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Top Five Things to Do This Summer

Some of the best things to do and see in Kilkenny this summer


Tour Kilkenny by Foot

There are few cities in Ireland that are as accessible on foot as Kilkenny city is. Being outdoors is a big part of being in Kilkenny. From thrill-seekers to those looking for a more leisurely day out, there's loads of things to do in Kilkenny to make the most of the great outdoors. Just some of the places to visit without the car include...

1. The Medieval Mile

Ireland’s Medieval Mile, which runs from ‘Castle to Cathedral’ in the City, this discovery trail is an ideal way to enjoy the compactness of Kilkenny City on foot. 

Linking the the Anglo-Norman Kilkenny Castle and the13th Century St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower, the Medieval Mile takes in everything in between.  

Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland's most iconic and historic sites, year-round tours are available, and the parkland of the castle has 50 acres to explore. Just a stone’s throw away is the Kilkenny Design Centre & Foodhall filled with beautiful Kilkenny crafts.

From the magnificent Castle to the enchanting Rothe Gardens to St. Canice’s Round Tower, which at 30m is one of only three climbable towers in Ireland and the Medieval Mile Museum which was formerly the 13th century St Mary’s Church.

The Smithwick's Experience just a five minute walk from Kilkenny Castle, has guided tours running at regular intervals throughout the day, bringing visitors on a journey from the medieval origins of brewing and include a glass of Ireland’s most popular ale!.  www.smithwicksexperience.com

2. The Butler Gallery

While in Kilkenny take in an exhibition or a guided tour in the newly located Butler Gallery. Butler Gallery is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art galleries and museums offering a unique blend of art and history that will inspire you. Explore their significant collection of 20th century Irish art, discover contemporary work by living artists, take part in family friendly art activities, and find out about a heritage spanning 800 years in their historic building and walled gardens. Entry to the gallery is free. For more info on current exhibitions visit: www.butlergallery.ie 

3. Shopping

Kilkenny is home to an eclectic mix of retail outlets, craft centres and bespoke boutiques just waiting to be explored. Discover the very best of cut glass, pottery and handmade jewellery from a number of designers including the renowned Rudolf Heltzel Jewellery. 

Just a stone’s throw away from the Castle is the Kilkenny Design Centre, filled with beautiful Kilkenny crafts, the finest Irish handcrafted jewellery, knitwear, Celtic gifts, china and crystal, pottery and glass and stunning one off contemporary design.  In the craft yard too you'll find the National Craft Gallery and the studio of Castle Arch Pottery as well as JMK jewellers. 

For lovers of ladies’ fashion, Kilkenny has a super selection of stylish and designer boutiques that cater for both formal and casual wear, as well as the most wonderful small gift shops that are treasure troves of sparkly treats, homewares, toys and baby gifts.  For foodies, you'll find artisan chesses, organic fresh and the best local produce in The Little Green Grocer and on the same small street as the KIlkenny Ormonde Hotel,  irrsistible chocolates from the Truffle Fairy as well as flowers in Lamber de Bie; who shop's window alone is inspiring. 

Venture out of town in the countryside and you'll discover pictuesque villages and the studios of Jerpoint Glass, and Nicholas Mosse Pottery . 

www.madeinkilkenny.ie www.kilkennydesign.com

4. Walking Trails

Enjoy a walk along the banks of the River Nore on this wonderful walk that goes from Talbots Inch, North of the City, through town and past Kilkenny Castle, out into the countryside of County Kilken yto the village of Bennettsbridge - home to candlemaker Moth to a Falme and the studios and country shop of the famous Nicholas  Mosse Pottery. 

5. Cycling in KIlkenny

Hire a bike and explore the city on a guided cycling tour or feel free to roam on your own. With quiet back roads and a backdorop of  beautiful landscapes, Kilkenny is the perfect cycling and mountain biking destination. There are a number of cycling trails to follow created by Trail Kilkenny and you can browse them on www.trailkilkenny.ie  

Trail Kilkenny offers activity trails around the county that are designed to encourage you to get out and explore the countryside. Scenic walks that are varied; through woodland, over pastoral lands, country laneways. Enjoy a stroll along Kilkenny’s river valley, rich with flora and fauna and the heritage of Kilkenny’s past. Cycling Trails travel through some of Kilkenny’s most picturesque villages and inspiring scenery.

Outdoor Activities for Families

Kilkenny was made for family fun, come rain or shine, we have some great things to do with kids in Kilkenny, from thrill seekers and adrenaline hunters to nature lovers, time travellers, arts and sports fanatics, Kilkenny has plenty to keep every member of your family entertained. 

For animal lovers, Nore Valley Park offers families an opportunity to bottle feed the baby kids and lambs, or handle a small rabbit.  For the more adventurous kids activties, Dunmore Caves is the perfect location to go cave exploring with the kids and is just a 10-minute drive outside the city or for an adrenalin filled day then Castlecomer Discovery Park is the ideal activity park to keep everyone busy. Visit: www.discoverypark.ie. Alternatively, get on your bike and explore Kilkenny's No.1 Activity on TripAdvisor, that’s Kilkenny Cycling Tours! Visit: www.kilkennycyclingtours.com


There's so much to see and do for families in Kilkenny and you'll find youself perfectly located at the hub of it all at the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel. A few minutes walk away is the Kilkenny Castle Park and Playground, which is free entry and has extended opening hours in summer into late evening so,  its perfect if you fancy a stroll after enjoying Family Dining in our Hoban Bar & Brasserie.

Also in Kilkenny City, is the National Reptile Zoo

Meet some of the world’s rarest and most unusual animals at Ireland’s only reptile zoo! Situated in Kilkenny City, the National Reptile Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of these amazing creatures and their habitats. Open 10am to 6pm, seven days a week, year round, the zoo has over 50 exhibits, Animal Encounter Zone, Nocturnal Realm, Media Room, Education Rooms, Coffee Shop, Souvenir Shop and Play Area, we can keep the entire family entertained and educated all at once! When it comes to looking for things to do, the Reptile Zoo is the obvious answer!

Visit: www.nationalreptilezoo.ie

There are great days out too, for fun filled adventures including...

Castlecomer Discovery Park
For families who love an adrenalin filled day, then Castlecomer Discovery Park is the ideal place. The 80-acre activity park features a wide range of exhilarating activities for all ages, from the fun and challenging tree-top walk high amongst the sycamore trees to archery and zip lines. For the younger children, there’s a playground, an elf and fairy village, a giant bouncing net and a Junior Woodland Adventure Course where children navigate a series of low-risk challenges, balancing and steering their way through the obstacles.
Visit: www.discoverypark.ie

Woodstock Gardens
Explore the Kilkenny countryside with a visit to Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, overlooking the River Nore Valley and the picturesque village of Inistigoue. Features include a walled garden, rose garden, rockery garden, a recreated Turner Conservatory, a collection of rare and exotic trees in the arboretum and much more including many tranquil woodland walks.  A relaxing and beautiful environment in which to spend a day with the family! 

Visit: www.woodstock.ie

 Nore Valley Park

At Nore Valley Park, you will find everything from pet farms, archery, mini golf, go karts and tractor rides across the lush green lands of the farm! There is a packed timetable of events which includes interactions with animals like lambs, baby kids, chickens, ostriches and rabbits, some of which children get the opportunity to bottle feed!!

Set against the beautiful backdrop of this scenic valley, with acres of parkland and woodlands to explore, Nore Valley Park provides hours of amusement for the family. Walk the 3km nature trail or test your skills on their giant chess board!