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The Marble City has become renowned country wide for its diverse range of festivals most of which take place on an annual basis. Kilkenny’s intimate size and atmospheric setting make it an ideal location for the many festivals and events it has become so famous for. With music spilling onto the streets and venues within walking distance of each other, the whole city celebrates. For festivals and events, Kilkenny has it all.
As well as world-renowned festivals such as Kilkenny Arts Festival and The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, there are many smaller events happening throughout the year in both city and county. From horse-racing to conker festivals, it’s a great way to experience some local fun and creativity.
Once the medieval capital of Ireland, the city has a rich medieval heritage visible though its narrow streetscapes; its historical buildings and landmarks.
One of the best and unique features of Kilkenny is its compactness allowing you explore everything it has to offer on foot, just be sure to allow yourself enough time to experience it all. Enjoy our city!
Kilkenny Castle overlooks the banks of the River Nore. Strongbow or Richard de Clare, Second Earl of Pembroke constructed the first castle in the 12th century. Visit the Medieval Room, the Drawing Room, and the Chinese Bedroom. Tours available year round. Booking in summer and busy seasons is recommended. Guided and self-guided tours are available, depending on time of year.
Medieval Mile is one of the top tourist attractions in Kilkenny. The allocated Medieval Mile Pass is your ticket to the past. It includes discounts in various cafes and restaurants along the Mile and is available from hotel reception.
St Canice’s Cathedral was built between 1202 and 1285. It is built upon a sacred ecclesiastical site, which has been a place of Christian prayer for over 800 years. Cill Channigh is Irish for “The Church of Canice”, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century. The adjoining Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny. It is one of only two Round Towers that may be climbed throughout the island of Ireland. Tourists can enjoy this climb, weather permitting, and be gifted panoramic views of the medieval city.
St Francis Abbey Brewery, also known as The Smithwick’s Experience, takes visitors through 300 years of Smithwick’s family history. The journey begins in 1231, when the monks of St Francis Abbey discovered a way to purify water and turn it into ale. This interactive tour breathes life into the history of Smithwick’s, Ireland’s oldest beer. See the living portraits of Smithwick’s family members and listen closely to hear the tantalising tale of how Smithwick’s progressed from local product to world-famous ale. Experience opens seven days a week.
Hurling Tours Ireland
Hurling Hurling Tours Ireland give guests an experience that simply cannot be got in any other city in the world. They start with an introduction to the 3000-year-old national sport, Hurling. The experience starts at O’Loughlin Gaels GAA Grounds in Kilkenny City 5 minutes before the tour is due to begin. You will be given a warm welcome, a hurl (stick) and sliotar (ball) to examine before the presentation starts. Grasping a hurl for the first time is something special and you will immediately feel a sense of intrigue. The presentation is all done in a Hurling team’s dressing room, giving guests that up-close, intense experience. Here you will get to understand the rules, scoring, history and action clips of Hurling. After the 15 minutes presentation the appetite is certainly whet. You will then be very keen to hit the field and try this sport for yourselves.