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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, overlooking the banks of the river Nore, has been an important site since Strongbow or Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke constructed the first castle on the site, a wooden structure, in the 12th century. Highlights include The Medieval Room, The Drawing Room and The Chinese Bedroom. Tours of Kilkenny Castle are available year round, though it can be very busy during the summer so booking is advisable. Guided and self-guided tours are possible, depending on the time of year.
Once the medieval capital of Ireland, the city has a rich medieval heritage visible though its narrow streetscapes; its historical buildings and landmarks. The Medieval Mile Pass is your ticket in to the top tourist attractions in Kilkenny city. It also gives you discounts in various cafes and restaurants along the mile. This pass is available on sale at Reception for €39.00.
St Canice’s Cathedral was built between 1202 and 1285, and stands on an important ecclesiastical site, which has been a place of Christian prayer for over 800 years. In fact Cill Channigh is Irish for The Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century. The cathedral is Early Gothic in style and is built of limestone.The adjoining 9th century Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City and is one of only two Round Towers that can be climbed in Ireland. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower weather permitting; we can honestly say that the climb is worth the effort as it affords panoramic views over the medieval city of Kilkenny.
St Francis Abbey Brewery is also known as The Smithwick’s Experience. The tour takes visitors through 300 years of Smithwick’s family history, but 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 brings the history of Smithwick’s to life, by following the journey of Ireland’s oldest beer through the centuries. This is a truly interactive and multi-sensory tour, highlights include the living portraits of notable Smithwick’s family members talking amongst each other, listen closely and you will hear the truly amazing story of how Smithwick’s went from being a small local brewery to a beer that is famous all over the world.The Smithwick’s Experience is open 7 days a week.