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Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh, meaning "church of Cainnech") is a city located in south-east part of Ireland and the county town of County Kilkenny. It is on both banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster. The city is administered by a Borough Council and a Mayor which is a level below that of city council in the Local government of the state although the Local Government Act 2001 allows for "the continued use of the description city". The borough has a population of 8,711, but the majority of the population lives outside the borough boundary: the 2011 Irish Census gives the total population of the Borough and Environs as 24,423.
Kilkenny is a popular tourist destination. In 2009 the City of Kilkenny celebrated its 400th year since the granting of city status in 1609. Though referred to as a city, Kilkenny City is the size of a large town, most equatable in size to the town of Navan, situated on the banks of the Boyne in county Meath. Kilkenny's heritage is evident in the city and environs including the historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower,Rothe House, Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace's Castle, and St. John's Priory. Kilkenny is well known for its culture with craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Rhythm and Rootsfestival and the Source concert. It is a popular base from which to explore the surrounding towns, villages and countryside. Controversy exists at the moment around the Kilkenny Central Access Scheme which is a road proposed to be built through the city centre.
Kilkenny began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical foundation within the kingdom of Ossory. Following Norman invasion of Ireland, Kilkenny Castle and a series of walls were built to protect the burghers of what became a Norman merchant town. William Marshall,Lord of Leinster, gave Kilkenny a charter as a town in 1207. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irishcontrol. The Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter giving it the status of a city. Following the Rebellion of 1641, the Irish Catholic Confederation, also known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649.
Kilkenny was a famous brewing centre from the late seventeenth century. In the late twentieth century Kilkenny is a tourist and creative centre.
The Heritage Council offices are located at Church Lane. The seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossory is at St. Mary's Cathedral and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory is at St. Canice's Cathedral. Nearby larger cities include Waterford 45 kilometres (28 mi) south-southeast, Limerick 93 kilometres (58 mi) west and Dublin 101 kilometres (63 mi) northeast.
|POPULATION :||• Total 24,423|
• Borough 8,711
• Environs 15,712
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone GMT/WET (UTC)|
• Summer (DST) IST/WEST (UTC+1)
|LANGUAGE :||English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official)|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 87.4%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, other Christian 1.9%, other 2.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.2%|
|AREA :||3.74 km2 (1.44 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||60 m (200 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||52.6477°N 7.2561°W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.7%|
• Female: 50.3%
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||056 (+35356)|
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.
Sightseeing, partying or a spot of shopping in Kilkenny's array of excellent shops, this city is certain to have it all for everyone.
The history of Kilkenny began with an early sixth century ecclesiastical foundation, with a church built in honour of St. Canice which is now St. Canice's Cathedral, and was a major monastic centre from at least the eighth century. The Annals of the Four Masters recorded the first reference Cill Chainnigh in 1085. Prehistoric activity has been recorded suggesting intermittent settlement activity in the area in the Mesolithic and Bronze Age. Information on the history of Kilkenny can be found from newspapers, photographs, letters, drawings, manuscripts and archaeology. Kilkenny is documented in manuscripts from the 13th century onwards and one of the most important of these is Liber Primus Kilkenniensis.
The Kings of Ossory had residence around Cill Chainnigh. The seat of diocese of Kingdom of Osraige was moved from Aghaboe to Cill Chainnigh. Following Norman invasion of Ireland, Richard Strongbow, as Lord of Lenister, established a castle near modern-day Kilkenny Castle. William Marshall began the development of the town of Kilkenny and a series of walls to protect the burghers. By the late thirteenth century Kilkenny was under Norman-Irish control. The original ecclesiastical centre at St. Canice's Cathedral became known asIrishtown and the Anglo-Norman borough inside the wall came to be known as Hightown.
The Hiberno-Norman presence in Kilkenny was deeply shaken by the Black Death, which arrived in 1348. The Statutes of Kilkenny passed at Kilkenny in 1367, aimed to curb the decline of the Hiberno-Norman Lordship of Ireland. In 1609 King James I of England granted Kilkenny a Royal Charter giving it the status of a city. Following the Rebellion of 1641, the Irish Catholic Confederation, also known as the "Confederation of Kilkenny", was based in Kilkenny and lasted until the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in 1649. James II of England spent most of the winter months from November 1689 until January 1690 at Kilkenny, residing in the castle.
The Kilkenny Design Workshops were opened in 1965 and in 1967 the Marquess of Ormonde presented Kilkenny Castle to the people of Kilkenny. Today, the city has a lively cultural scene, with annual events including the Kilkenny Arts Week Festival in the last two weeks of August, and the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival at the beginning of June. Kilkenny is also where the Irish ale, Smithwick's, was first brewed. There is now a brewery tour on the foundations of the original brewery. The City has been referred to as the Marble City. People from Kilkenny are often referred to as Cats. The seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ossoryis at St. Mary's Cathedral and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossoryis at St. Canice's Cathedral.
The climate of Kilkenny, like the climate of Ireland, is a changeable oceanic climate with few extremes. It is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, or Cfb on the Köppen climate classification system. Kilkenny lies in plant Hardiness zone 9.
Weatherwise, Kilkenny is generally representative of wide river valleys in the region with low temperatures on cloudless nights, and is significant in that it records some of the highest summer and lowest winter temperatures in Ireland. The highest air temperature ever recorded in Ireland was 33.3 °C (91.9 °F), at Kilkenny Castle on26 June 1887.
The Met Éireann Kilkenny Weather Observing Station, 2 km north-west of Kilkenny City centre, on the Duningstown Road, opened in May 1957, and observations ceased in April 2008. A climatological station is currently in operation within 1 km of the old site, and as of March 2010, was providing live weather data to the general public and climate data to Met Éireann.
Extremes recorded at the station include the highest air temperature of 31.5 °C (88.7 °F) on 29 June 1976, the lowest air temperature of −14.1 °C (6.6 °F) on 2 January 1979 and the lowest ground temperature of −18.1 °C (−0.6 °F) on12 January 1982. The maximum daily sunshine was 16.3 hours on18 June 1978.
The warmest and sunniest month on record in Kilkenny was August 1995 with a total of 274.9 hours sunshine and very high temperatures throughout. The maximum daily sunshine was 16.3 hours on 18 June 1978. The overall trend in temperatures has been on the rise with a marked increase from 1988 onwards. Annual temperatures are running over 0.5 degrees or 0.9°F above 20th century levels.
The maximum daily rainfall recorded at Kilkenny station was 66.4 millimetres (2.61 in) on 17 July 1983.The late 1950s and early 1960s were wet but rainfall had been steady throughout the century. 2002 was a very wet year and since 2005 annual rainfall has been increased steadily, with 2009 being the wettest year since records commenced in 1958.
At the centre of the county, Kilkenny is in a sheltered location, 66 kilometres (41 mi) inland and is surrounded by hills over 200 metres (660 ft), which ensures that it is not a windy location. The highest wind gust of 77 knots, from a south-west direction, was recorded on 12 January 1974.
Climate data for Kilkenny
|Record high °C (°F)||14.1|
|Average high °C (°F)||8.2|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||4.9|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.6|
|Record low °C (°F)||−14.1|
Kilkenny is situated in the Nore Valley on both banks of the River Nore, at the centre of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland. The first edition of the Ordnance Survey map for Kilkenny was in 1837 and is held by the County Library.
The elevation is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level. The area of Kilkenny borough is 3.74 square kilometres (1.44 sq mi). Kilkenny is the smallest city in Ireland and although all cities in Ireland are by the coast or along a river Kilkenny is the only city that is not tidal.
It is 117 kilometres (73 mi) away the capital Dublin and 48 kilometres (30 mi) north from the nearest city Waterford. Wexford is 80 kilometres (50 mi) to the south-east and Limerick is 122 kilometres (76 mi) to the west.
Prices in Kilkenny
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.00|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€11.50|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€35.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€55.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€4.50|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€4.50|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.25|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€10.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M )||1||€|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas )||1||€|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€|
Transportation - Get In
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 117km 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.
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 Dublin - Waterford 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).
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.
- Carlow - about 30min. 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 8km 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 40min. 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).
Transportation - Get Around
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.
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 170secs, followed by €1.03 per km up to 14km. If you have any problems contact the Taxi Regulator .
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.
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.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
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), . 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), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].
- 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.
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.
- All That Glitters, Ladywell Corner, Thomastown, , e-mail: [email protected]. Kilkenny is known as the marble city. This designer makes necklaces from local marble and other gems/stones.
- Clay Creations, Low St, . 10:00-13:00, 14:00-17:30 W-Sa. Ceramic studio that makes comtempory, original designs. There is also a gallery.
- Chesneau Leather Goods, Bennettsbridge, Co., , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. For over 30 years, French designer Edmond Chesneau has been creating stylish handbags in Kilkenny
- Jerpoint Glass Studio and Gallery, Stoneyford, , e-mail: [email protected]. 10:00-18:00 M-Sa, 12:00-17:00 Su. A family run glass studio production handmade items since 1979.
- Keith Mosse Woodworking. With over two decades of experience making handcrafted furniture and other wooden items
- Moth to a Flame, Bennettsbridge, . M-Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 12:00-18:00. Distinctive and stylish handmade Irish candles. See the candles being made in the workshop.
- Nicholas Mosse Pottery, Bennettsbridge, . M-Sa 10:00-18:00, Sun 13:30-17:00. The famous pottery of Ireland has its workshop just a few minutes south of the city.
- Rosemarie Durr Pottery, Castlecomer Discovery Park, Castleomer.Beautiful hand made pottery perfect for any home or gift.
- Stonware Jackson Pottery, Bennettsbridge, , fax:. M-Sa 10:00-18:00. Hand thrown ceramics lamps and tableware, with 2 colour glazing and Celtic motifs €250+.
Kilkenny has an excellent selection of some of the finest restaurants around, including many luxury and traditional places to eat.
- Café Sol, William St,. 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.
- The Grapevine Café/ Winebar, 6 Rose Inn St (30 seconds from The Parade on the right.), . 12PM till late. Serving wine, world beers and great tapas in a wonderful old world meets contemporary setting. Live music most weekends.
- Jacobs Cottage, 1 Ormonde St (Found in the Hibernian Hotel), . 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 Centre, Castle Yard, . 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 Inn, Kieran 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.
- Rinuccini, 1 The Parade, . 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 Boutique, 80 John St, , ,fax: . 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.
- Zuni, 26 Patrick St, . 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-inn, Sraid 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.
Sights & Landmarks
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, . 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.
- Kilkenny Castle and Gardens, Parade, . 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 Abbey, Abbey 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 House, Parliament St, . 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 Cathedral, Irishtown, . 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 Courthouse, Parliament 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 House, Butler 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 Kilkenny, Parliament St, . 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 Cathedral, James 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.
- Tholsel, High 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 Centre, Parade (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 College, College 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 Evangelist, Dublin 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 Hall, John 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 Hall, St 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 Wall, off 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 Tower, off 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
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.
Things to do
- Craft Council of Ireland, Castle Yard (Opposite Castle, behind Kilkenny Design Craft Centre), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].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 Event, Stoneyford. But run in location of choice, .This group whiskey tasting has some excellent reviews. Learn about whiskey and try some rare Irish whiskies.
- Watergate Theatre, Parliament St, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. 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.
- 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, , e-mail:[email protected]. 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 Tours, Tourist Office, Rose Inn St, , e-mail: [email protected]. 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.
- Watch a Hurling Match, Nowlan 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 Golf Course, Glendine, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. A members owned 18-hole golf course. Can rent clubs. Green fees €25-45.
- Pococke Golf Course. A par 3 course for beginners to the game.
- Kilkenny Driving Range, Newpark, .
- Lacken Pitch and Putt, St. Canice's Hospital Grounds, Dublin Rd, .
Festivals and events
- 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.
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 Theatre, 28, 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 Winebar, 6 Rose Inn St (30 seconds walk from The Parade), . 12:00 till late. Great wine, world beers, tapas and music 6 nights a week. Open for coffee daily too!
- The Left Bank, Parade (Right on the Parade), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. A trendy bar in a former bank. This stunning building is in the heart of the city.
- Kytelers Inn, Kieran Stret, , e-mail:[email protected]. Great old bar, full of character, tourists and locals. Has a great beer garden.
- Matt the Millers, 1 John St (Right beside John's Bridge), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].Very popular pub. Often has a late bar, so open after other pubs close.
- The Marble City Bar, 66 High St.
- 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 Field, 2 High St (City centre, over looking the Parade and Kilkenny Castle), , e-mail: [email protected]. Very popular pub and restaurant. Often has a late bar during weekends and summer months, so open after other pubs close.
- Langtons Club (Langtons House Hotel), 67 John St, , e-mail: [email protected]. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 22:00. Very popular nightclub in a beautiful ballroom that is also used for weddings.
- Magnums, 13 Parliament St, . Ultra luxurious and excellent fun.
- O'Faolain's Club 51, 51 John St, . Excellent fun with an old ruin inside.
Safety in Kilkenny
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.
- Kilkenny Garda Station, Dominic St, , fax: .
- St. Luke's General Hospital, , fax: .