Welcome to Kilkenny, Ireland’s medieval city and the ultimate destination for travelers seeking a perfect blend of history, culture, and adventure. There are many things to do in Kilkenny. With its charming narrow streets, ancient landmarks, and vibrant nightlife, Kilkenny is a city that has something for everyone.
Whether you are a beer lover, a history buff, an art enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, Kilkenny will surprise you with its unique and diverse attractions.
In this article, we have compiled a list of 51 unique things to do in Kilkenny that will take you on a journey through time and space, from the magnificent Kilkenny Castle to the quirky Smithwick’s Brewery, and everything in between. So, fasten your seatbelts, and get ready for an unforgettable experience in one of Ireland’s most charming cities.
Adventurous things to do in Kilkenny
Kilkenny is not only known for its medieval history and beautiful landscapes but also for its adrenaline-pumping adventures. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or just looking for a little excitement, Kilkenny has something for everyone. From outdoor activities to indoor experiences, here are some of the thrilling things to do in Kilkenny.
Go Ziplining at Castlecomer Discovery Park
This adventure park is home to Ireland’s longest zipline, where you can soar through the air and take in the stunning views of the surrounding forest.
Kayak on the River Nore
Paddle your way down the river and discover Kilkenny’s natural beauty from a different perspective. You can also choose to go on a guided tour or rent a kayak for a self-guided adventure. It is one of the top things to do in Kilkenny.
Try Rock Climbing at Dunmore Cave
Explore the underground world of Dunmore Cave and challenge yourself by climbing the cave’s natural rock formations. The experience is both exhilarating and educational.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Get a bird’s eye view of Kilkenny and its surrounding countryside as you float above the clouds in a hot air balloon. This is a unique and unforgettable way to see the city and its beautiful landscapes.
Go Horseback Riding
Explore Kilkenny’s countryside on horseback and take in the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace. You can choose from a variety of trails and routes, and the experience is suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.
For people who love horse riding, it is one of the top things to do in Kilkenny.
Play Paintball at Delta Force
Get your adrenaline pumping as you battle it out with friends or family in an exciting game of paintball. Delta Force offers a variety of themed arenas and challenges, making for an action-packed day out. It can be one of the most enjoyable things to do in Kilkenny.
Visit the Kilkenny Activity Centre
This indoor activity centre has something for everyone, from archery and laser tag to high ropes and a giant inflatable obstacle course. It’s a great place to go on a rainy day or for a fun-filled family day out.
Kilkenny offers a wide range of adventurous activities that are sure to get your heart racing. Whether you’re looking for a high-speed thrill or a more leisurely adventure, you’ll find it all in this beautiful Irish city.
Relaxing things to do in Kilkenny
Kilkenny offers a unique blend of history, culture, and nature that’s sure to leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Whether you’re interested in exploring medieval castles, strolling through beautiful gardens, or simply enjoying a pint of Guinness in a cozy pub, Kilkenny has something to offer everyone. Here are some of the most relaxing things to do in Kilkenny.
Visit Kilkenny Castle
Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque gardens and grounds of Kilkenny Castle, which dates back to the 12th century. Learn about the castle’s history and enjoy stunning views of the River Nore.
Walk along the River Nore
Take a peaceful walk along the banks of the River Nore, which winds its way through the city. Enjoy the serene atmosphere and take in the scenic views of the surrounding countryside. Walking along the quiet and peaceful river is one of the top things to do in Kilkenny.
Explore the Butler Gallery
The Butler Gallery is located in the beautiful surroundings of Kilkenny Castle and showcases contemporary Irish and international art. Take your time browsing the exhibits and appreciate the beauty of the artwork.
Relax in a traditional Irish pub
Take a break from your sightseeing and relax in one of Kilkenny’s cozy pubs. Enjoy a pint of Guinness or a hot whiskey and soak up the warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Visit the National Craft Gallery
Located in the heart of Kilkenny, the National Craft Gallery is the perfect place to learn about traditional Irish crafts and contemporary design. Admire the intricate details and beautiful craftsmanship of the exhibits.
Take a horse-drawn carriage ride
Experience the old-world charm of Kilkenny with a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the city’s historic streets. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Kilkenny from a unique perspective. You can enjoy such great things to do in Kilkenny.
Visit St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower
Take a peaceful stroll through the grounds of St. Canice’s Cathedral and admire the beautiful architecture of the cathedral and the towering round tower. Climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Relax in a spa
Indulge in some much-needed relaxation with a spa day in one of Kilkenny’s luxurious spas. Unwind with a massage, facial, or body treatment and leave feeling renewed and refreshed.
Take a picnic in the park
Pack a picnic and head to one of Kilkenny’s beautiful parks, such as the Castle Park or the Riverside Park. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon surrounded by nature. It can be one of the top to spend some quality time with your family,
Go for a bike ride
Explore the countryside around Kilkenny on two wheels with a leisurely bike ride. Take in the fresh air and beautiful scenery as you cycle through the rolling hills and lush green fields.
Family-friendly things to do in Kilkenny
There is a plethora of family-friendly things to do in Kilkenny, which cater to all ages. From exploring historical sites to indulging in delicious treats, Kilkenny has something for everyone. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Kilkenny’s welcoming atmosphere and family-friendly attractions make it the perfect destination for a memorable family vacation.
Explore the magnificent Kilkenny Castle, which dates back to the 12th century. This majestic structure boasts beautiful gardens, a grand entrance hall, and a magnificent library. Visitors can also enjoy a guided tour of the castle and learn about its rich history. Visiting this castle is one of the must-do things to do in Kilkenny.
National Reptile Zoo
Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most fascinating reptiles at the National Reptile Zoo. The zoo is home to over 50 different species of reptiles and offers interactive tours that allow visitors to hold and touch the animals.
Castlecomer Discovery Park
Located just a short drive from Kilkenny city, Castlecomer Discovery Park is a must-visit for families. This stunning park boasts beautiful woodland trails, lakes, and a range of exciting activities, including zip lining, high ropes courses, and kayaking. Visiting this park is one of the best things to do in Kilkenny if heading out with your family.
Discover the fascinating history of Ireland’s oldest brewery at the Smithwick’s Experience. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery and learn about the brewing process before enjoying a pint of the famous ale.
Medieval Mile Museum
Step back in time and explore Kilkenny’s medieval past at the Medieval Mile Museum. This impressive museum showcases the city’s rich history through a range of interactive exhibits, including a recreated 16th-century merchant’s townhouse.
Kilkenny Ghost Tours
For a spooky family adventure, take a guided tour of Kilkenny’s haunted streets with Kilkenny Ghost Tours. The tour includes chilling tales of ghosts, witches, and paranormal activity, making it the perfect evening activity for families with older children. Taking your kids on such tours is one of the top things to do in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny Famine Experience
Learn about Ireland’s tragic past at the Kilkenny Famine Experience. This interactive museum tells the story of the Great Famine through a range of exhibits and multimedia displays, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of this significant event in Irish history.
Enjoy a fun-filled day out at Jerpoint Park, a family-run farm located just outside Kilkenny city. Visitors can feed the animals, take a boat trip on the river, and learn about traditional Irish farming practices. You must definitely include it in your things to do in Kilkenny list.
Nore Valley Park
Located just a short drive from Kilkenny city, Nore Valley Park is a working farm that offers a range of family-friendly activities. From cuddling cute baby animals to riding on a tractor, this park is perfect for families with young children.
Kilkenny Cycling Tours
Explore the city on two wheels with Kilkenny Cycling Tours. The tour takes visitors on a leisurely cycle around Kilkenny’s historic sites, including Kilkenny Castle and St. Canice’s Cathedral. With bikes and helmets provided, this is a great way to see the city while staying active.
Romantic things to do in Kilkenny
Kilkenny, with its cobbled streets and medieval architecture, provides a magical setting for romantic couples seeking a picturesque getaway. This charming Irish city is filled with an abundance of romantic things to do and see, from strolling hand in hand through beautiful parks and gardens to indulging in fine dining experiences. Here are some of the top romantic things to do in Kilkenny:
Take a romantic walk through Kilkenny Castle’s park and gardens
The stunning gardens and parklands surrounding Kilkenny Castle are perfect for a leisurely stroll with your partner. The beautiful scenery, ornate fountains, and historic features create a romantic ambiance that is hard to resist.
Enjoy a candlelit dinner at Ristorante Rinuccini
Treat your loved one to a special dinner at this award-winning Italian restaurant. With its intimate atmosphere, excellent wine list, and delectable cuisine, Ristorante Rinuccini is the perfect spot for a romantic meal. It is one of the most romantic things to do in Kilkenny.
Explore the beautiful streets of Kilkenny on a horse-drawn carriage ride
What could be more romantic than taking a leisurely ride through the picturesque streets of Kilkenny on a horse-drawn carriage? Snuggle up under a blanket as your driver points out the city’s historic landmarks and hidden gems.
Take in a show at the Watergate Theatre
For couples who enjoy the arts, the Watergate Theatre is a must-visit destination. With a diverse program of theatre, music, and comedy, this intimate venue provides the perfect setting for a romantic evening out. It can be one of the best things to do in Kilkenny to spend some great time with your loved ones.
Visit the Black Abbey
This ancient monastery is a true hidden gem of Kilkenny, and is a must-visit for couples who appreciate history and architecture. The impressive Gothic architecture, beautiful stained glass windows, and tranquil atmosphere make it an unforgettable experience.
Enjoy a romantic picnic in the Castle Park
Pack a picnic basket with your favorite treats and head to the Castle Park for a romantic afternoon. Spread out a blanket and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you savor delicious food and each other’s company.
Take a hot air balloon ride over the city
For couples seeking an unforgettable experience, a hot air balloon ride over Kilkenny is a must-do. Soar above the city and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside as you create memories that will last a lifetime. It is one of the best things to do in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny offers an abundance of romantic activities and attractions that are perfect for couples looking for a memorable getaway. With its historic charm and stunning natural beauty, this Irish gem is sure to captivate and inspire.
Social things to do in Kilkenny
Kilkenny is a charming city that offers visitors a wealth of cultural and social experiences. From historic landmarks to lively pubs, Kilkenny has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s rich history, experiencing the local arts scene, or simply enjoying the company of friendly locals over a pint, Kilkenny is the perfect destination for a memorable social adventure. Here are some of the top social things to do in Kilkenny:
Explore Kilkenny Castle
One of Ireland’s most iconic landmarks, Kilkenny Castle is a must-visit destination for history buffs and culture lovers. The castle was built in the 12th century and has served as a symbol of power and prestige for centuries. Visitors can explore the castle’s opulent interiors, stroll through its beautiful gardens, and learn about the history of the area. It can be one of the best things to do in Kilkenny you can do with your family.
Take a walking tour of the city
Kilkenny is a city steeped in history and tradition, and there’s no better way to explore its streets than on foot. There are a variety of walking tours available, ranging from historical tours that focus on the city’s medieval past to pub crawls that highlight Kilkenny’s lively nightlife.
Visit St. Canice’s Cathedral
This stunning cathedral dates back to the 13th century and is one of Kilkenny’s most iconic landmarks. Visitors can marvel at its intricate architecture and stained glass windows, climb to the top of its tower for breathtaking views of the city, and learn about the cathedral’s rich history.
Enjoy traditional Irish music at a local pub
Kilkenny is renowned for its lively pub scene, and there’s no better way to experience the city’s culture and hospitality than by enjoying a pint of Guinness and some traditional Irish music. Many of the city’s pubs offer live music sessions throughout the week, providing the perfect opportunity to relax and socialize with locals and fellow travelers. It is one of the most social things to do in Kilkenny.
Discover the local arts scene
Kilkenny is home to a vibrant arts community, with a variety of galleries, theaters, and cultural centers to explore. From contemporary art exhibitions to traditional Irish dance performances, there’s always something happening in Kilkenny’s cultural scene.
Sample local cuisine at a food festival
Kilkenny is famous for its delicious food, and there are a variety of food festivals throughout the year that showcase the city’s culinary delights. From the Kilkenny Food Trail to the Savour Kilkenny Festival, visitors can enjoy a range of gourmet experiences that celebrate the best of Irish cuisine.
Explore the River Nore
The River Nore flows through the heart of Kilkenny, providing a stunning backdrop for a range of outdoor activities. Visitors can go kayaking or canoeing, take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank, or simply relax and soak up the natural beauty of the area.
Taking a walk by the river can be one of the most refreshing things to do in Kilkenny.
Festive and eventful things to do in Kilkenny
Kilkenny is also known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere. Its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and stunning scenery make it the perfect destination for a festive and eventful getaway. Whether you’re interested in music, culture, or history, Kilkenny has something for everyone. From traditional music sessions to food festivals and art exhibitions, here are some of the best things to do in Kilkenny to make your visit a memorable one.
Kilkenny Arts Festival
Every August, the city hosts the Kilkenny Arts Festival, a ten-day celebration of music, theatre, dance, and visual arts. The festival attracts thousands of visitors each year and features both local and international artists.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
On March 17th, Kilkenny comes alive with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The city’s streets are filled with music, dancing, and colourful floats, making it a must-see event for anyone visiting Ireland during the holiday. It is one of the most eventful things to do in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
If you’re looking for some laughs, head to Kilkenny in June for the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival. The festival features top comedians from Ireland and around the world, as well as up-and-coming talent.
Savour Kilkenny Food Festival
In October, foodies flock to Kilkenny for the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival. The festival celebrates the best of Irish food and drink, with cooking demonstrations, tastings, and workshops. If you are a foodie, you must definitely add this to your things to do in Kilkenny list.
The Kilkenny Tradfest, held in March, is a celebration of traditional Irish music and dance. The festival features concerts, sessions, and workshops, and attracts some of the biggest names in Irish music.
Beer lovers shouldn’t miss the Smithwick’s Experience, a tour of the historic Smithwick’s brewery in Kilkenny. The tour takes visitors through the brewing process and includes tastings of the brewery’s famous ales.
No visit to Kilkenny would be complete without a visit to Kilkenny Castle. The stunning 12th-century castle has been beautifully restored and is open to the public for tours.
Rothe House and Gardens
Another must-see attraction in Kilkenny is Rothe House and Gardens. The historic house and gardens offer a glimpse into Kilkenny’s past, with exhibits on local history and culture. It is one of the must-do things to do in Kilkenny.
History buffs will love Jerpoint Abbey, a stunning 12th-century Cistercian monastery located just outside Kilkenny. The ruins are beautifully preserved and offer a fascinating insight into medieval life.
Walk the Medieval Mile
Take a stroll through Kilkenny’s medieval past on the Medieval Mile, a walking tour that takes in some of the city’s most historic sites, including St. Canice’s Cathedral and the Tholsel.
It’s a wrap!
In conclusion, Kilkenny is a city that truly has it all – from the bustling city center to the tranquil countryside, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, a foodie, or simply looking to relax and unwind, Kilkenny has 51 unique experiences waiting for you. From exploring ancient castles to savoring craft beers, and everything in between, Kilkenny is a city that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Kilkenny today and discover all the wonders this city has to offer.
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- What are the must-visit attractions in Kilkenny?
Answer: Some of the must-visit attractions in Kilkenny include Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice's Cathedral, The Black Abbey, The Medieval Mile Museum, and The Smithwick's Experience.
- How much time should I spend in Kilkenny?
Answer: Ideally, you should spend at least 2-3 days in Kilkenny to explore the city's major attractions and experience its unique culture and history.
- What is the best time of year to visit Kilkenny?
Answer: The best time to visit Kilkenny is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is pleasant, and many festivals and events take place.
- Are there any guided tours available in Kilkenny?
Answer: Yes, there are several guided tours available in Kilkenny, including walking tours, bike tours, and bus tours. You can book these tours through local tour operators or online.
- What are some of the best restaurants and pubs in Kilkenny?
Answer: Some of the best restaurants and pubs in Kilkenny include The Marble City Bar & Tea Rooms, The Dylan Whisky Bar, The Hole in the Wall, and Langton's.
- How can I get around Kilkenny?
Answer: Kilkenny is a small city, and most of its attractions are within walking distance of each other. However, you can also use public transportation or hire a taxi to get around the city.
- What are some of the best shopping destinations in Kilkenny?
Answer: Some of the best shopping destinations in Kilkenny include Kilkenny Design Centre, The Market Cross Shopping Centre, and High Street.
- Are there any family-friendly attractions in Kilkenny?
Answer: Yes, there are several family-friendly attractions in Kilkenny, including Castlecomer Discovery Park, The National Reptile Zoo, and The Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience.
- What is the currency used in Kilkenny?
Answer: Kilkenny is located in the Republic of Ireland, and the currency used is the Euro (€).
- Are there any accommodation options in Kilkenny?
Answer: Yes, there are several accommodation options in Kilkenny, including hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, and self-catering apartments. You can book these accommodations online or through local tour operators.
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