, which stands as the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny.

Step inside and prepare to be transported back in time as you explore the rich history of this establishment. Take a guided tour and learn about the fascinating stories that have unfolded within these walls over centuries.

Afterward, don’t forget to sample some local brews at their brewery and soak up the serene atmosphere of Kilfane Glen nearby.

18. Exploring Castlecomer Discovery Park

Located just a short drive from Kilkenny, Castlecomer Discovery Park is a great place to explore. Nestled in the heart of the Irish countryside, this park offers a wide range of activities for all ages. Here are five reasons why you should visit:

  • Kilfane Glen and Waterfall: Take a leisurely stroll through this picturesque garden and marvel at the stunning waterfall.
  • Kilkenny City: After your visit to Castlecomer, take some time to explore the charming streets of Kilkenny City, known for its rich history and vibrant atmosphere.
  • Kilkenny Activity: Looking for an adrenaline rush? Try your hand at zip-lining or high ropes courses at the park’s adventure center.
  • Places to Visit in Kilkenny: With its beautiful walking trails and serene lakes, Castlecomer Discovery Park is one of the top attractions in Kilkenny.
  • Family-Friendly Fun: From pedal boats on the lake to woodland playgrounds, there’s something for everyone here.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or simply want to relax in nature, Castlecomer Discovery Park is a must-visit destination in Kilkenny.

19. Walk Through the Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Kilfane Glen and Waterfall and immerse yourself in its natural beauty. As you make your way along the winding paths, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and the calming sound of cascading water.

The Kilfane River gracefully flows through the glen, creating a serene atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and reflection. The highlight of your walk will undoubtedly be the stunning waterfall at the end of the trail. Standing tall at 30 feet, it’s a sight to behold. The mist from the rushing water gently kisses your skin as you take in its grandeur.

Visiting Kilfane Glen and Waterfall is a must when exploring Kilkenny. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, recharge your senses, and truly experience all that this beautiful region has to offer. So grab your walking shoes and get ready to explore!

20. Visit to Canice’s Tower & Round Tower

As you make your way through the enchanting Kilfane Glen and Waterfall, you’ll soon find yourself drawn to the heart of Kilkenny City. Here, in the centre of town, lies Canice’s Tower & Round Tower, beckoning you to explore its ancient walls.

Known as the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny, this tower is a testament to the city’s rich history.

Climbing to the top of Canice’s Tower offers a breathtaking view of Kilkenny’s skyline, with its majestic castle and charming streets. From this vantage point, you can truly appreciate the beauty and charm that has made Kilkenny a must-visit destination.

After descending from the tower, take a leisurely stroll through Kilkenny’s city centre. Admire the stunning architecture of buildings like City Hall and soak in the vibrant atmosphere that fills every corner. With each step, you’ll discover more reasons why Kilkenny continues to captivate visitors from near and far.

21. Experiencing Kilkenny Ghost Tours

If you’re looking for a spooky and thrilling experience, don’t miss out on the Kilkenny Ghost Tours.

Explore the haunted corners of Kilkenny City as you embark on a chilling adventure through its dark history.

The tour takes you to various haunted spots, including the infamous Kilfane Glen, where ghostly apparitions have been sighted.

As you walk through the streets, your guide will regale you with spine-tingling tales of paranormal activity and supernatural encounters that have taken place in this ancient city.

Visit Alice de Kyteler’s former residence and hear her haunting story of witchcraft and betrayal.

You’ll also get a chance to admire stunning stained glass windows in medieval churches along the way.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these ghost tours are sure to leave you with an unforgettable experience in Kilkenny.

22. Visit to Gowran Park Racecourse

When you visit Gowran Park Racecourse, you’ll have the opportunity to witness thrilling horse races and immerse yourself in the excitement of the track. Located in the picturesque Glen of Kilkenny in Ireland, this tourist attraction offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.

As you step onto the grounds, you’ll be greeted by the vibrant atmosphere and the sound of thundering hooves. The racecourse boasts top-class facilities and a stunning backdrop of rolling hills, creating a truly scenic setting for racing enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a seasoned horse racing fan or just looking for an exciting day out, a visit to Gowran Park Racecourse is sure to leave you captivated. So grab your binoculars, place your bets, and get ready for an exhilarating day at this hidden gem in Kilkenny!

23. Exploring the Medieval Mile Pass

To fully immerse yourself in Kilkenny’s rich medieval history, make sure to explore the Medieval Mile Pass. This historic trail takes you through the heart of the city of Kilkenny, allowing you to experience some of its best places and popular things to do.

The pass stretches from the majestic Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral, showcasing centuries-old buildings and landmarks along the way. As you walk along this enchanting route, you’ll be transported back in time, imagining what life was like in medieval Kilkenny.

Take your time to marvel at the stunning architecture, visit charming shops and cafes tucked away on winding streets, and learn about the city’s fascinating past.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, exploring the Medieval Mile Pass is a must when visiting Kilkenny.

24. Walk Through the Bishop’s Palace

Take a stroll through the Bishop’s Palace and immerse yourself in its history and grandeur. Located in the center of Kilkenny, this magnificent building is a must-visit for anyone interested in Irish history.

As you enter, you’ll be greeted by the stunning marble staircase, which sets the tone for the rest of your visit. Step into rooms adorned with intricate plasterwork and beautiful period furniture, as you learn about the lives of previous bishops who once called this palace home.

The exhibition also delves into the rich history of Kilkenny itself, showcasing artifacts that tell stories of medieval times and beyond. Soak up the atmosphere as you wander through these elegant halls and get a glimpse into Ireland’s past.

25. Visit to Nore Valley Park

Now that you’ve explored the grandeur of the Bishop’s Palace, it’s time to dive into nature and visit Nore Valley Park. Located just a short drive from Kilkenny City, this enchanting park is nestled in the picturesque Kilfane area along the banks of the River Nore.

As you step foot into this idyllic setting, you’ll be greeted by rolling green fields, charming farm animals, and an array of family-friendly activities. Take a leisurely stroll through the park’s scenic trails, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Ireland’s countryside.

Children will delight in petting and feeding adorable farm animals such as lambs and piglets. For those seeking adventure, there are go-kart rides and pedal tractors to satisfy your thrill-seeking desires.

With its blend of natural beauty and fun-filled attractions, Nore Valley Park is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Kilkenny.

Things to Do in Kilkenny Ireland – FAQs

What is the history behind St. Canice’s Cathedral?

St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, Ireland has a fascinating history dating back over 800 years. It stands as one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

The cathedral was built in the 13th century and boasts stunning Gothic architecture and intricate stone carvings. Inside, you can explore its rich heritage through interactive exhibits and learn about its role as a place of worship throughout the centuries.

Don’t miss climbing the ancient tower for breathtaking views of Kilkenny!

Are there any special events or exhibitions at the Kilkenny Design Centre?

Yes, there are often special events and exhibitions at the Kilkenny Design Centre.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore a diverse range of art and craft displays, showcasing the incredible talent of local artisans.

From contemporary ceramics to stunning textiles, you’ll be captivated by the creativity on display.

Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops and demonstrations too, where you can learn new skills or simply appreciate the craftsmanship firsthand.

Can visitors participate in a hurling match at the Kilkenny Way Hurling experience?

Yes, visitors can absolutely participate in a thrilling hurling match at the Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience!

This unique opportunity allows you to immerse yourself in Ireland’s national sport and learn from experienced coaches.

Feel the rush of adrenaline as you swing a hurley and strike a sliotar across the field.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, this hands-on activity is sure to leave you with lasting memories of your time in Kilkenny.

What is the significance of Jerpoint Abbey in Kilkenny’s history?

Jerpoint Abbey holds great significance in Kilkenny’s history. This medieval monastery, founded in the 12th century, was once a thriving hub of religious and cultural activity.

As you explore the abbey’s ruins, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of monks and knights. Marvel at the intricate stone carvings and beautiful stained glass windows that still adorn the site.

Jerpoint Abbey is a must-visit for history enthusiasts wanting to delve into Kilkenny’s rich past.

Can visitors explore the grounds of Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum independently or are guided tours available?

Yes, visitors can explore the grounds of Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum independently. You have the freedom to wander through this enchanting oasis at your own pace.

Stroll along the picturesque paths, marvel at the vibrant colors of the flowers, and breathe in the sweet scent of nature. There’s no need for guided tours here; simply immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty that surrounds you.

Best Things to Do in Kilkenny Ireland – Final Thoughts

So, now you know all about the incredible things to do in Kilkenny, Ireland! From exploring the fascinating Medieval Mile Museum to taking a tour of the historic Kilkenny Castle, there is something for everyone in this charming city.

Don’t forget to walk along the scenic River Nore and indulge in the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not visit Gowran Park Racecourse or take a stroll through the Bishop’s Palace?

With so much to offer, Kilkenny is truly a must-visit destination. Start planning your trip today!

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