Your Guide to Visiting Kilkenny

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County Kilkenny is famous for conveying the energy of a city together with a medieval atmosphere; from the marble walls of Kilkenny to the villages in the rural countryside, this ancient county is a magical place.

If you stop by the city, don’t forget to visit Kilkenny Castle or the Smithwick’s Experience, an interactive guided tour at a 18th century brewery. Step out of the city and follow the towns and villages along the River Nore to discover a fairy tale landscape. Through Bennetsbridge, Thomastown, Inistioge and more, discover a landscape that harks back to ancient times and tales.

Kilkenny always has something new to explore, another hidden gem that you just might have missed the first time around. Don’t just plan one trip to Kilkenny – plan a few!

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Kilkenny Castle

The glorious Kilkenny Castle overlooks the River Nore and has shielded this important river crossing since the 11th century. The gardens, with extensive woodland paths, rose garden and ornamental lake, create the setting for a beautiful walk. Visitors are allowed to explore the castle at their leisure. Dedicated information officers can also guide you through the grounds and tell you more about the castle’s rich history. 

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St. Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower

The Cathedral is the second largest medieval church in Ireland after St Patrick’s in Dublin. It dates from the 13th century and is a marvellous example of the early English Gothic style, with its rustic stone walls and hammerbeam timber roof giving a glorious acoustic which the Kilkenny Arts Festival has used to great effect over the decades. St. Canice has its monastic foundation roots back in the 6th century, when the Kilkenny area was part of the Gaelic kingdom of Ossory; the importance of this ancient realm still resound in the current Diocese’s name. 

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Smithwick’s Experience

Explore the history of Smithwick’s with a visit to Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, Ireland’s oldest brewery. Experience and join a guided tour, follow the history of Ireland’s oldest beer from its medieval origins up to the present day. Learn about the brewing process while watching holograms of Franciscan monks brewing their tasty beers and finish your tour with a refreshing pint of Smithwick’s beer!


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