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Kilkenny Castle, seen from Rose Garden

A city of about 26,000 in the 'Sunny South East' of Ireland, Kilkenny lies just 75 miles southwest of Dublin and is the County Town of Co. Kilkenny. It's the smallest city in terms of population in the Republic of Ireland and the River Nore flows through the city splitting it in two with most sights of interest on the western side of this river.

As Ireland's Mediaeval Capital, it offers the traveller a mixture of an exciting vibrant night-life, beautiful street-scapes, great shopping opportunities and a rich cultural heritage.


Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland as well as a weekend getaway for many Irish. Well regarded for its vibrant nightlife, it has become increasingly popular in recent years. The city is also famous for its many mediaeval buildings and is referred to as the Marble City after the black polished limestone ['marble'] that was quarried around the city. The concept of a "Medieval Mile" has been instigated which endeavours to take in the majority of the City's iconic sights bookended by the Castle and St Canice's Cathedral respectively. Along the route plaques have been put in place giving visitors some historic background to the various landmarks along the route.

Despite its small population, it holds ancient city status due to having a cathedral and an old royal charter dating from 1609. The locals do not take kindly to the city being referred to as a "town". In the mid 1960s various arts and craft enterprises were set up in what was the stables for Kilkenny Castle. These still exist in various forms and in the county – particularly in Thomastown.

The city plays host to three festivals which bring large crowds from all over Ireland. In May the Rhythm and Roots music festival take place in pubs and other venues around the city. On the June bank holiday weekend the Cat Laughs comedy festival take place. In August the Kilkenny Arts Festival, second only to its Galway equivalent, takes place. Venues for this last festival include the Castle and St Canice's Cathedral. The city centre is bookended by its two primary tourist attractions. St Canice's Cathedral to the north in Irishtown and Kilkenny Castle at the opposite end located on the Parade. The city has the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the country. Indeed on the occasion of the State purchasing St Mary's Hall Ireland's paper of record, The Irish Times, stated that "St Mary's Hall in located halfway along the trail of the most significant medieval urban landscape in Ireland". All year round the coaches which line the Parade underline the popularity of Kilkenny as a tourist destination.

The lower end of the Parade, from the Castle to the traffic lights at the beginning of High Street has recently been redesigned. It has created a pleasant pedestrian zone and also permits a nice vista of the Castle from High Street. It is currently the location of the only public toilets in the city. This new crude structure has had its appearance softened somewhat by the placing of tourist information boards across the front. These are well worth reading and will aid your enjoyment of our historic city. The tourist office, open all year round, is in Shee Alms House, on Rose Inn Street. This is five minutes walk from the Castle.

As a rule Kilkenny is a white collar city with one notable exception: Smithwicks, which is still brewed at St Francis Brewery on Parliament Street. Glanbia formerly Avonmore, a giant in food production, has its administration headquarters on the edge of the city having being founded twelve miles away in Ballyraggett, Co. Kilkenny. The main venue for performing arts is the art deco Watergate Theatre located between Parliament Street and Irishtown. The predominant sport in Kilkenny is hurling. Hurling is one of two codes in the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Hurling is played with a wooden stick called a hurley. Using the hurley you hit a cork ball called a sliotar. Kilkenny as a county is the most successful team in terms of All-Ireland titles in the country. The local GAA stadium is Nowlan Park located ten minutes walk from the train station. The nickname for the team is the Cats. If Kilkenny are playing in the All-Ireland Final on the first Sunday of September, the city and county is decked out in the team colours of black and amber. It will be the talk of the town if they reach the Final. The Final is played in Croke Park, Dublin.

As a matter of curiosity, Kilkenny maybe the only place in Ireland with a street called The Parade. Only in Kilkenny and Dublin is there a Parliament Street.

Sightseeing, partying or a spot of shopping in Kilkenny's array of excellent shops, this city is certain to have it all for everyone.



Kilkenny has a long and interesting history. The city's origins pre-date the medieval landmarks existing today. Saint Canice founded a monastic settlement in Kilkenny in the sixth century, unfortunately the sole remaining landmark from this settlement is the round tower positioned alongside the cathedral. Strongbow, the famous Norman Conqueror, then built a fortress in the City, Kilkenny Castle, and soon the construction of the walled city began.

However, it wasn't until the seventeenth century that Kilkenny really entered its golden age. The parliament known as the Confederation of Kilkenny was founded in 1641. This, also known as Confederate Ireland, refers to the period of Irish self-government between the Rebellion of 1641 and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. One of the parliament's main objectives was to unite resistance against English persecution of Irish Catholics. With the emergence of this parliament, Kilkenny entered a period of unparalleled success. Over time, however, the influence of the Confederation of Kilkenny diminished. Oliver Cromwell's arrival in Kilkenny heralded the dissolution of the parliament, and the city never quite regained the prosperity it had previously been celebrated for.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The only way to fly to Kilkenny is if you fly yourself and land on Kilkenny airfield. For everyone else, the international airports near Kilkenny are:

  • Dublin Airport – Ireland's biggest and busiest airport is a mere 117 km from Kilkenny. JJ Kavanagh's run a direct bus to Kilkenny city, or else catch a bus into Dublin city centre, then catch a bus or train from there.
  • Waterford Airport is the nearest international airport to Kilkenny, from where Aer Arann flies to the UK and Spain. There is at present no public transport from the airport. It's a 15/20min taxi ride to Waterford city bus/train station, and from there about 40mins to Kilkenny. Or if you rent a car, it's a 45 minute drive to Kilkenny.

Other airports within a few hours of Kilkenny include: Cork International Airport, and Shannon International Airport. These are both served by public bus.

By train[edit]

Kilkenny Railway Station (MacDonagh Station, phone +353 56 772-2024) is at the top of Saint John's Street, within easy walking distance of anywhere in the city centre. It was named MacDonagh Station after Thomas MacDonagh, one of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.

The station is on the DublinWaterford line, which also serves Athy, Carlow, Bagenalstown and Thomastown. There are 7 trains a day (Monday to Saturday) and 4 on Sunday in each direction.

It is wheelchair friendly and has a left luggage facility. There is a taxi rank at the station and vacant taxis always appear when a train pulls in. Tickets and timetable information can be got at the station, online or by phone (+353 1 703-4070 between 09:00-17:00 Monday-Friday).

By bus[edit]

Kilkenny Bus Station is located by the train station. This is one of two stops for the national bus company Bus Eireann. The train station is a ten minute walk from the Parade which is the heart of the city. Bus Eireann also stops on Ormonde Road a five minute walk to the Parade. JJ Kavanagh also stops on Ormonde Road.

Bus Eireann, the national bus company, JJ Kavanagh and Wild Rover Tours serve Kilkenny. JJ Kavanagh had a driect bus from Kilkenny to Dublin Airport.

By car[edit]

  • Carlow – about 30 min. Take the M9 motorway southbound and turn off at Junction 8 on to the N10 to Kilkenny.
  • Cork – about 2 hours. Take the M8 towards Fermoy. After Mitchelstown, turn right (N24) towards Cahir/Clonmel. About 8 km after Clonmel, turn left (N76) and follow signposts for Kilkenny.
  • Dublin – about 1 hour. From the M50 motorway, take Junction 9 for the N7. At Junction 9 turn off on to the M9. Continue on this road to Junction 8 and turn off on to the N10 to Kilkenny.
  • Limerick – Take the N24 to Tipperary town. Just after the centre, take a right towards Cashel/Kilkenny (N74). Drive through Cashel, then take the N8 to Urlingford. After Urlingford, follow the signposts to the right to Freshford/Kilkenny (R693). In Freshford, at the T junction turn right, cross the bridge and turn left. The road goes straight to Kilkenny.
  • Waterford – about 40 min. Take N9 primary road towards Dublin. North of Waterford, take the N10 to Kilkenny.
  • Wexford – about 1 hour. Take N25 towards New Ross. Take the bypass around New Ross, until you hit a T junction. Turn right towards Enniscorthy for a few hundred metres, then turn left towards Kilkenny (R700).

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]


There are two car parks off High Street. One is the Ormonde Street multi storey which is at the Southern end of High Street. The other is the Market Cross car park at the opposite end with access from Parliament St and James St. A third car park nearby is the Market Yard bordered by the river Nore near John's Bridge. There is a fourth car park at McDonagh Junction shopping centre/railway station at the top of John Street. It is a 10 minute walk to the Parade/High Street.

By foot[edit]

Kilkenny, due to its size, is a walkable city. You can reach both ends of the city in a matter of minutes. All sites are within walking distance of one another and the walks through this Medieval city are extremely enjoyable.

The main streets are laid out like a backwards L. From the railway station, John's Street runs southwest to the River Nore, becoming Rose Inn St. on the other side. This ends at the Parade, where the castle is located. A 90 degree turn here brings you on to High St, the main shopping street. This runs on, becoming Parliament St., then Irish Town, where St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower are located.

There are walking tours available in Kilkenny City, most notably the Tynan Walking Tours which brings you around this ancient city.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are available throughout the city. They can be found in the train station or in many of the taxi-ranks in Kilkenny. One of the major taxi-ranks is behind Dunnes Stores on the banks of the River Nore. All taxis run by the meter. The initial fare is €4.10 for first km or 170 secs, followed by €1.03 per km up to 14 km. If you have any problems contact the Taxi Regulator [dead link].

By bicycle[edit]

While walking is the preferred option, if staying out of town or in the suburbs, a bike is a simple and healthy way of getting in and out. Kilkenny has recently installed cycling paths on almost all major roads leading into the city, so cycling is now a safe and hastle free way of getting in from your accommodation. Indeed, while strolling around town you can chain your bike to the many designated bike poles throughout the city, most notably in the centre at the Tholsel and on the Parade.


The Tholsel, High Street

Kilkenny City, Ireland's most beautiful Historic City, is a perfect hub for arts and culture in Ireland. It is the historic gem in Ireland and the historic sites are concentrated in a small area in the City Centre. Many of the iconic city sights are located along the "Medieval Mile" which runs from The Parade (Kilkenny Castle & Design Centre), up High St (Tholsel, Hole in the Wall & St Mary's Hall), onto Parliament St (Rothe House & Smithwicks Brewery) and into Irishtown (St Canice's Cathedral (CoI).

  • Kilkenny Tourist Office (Shee Alms House), Rose Inn St +353 56 775-1500. Not only is this a great place to get information about Kilkenny, it is also a tourist attraction itself. It is in Shee Alms House, a Tudor building built in 1582. It was originally used by the church. before lawyer Richard Shee bought it as a home for the poor. Originally it cared for 12 homeless people, and continued in this purpose for 150 years.
  • 1 Kilkenny Castle and GardensParade +353 56 770-4100. This stunning Norman Castle, which is the dominant feature in the town, is its principal attraction. It overlooks the River Nore. The Castle is three sided in shape. Inside, The Great Hall is very impressive. There is a beautiful rose garden to the front. Its huge forested gardens are beautiful to walk in during the day. Access to the grounds is free.
  • Black AbbeyAbbey St. Founded in 1225, this impressive Dominican Abbey has beautiful stained glass windows and is itself surrounded by the old city walls. Near the Black Abbey, on Abbey Street is Black Freren Gate, the last surviving gate of the city walls. Free Admission.
  • Rothe HouseParliament St +353 56 772-2893. A unique merchant's house built in the 16th Century. It comprises three houses in the one complex. Behind the house lies recently reinstated gardens. Rothe House contains Kilkenny's History Museum. €5 Adults, €3 for groups (10+).
  • St. Canice's CathedralIrishtown +353 56 776-4971. Built over 800 years ago, this impressive Cathedral and round tower are one of Kilkenny's main attractions. It is the second largest medieval Cathedral in the country. With one of Ireland's only accessible Round Towers, on top of which one can see the most amazing view of Kilkenny, this is a must for anyone's trip to Kilkenny.The cathedral itself is wheelchair accessible.
  • Grace's CourthouseParliament St (Opposite Rothe House). Housing Kilkenny's Court House, this former fortress built in 1210 (Grace's Castle) and then converted into a prison in the 1500s is full of history.
  • Butler HouseButler House, Patrick St (Across the Street from the Castle, through the old stables). This stunning Chateau-like building is one of the residences of the Butler family that ruled Kilkenny for many years. It has a lovely small suburban garden. During Arts week in August it is used a venue for exhibitions.
  • Kilkenny 'Slips'Throughout (Running Perpendicular to High Street). These winding streets that ramble through the city are a true view of Medieval Kilkenny.
  • Smithwick's Experience KilkennyParliament St +353 56 779-6498. 10:00-18:00 daily. This is Ireland's Oldest brewery, founded in 1221. Kilkenny Beer, Smithwicks, and even Budweiser have all, at one stage, been brewed here. Beer production will be terminating in late 2012 when all Kilkenny/Smithwicks production will be consolidated in Dublin. The Smithwick's Experience tour includes one pint at the end. Go early to get a ticket since there are only a few tours each day. €10/pp.
  • St. Mary's CathedralJames St (Just off High Street). This is the Catholic Cathedral for the city. It was built by 1857. It's tower is visible around the city. It is a most impressive limestone structure.
  • TholselHigh St. The Tholsel is in the middle of High Street. It is the town hall. It is a unique arcaded structure built in 1765. Look out for the city's coat of arms over the lowest arch.
  • Kilkenny Design CentreParade (Opposite the Castle). This fabulous stone structure, spanning 19 windows in width and semi circle in form was finished in 1800. The castle was the main house for the Butler family. This was the stables and through here you reached their town house, the aforementioned Butler House.
  • St Kieran's CollegeCollege Rd (From the parade, head up Patrick Street, turn right onto Ormonde Road and then continue onto College Road). This is a beautiful Gothic building of national significance completed in 1840. It was originally a boarding school/seminary. It is a famous hurling academy and in newer buildings still functions as a secondary school. The building is private but the grounds can be enjoyed.
  • St John The EvangelistDublin Rd (Opposite the train station). This is the finest parish church in the city. This large ornate Gothic Revival church was completed in 1908 and is curious for it's flat roofed main entrance flanked by two bays.
  • St Canice's Church (RC)Dean Street, Irishtown. This church has a lovely facade and was built by 1827.
  • County HallJohn St. This fine seven bay three storey georgian building, built in 1782, houses the bulk of the county's administration offices. In a previous incarnation it was a college.
  • St Mary's HallSt Mary's Ln (off High Street). St Mary's Hall formerly St Mary's Church was built in 1250 and was recently bought by the state for 3/4 million euro. It is being renovated and added to as it is transformed into a museum which will open in either 2017/2018
  • St John's Priory (CoI)John (on John Street opposite Langtons). St John's Priory was built in 1817 and in the grounds is the ruins of a chapel dating back to 1290.
  • The Hole in The Walloff High St (opposite St. Mary's Lane). This quaint Elizebethan Tudor house dates from 1582 and features its own snug. It is a historically renowned tavern which has re-opened recently as a boutique arts venue. If its open you will see a swing sign on High Street.
  • Maudlin Toweroff Maudlin St (turn right at St John's Priory). This tall tower dates from the 15th century. There is no internal access but this tall tower is perfectly preserved externally and makes for fascinating viewing.
  • Talbot Tower, New St opposite the new tech secondary school, the one remaining tower of the city walls recently restored.

Walking Tour Route[edit]

Start at Kilkenny Castle.

  • Place yourself at the middle entrance of three on The Parade. You will be directly facing the Kilkenny Design Centre. Having visited the Castle cross the road and walk under the archway of the KDC. Walk under another archway and you will enter the gardens of Butler House. Well worth seeing. Return to the Parade, have a look at the tourist boards on your right and continue down the hill. Note the fine building on your left just at the lights which now houses the Left Bank Pub. It used to be the Bank of Ireland.
  • Continue straight ahead and enter High Street. This is the main shopping street. About 3 minutes along turn right after Goods and you will reach St Mary's Hall. It was recently purchased by the Irish State and will be carefully restored. Return to High Street taking a right. Straight ahead is the town hall. Note the city crest over one of the arches you will walk under. Shortly after the town hall on your right is the butterslip. It is narrow lane connecting High Street with the parallel Kieran Street. In previous centuries butter used to be traded here. Continue along High Street until you come to the last slipway on your right. Turn down that lane and you will reach Kieran Street. In front of you will be Kyteler's Inn. It was the home of the witch Dame Alice Kyteler. A functioning public house. it is well worth a look inside. Exiting Kyteler's take a right and shortly ahead the street becomes wide. You are now on Parliament Street. The stately courthouse is on your right with its balcony and cells underneath. On your left is the best example of a merchants house left in Ireland. It is called Rothe House. It comprises three houses in the one complex. The restores gardens are accessed via the lane running alongside.
  • Continuing along Parliament Street we reach St Francis Brewery, where Smithwicks is produced. As the street slopes down we pass the Watergate theatre on your right. It is Kilkenny's stab at Art Deco. Further on you will see the ruins of St Francis Abbey on your right in the grounds of the brewery.
  • Crossing the Bregagh river brings you into Irishtown. Irishtown was historically the poor end of town. However if you look up you will see the magnificent St Canice's Cathedral (CoI)with its round tower. It is accessed by climbing the steps just after the pedestrian crossing. There is a great view of the city from the tower. There is a roadway which runs parallel to the steps. If you come back down that path you will reach Dean Street. Take a right. Up ahead is the nice RC church of St Canice. Take a left before it and cross backover the Bregagh. Shortly on your left handside you will see Black Freren Gate, the only remaining gate of the city walls. On your right is the 12th century Black Abbey. The stain glass window in particular is magnificent. Leave the Abbey and take a right and then left onto Blackmill Street. Climb up the hill to reach St Mary's Cathedral (RC). It was built in the 1840s and is modelled on Gloucester Cathedral.
  • Facing a pub beside the green turn left to reach the entrance to the Cathedral. Returning to the entrance take a left and then a right down a lane which runs parallel to a school. You will shortly reach Wellington Square. Note the shared Georgian doorway. There are also examples in Parliament Street albeit of a different variety.
  • Return to the Cathedral entrance and eventually to the pub. Take a left bringing you onto Parnell Street. At the top take a right and an immediate left onto New Street. Opposite the New Tech is Talbot Tower. At the top is St Patrick's Church. Take a right at the church and you will come by the entrance to St Kieran's College. Enter the grounds to enjoy the fabulous building. It used to be both a seminary and a boarding school. Return to St Parick's Church and continue straight ahead descending as you go. Note the lovely limestone technical college on your left.
  • At the T junction take a left again onto Patrick Street. Keep walking downhill noting the fine facade of the Hibernian Hotel. At the traffic lights continue straight ahead onto Rose Inn Street. You will reach Shee Alms House on your left handside. It has the tourist office symbol hanging outside. It is well worth a look inside. Return to the street and continue downhill over John's Bridge and take an immediate left. Walk along the quay and you will reach the main city Library house in a quaint stone structure from the turn of the last century.
  • Just after the library take a right and head up through the car park and continue up the lane on the left. On reaching Michael St turn left. At the end turn right onto Wolfe Tone St. Note the Old Auxiliary Hospital on the left. Shortly along enter John's Green. Turn left onto Barrack St noting the lovely old almshouse on the left. One of 7 former places of respite for the poor across the city. Double back and turn left after Centra. On the left is Garrison House where the head of James Stephens Barracks historically lived.
  • Continue on and reach the junction of Dublin Road and John St. Head straight on and come on St John's Church on the right. Note that the Railway Station is on your left up the hill. Enter the church grounds and passing the church head down the steps to enter Maudlin St. On your left a short distance up is Maudlin Tower.
  • Double back and continue down until you re enter John St turning left. Note the lovely St John's Priory on your right. After the church turn right up the lane to glimpse the large old Evans Home. It will soon house the collection from the Butler Gallery at Kilkenny Castle. Double back and turn right on John St. Shortly on your left is the entrance for the former Kilkenny College. This lovely old Georgian Building now houses Kilkenny County Council. Continuing along John St you eventually reach John's Bridge. Look to your left for a lovely view of the Castle.
  • At the end of the bridge take a left into Canal Square. Note the lovely gate lodge on the left. Walk along the canal walk and look back over the river past the hotel. You will see the old Kilkenny College. A fine Georgian structure it now houses the offices of Kilkenny County Council. On your right there is a gate to enter the Castle Park. Getting yourself to the upper level turn right and with the side of the Castle on your left continuing walking. You will see the lovely Rose Garden coming into view. Turn to your right, go to the railing and look out on John's Bridge with a view of St Canice's Cathedral in the distance.
  • Turn around and walk straight across you can re-enter the Parade beside where the walk started.


View from the Round Tower, St Mary's Cathedral in the distance
  • Craft Council of IrelandCastle Yard (Opposite Castle, behind Kilkenny Design Craft Centre),  +353 56 776-1804fax: +353 56 776-3754, e-mail: . Funded by the government, this organization promotes the craft industry in Ireland. Check out its latest exhibitions and see crafts people at work in their studios.
  • The Irish Whiskey EventStoneyford. But run in location of choice +353 86 858-0630. This group whiskey tasting has some excellent reviews. Learn about whiskey and try some rare Irish whiskies.
  • Watergate TheatreParliament St +353 56 776-1674fax: +353 56 776-1887, e-mail: . The main theatre in Kilkenny has shows or music most nights of the week. For something smaller, check out Cleers Bar and Theatre, just across the road.
  • Kilkenny Parks. Kilkenny County has an array of parks, not only in the city. The Woodstock Gardens in the South and Mount Juliet Estate are wonderful, yet the city centre Kilkenny Castle Park is the most enjoyable.
Canal Square
  • Walk the Canal (Start at Rose in Street). The Canal in Kilkenny starts at Canal Square, a new City pavilion with benches overlooking the Rivercourt hotel, in the shadow of the imposing Kilkenny Castle. This romantic walk takes you along the old canal, shaded by tall trees and old mills. The walk can in fact take you for miles into the countryside if you so wish, following the course of the River Nore.


  • City Sightseeing Bus Tour (Starting point: The Parade). Jun-Aug: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 17:00. This tour covers all the big tourist sites in Kilkenny with an English speaking guide. €10, 5-15yrs €6, senior/student €8, family (2 Adult + up to 3 Children) €25.
  • The Kilkenny Traditional Music Trail +353 59 914-1067, e-mail: . June–August, Fri+Sat, 19:00-21:00. Private tours at other times possible. Listen to Irish music and stories in some traditional pubs. The musicians explain about the instruments and music. Buy tickets at Bollards Bar, Kieran St. Adults €12, students €10.
  • Tynan Walking ToursTourist Office, Rose Inn St +353 87 265-1745, e-mail: . Mar-Oct, M-Sa: 10:30, 12:15, 15:00, 16:30. Sun: 11:15, 12:30. Winter – ask tourist office. Hours long tours, leaving from the tourist office. This popular tour shows you around medieval Kilkenny city on foot. €6, senior/student €5.50, under 12 free.


Kilkenny Castle
  • Cat Laughs Comedy Festival. First weekend in June annually. An annual comedy festival. It was first held in 1995 and usually runs over the first weekend in June. Many famous faces have appeared at it over the years including Bill Murray, Lewis Black, Rich Hall, Dom Irrera, Mike Wilmot, Dan Castellaneta, Doug Stanhope and David Cross. The festival includes stand-up comedy performances and has a film component called Kitty Flicks.There is also a traditional soccer match held on the Sunday afternoon between the Irish comedians and those from the rest of the world.
  • The Kilkenny Arts Festival. which runs during August ever year, is a time of much colour and enjoyment in the City. The long streets are flooded with artists and music can be heard throughout the city.
  • The Rhythm and Roots Festival. is yet another hugely popular festival in Kilkenny city, with over 70 gigs take place with over 50 free events. All types of Roots music is catered for, including Folk, Blues, Rockabilly, Americana, Rock'n'Roll. It takes place over the first weekend of May every year.


  • Watch a Hurling MatchNowlan Park. Check the website or local paper for upcoming match details. Hurling is big in Kilkenny, with their county team the perennial Irish champions. There are matches on every weekend all over the county. Nowlan Park is the main stadium holding 30,000 people. It's also possible to check out a smaller match in the local club grounds.

Golf is very popular in Kilkenny, with courses to suit every level. The following are in the city, but there are lots more courses in County Kilkenny.


Kilkenny beer

Kilkenny is known as a great place to shop. Most shops are open 09:00-18:00, with late opening on Thursday nights till 21:00. There are lots of ATMs all over the city.

  • Kilkenny Design Craft Centre (Opposite Kilkenny Castle on The Parade). 10:00-19:00. Home to an amazing selection of Irish hand crafted gifts and the finest crafts in the city.
  • Allens (Opposite the Book Centre on High Street),  +353 56 772-2258. 09:30-18:00 M-Sa. Stockists of a large array of giftware, cookware, bedlinen and other household accessories over two floors.
  • High Street. This is the main street to shop on. Includes Kilkenny's many boutique shops, as well as the usual High Street brands.
  • MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre (Beside Railway station). A new shopping centre that includes many excellent stores. It also has some of the finest cafés around in the brilliantly renovated Work House and old Railway Station (It includes a Great Famine Memorial Garden).
  • Market Cross Shopping Centre (Off High St),  +353 56 775-2666fax: +353 56 775-2668, e-mail: .
  • Kilkenny Beer. While Kilkenny's brewing tradition extends to Smithwicks and other beers, nothing beats the 'home branded stuff'. This Irish cream ale is similar in many respects to Smithwicks.

Handcrafted Goods[edit]

Kilkenny is known as the Design Capital of Ireland and home to the Craft Council of Ireland (see Do section), so it's unsurprising that there are an excellent array of high quality things to purchase. All of the items below are made in Kilkenny, most are on sale in the Kilkenny Design Craft Centre. In most cases, you can visit the workshops themselves and see how the items are made.

In 2009, the brand 'Made In Kilkenny' was created to help promote craft industry. Look out for it.


St. Canice's Cathedral and Round Tower

Kilkenny has an excellent selection of some of the finest restaurants around, including many luxury and traditional places to eat.

  • Café SolWilliam St +353 56 776-4987. 11:30-22:00 M-Sa, 12:00-21:00 Su. One of Kilkenny's favourite places to dine for lunch and dinner. Located just off the bustling High Street, its lively atmosphere and delicious international menu are not to be missed.
  • [dead link]The Grapevine Café/ Winebar6 Rose Inn St (30 seconds from The Parade on the right.),  +353 56 771-2956. 12PM till late. Serving wine, world beers and great tapas in a wonderful old world meets contemporary setting. Live music most weekends.
  • Jacobs Cottage1 Ormonde St (Found in the Hibernian Hotel),  +353 56 779-1220. Two menus, Table d'Hôte and A la Carte. This splendid restaurant is open from 18:30-22:00 M-Sa for dinner, and until 21:00 on Sundays. Lunch times are as expected.
  • Kilkenny Design CentreCastle Yard +353 56 772-2118. Beautiful setting, opposite the castle and in the old stables of the Castle. This is the perfect café for a lunch during the day.
  • Kytelers InnKieran St. Probably Kilkenny's most famous pub and restaurant, this place is steeped in history and is the centre of Kilkenny's ancient witchcraft scene. The food is wholesome Irish food and with a pint of Guinness is an experience in itself.
  • Rinuccini1 The Parade +353 56 776-1575. Authentic Italian restaurant opposit the castle. Can be very busy. Lunch from 12:00-14:30 and dinner from 18:00-22:30.
  • The Two Dames Coffee Boutique80 John St +353 56 775-6841, +353 85 175-5005fax: +353 56 775-6841. 08:30-17:00 M-F, 10:00-16:30 Sa. New cafe, offering breakfast, lunch, scones, soups and breads, slices and cakes. Gluten-free and low-fat options.
  • Zuni26 Patrick St +353 56 772-3999. Stunning 'boutique' restaurant on Kilkenny's Edwardian Street, Zuni offers fine attention to detail on all their food.

Other notable restaurants include Chez Pierre, Marble City Bar and Italian Affair, a wonderful Italian restaurant in Bennettsbridge where Italy surely comes to you. la rivista Italian restaurant near high street and vindees thai restaurant on john street

  • Mediterranean-innSraid Chiarain (After entering from Rose Inn, can be seen on the left). Dishes are delicious and €10 is enough to fill up a hungry traveller.


The City of Kilkenny has a large array of pubs and clubs to suit all ages. While Parliament Street remains the traditional area for quiet, comfortable pubs, John Street is more for the younger clubbing crowd. The drinking age is 18 years of age. Pubs are open from 10:30-23:30 (12:30 Friday, Saturday), while off-licenses are open from 10:00-22:00 (12:30-22:00 Sundays).

Why not try the native Kilkenny beer or the native Smithwicks ale, famous the world over as the distinct taste.


  • Cleere’s Bar and Theatre28, Parliament St (Opposite the Watergate Theatre). Very popular bar that also puts on small shows in its theatre out back. The doorstep sandwiches and range of soups, including Roasted Red Pepper & Courgette,Pea & Lemon,Tomato Garlic & Chorizo,Broccolli & Almond will keep the hunger pangs away for the day.
  • The Grapevine Cafe Winebar6 Rose Inn St (30 seconds walk from The Parade),  +353 56 771-2956. 12:00 till late. Great wine, world beers, tapas and music 6 nights a week. Open for coffee daily too!
  • The Left BankParade (Right on the Parade),  +353 56 775-0016fax: +353 56 775-0018, e-mail: . A trendy bar in a former bank. This stunning building is in the heart of the city.
  • Kytelers InnKieran Stret +353 56 772-1064, e-mail: . Great old bar, full of character, tourists and locals. Has a great beer garden.
  • Matt the Millers1 John St (Right beside John's Bridge),  +353 56 776-1696fax: +353 56 777-1209, e-mail: . Very popular pub. Often has a late bar, so open after other pubs close.
  • The Marble City Bar66 High St.
  • [dead link]The Pumphouse (Opposite the Watergate Theatre). Great pub for a quite drink during the week, but can be very busy on weekends. Shows live sport.
  • The Field2 High St (City centre, over looking the Parade and Kilkenny Castle),  +353 56 770-2763, e-mail: . Very popular pub and restaurant. Often has a late bar during weekends and summer months, so open after other pubs close.



This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under €40
Mid-range €40-100
Splurge Over €100


There are two camp sites near by the city.


  • Aspect Hotel KilkennySmithsland South, Springhill, Co.Kilkenny (1.6 km from city centre),  +353 56 778-3100. Bright, spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi, parking and breakfast included in most room rates. Double from €65.
  • Club House HotelPatrick St +353 56 772-1994. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:30.
  • Fanad HouseCastle Rd +353 56 776-4126. This lovely Bed and Breakfast is in a beautiful setting, just across from the gates into the Castle Park.
  • Kilford ArmsJohn St +353 56 776-1018. A hotel just down from the train station and shopping centres.
  • Kilkenny Inn Hotel15-16 Vicar Street, Kilkenny City +353 56 777-2828. A Hotel on Vicar street, just down from St Canice's Cathedral, this is in the heart of the old town.
  • Newlands LodgeKells Rd (Head south from the Kells Road Roundabout, it is about 5 km on the left hand side),  +353 56 772-9862. This charming B&B is a few km outside the city but has one of the warmest welcomes you are ever likely to receive. €45 pppn.


  • Kilkenny Ormonde HotelOrmonde St +353 56 775-0200fax: +353 56 772-3977, e-mail: . One of Kilkenny's Premier Hotels. Includes a Leisure Club with swimming pool.
  • Lyrath Estate HotelDublin Rd +353 56 776-0088. Kilkenny's Premier Hotel. This Famous Hotel, Spa and Confrence Centre is set in rolling countryside, just a mere mile from the city centre. Its Renovated Building is a treat to dine in.
  • Mount Juliet Conrad HotelThomastown +353 56 777-3000. This fabulous hotel, set in one of Ireland's best golf courses which has played host to Tiger Woods and Pardaig Harrington, is a luxury. Its unbeatable setting with rivers, valleys and forests is worth a day in itself for fishing and riding.
  • Newpark HotelCastlecomer Rd +353 56 776-0500fax: +353 56 776-0555, e-mail: . Four star hotel, with a spa and swimming pool. About 15 minutes walk from the town centre. They have some great deals on their website.
  • The Pembroke HotelPatrick St +353 56 778-3500. Some of its rooms have a stunning view of the Castle. Kilkenny's Boutique Hotel is a culmination of style and luxury. It is no longer affiliated with the Ormonde Hotel.
  • Rivercourt HotelJohn St +353 56 772-3388. This stunning hotel, built on the banks of the River Nore with undoubtedly the most spectacular views of the Castle, is truly worth a stay.
  • Hotel KilkennyCollege Rd +353 56 776-2000. One of Kilkenny's best hotels.

Stay safe[edit]

Kilkenny is a very safe city with very little crime. Due to its small size, serious crime is almost non-existent. Emergency services can be reached by dialing 999 or 112.

Go next[edit]

Map of Kilkenny County

Indeed, while the principal attractions are to be found in Kilkenny city, there are many towns and villages around County Kilkenny which are well worth a visit.

  • Kells Augustinian PrioryKells (10 km from Kilkenny),  +353 56 772-8255. One of Ireland's best intact priories. This priory, surrounded by its old walls, was built in 1193 and contains celtic crosses from the 9th Century. These are some of the largest runes in the country and you are free to wander throughout the whole complex. There is a Round Tower and High Cross nearby. It is well worth a visit.
  • [dead link]Dunmore CavesDunmore (10 km from Kilkenny, off the N78),  +353 56 776-7726fax: +353 56 776-7262, e-mail: . 09:30-17:00 (15:00 Nov-Feb, 18:00 Mid Jun-Mid Sept). The show cave is incredibly well developed and is a wonder to walk around. €2.90 Adult, €1.30 Child.
  • [dead link]Jerpoint AbbeyThomastown (2.5 km west of Thomastown (N9)),  +353 56 772-4623. 10:00-17:00 (18:00 June-Sept, 16:00 Nov-Feb). Built in the 12th Century. It is Ireland's finest Cistercian monastic ruin with a magnificently sculptured cloister arcade. Includes visitor and exhibition centre. €2.90 Adult, €1.30 Child.


  • A Rural Experience (Tours leave from the Parade),  +353 56 772-7590fax: +353 56 772-7590, e-mail: . Runs day tours to different places in Co. Kilkenny and some neighboring counties.
  • Kilkenny City Tours (Tours leave from the Parade). 10:00-18:30. They run a 25 minute tour of the centre of the city taking in all the historic sites on a quirky black and amber bus/train. It goes from opposite the Castle.

Be sure to visit the beautiful and quaint village of Inistioge set on the banks of the river Nore, the setting for the film Circle of Friends and Widows Peak.

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