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Things to do & Leisure

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Culture & Heritage

 

Kilkenny city and county has an abundance of historical sites with it’s fine castles, cathedrals and abbeys. The most famous being Jerpoint Abbey in Thomastown, Duiske Abbey in Graignamanagh within an easy drive not to mention St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower in Kilkenny city. Clara Castle a well preserved 15th century castle with some original features is worth a visit along with The Lory Meagher Homestead and GAA museum in Tullaroan.

Please see below just a sample of some of the wonderful attractions to visit. Other wonderful attractions to visit in the city include St.Canices Cathedral and Black Abbey and other great day trips to consider are a visit to Woodstock Gardens in Inistioge and Castlecomer Discovery Park.

For a full list of FREE attractions in Kilkenny City and County please visit www.visitkilkenny.ie

 
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Kilkenny Castle

Rising above the Nore, Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland's most visited heritage sites. The first structure on this strategic site was a wooden tower built in 1172 by Richard de Clare, the Anglo-Norman conqueror of Ireland better known as ‘Strongbow’. In 1192, Strongbow's son-in-law, William Marshall, erected a stone castle with four towers, three of which survive.

The castle was bought by the powerful Butler family in 1391, and their descendants continued to live there until 1935. Maintaining such a structure became a big financial strain and most of the furnishings were sold at auction. The castle was handed over to the city in 1967 for the princely sum of £50. Kilkenny Castle today offers a range of cultural facilities and public amenities and is set 50 acres of extensive gardens and parkland.

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The Smithwicks Experience @ St. Francis Abbey Brewery

Over 300 years ago in 1710, John Smithwick began brewing his first Ales, although the Smithwick’s story started long before then. Back in the 13th century the Franciscans established an Abbey, with its own well, on the banks of the River Nore in Kilkenny. The strong brewing tradition that exists in Kilkenny started with these monks who would have brewed their own light ale for their visitors, using water from St.Francis’s well.

To this day the Abbey stands proudly at the heart of the brewery and continues to inspire the brewers. The guided walking tour starts with a visit to the exhibition, giving some background from the founding of the Abbey to the present, through visuals and audio, covering the family history and growth of Smithwicks.

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Rothe House & Gardens

Rothe House & Garden, a historic house in Kilkenny is the only example of an early 17th century merchant’s townhouse in Ireland. Rothe House is the centre for Irish genealogy in Kilkenny city and county and you can research your Kilkenny family history with us. Built between 1594 and 1610, Rothe House is steeped in rich local and national history and a visit is high on the list of things to do in Kilkenny.

The House and Garden are owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, and managed by Rothe House Trust. The House is open to the public as a m, displaying some of the 2,500 historic artefacts collected by the Society since its founding in 1947. These artefacts all relate to Kilkenny heritage throughout the ages and some date from pre-historic times. The Garden, open since 2008, is a reconstruction of an early 17th century urban garden, and has become a very popular garden to visit in Ireland.

 
Nicholas Mosse

Nicholas Mosse Pottery

Nicholas Mosse has been a potter since he was seven and a visit to his riverside shop in Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny is a must. His earthenware is made from Irish clay, fired with home grown Irish waterpower and decorated with traditional motifs inspired by old Irish spongeware. It’s universal charm and appeal have made it loved and sought after throughout the world. Visitors can browse among a huge selection of Nicholas Mosse pottery, linen and glass, over 3 floors of the store. There is also room for all budding young artists to decorate the pottery in their own, unique way in the decorating and spongeware studio.

 
 
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