3 Days in Kilkenny
Add Michelin star restaurants, medieval museums, guided walking tours, Viking treasure troves and, of course, the world-famous 12th century Kilkenny Castle.
Standing on the doorstep of The Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel, you will spot a symbolic shadow peering through the trees just across the street. Built In 1195 by the Anglo-Normans to control the fording point on the River Nore, Kilkenny Castle is a stunningly impressive landmark built by Strongbow, also known as Richard De Clare. The Butler family bought the castle in 1391 and lived in the castle for over 500 years until 1935. The castle fell into disrepair in the 20th century, before the Butler family decided to sell it to the castle restoration committee for £50. Since then, the castle has been lovingly restored to its former glory, with both guided and self-guided tours of its stunning interior and maintained gardens taking place daily.
St. Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower
The wonderful St. Canice’s Cathedral and round tower was founded in the 6th Century by Saint Canice, after whom Kilkenny is named. Decorated with unforgettable ornate stain glass windows and rich in ecclesiastical heritage, it is a must see when holidaying in Kilkenny. The adjoining round tower is only one of two in Ireland in which you can still climb today. Once at the top, you will be able to capture an unrivalled view of Kilkenny City and its stunning surroundings.
Rothe House & Gardens
As the only example of an early 17th century merchant’s townhouse in Ireland, Rothe House is truly a hidden gem. Built between 1594 and 1610, it is steeped in rich local and national history, making a visit to this extraordinary place high on the list of things to do in our magically-medieval city. As the centre for Irish genealogy in Kilkenny, you can research your Kilkenny family history and browse over 2,500 historic artefacts. In 2008, an early 17th century urban garden was opened, quickly becoming a hugely popular garden to visit in Ireland.
Situated within Kilkenny Castle and established in 1943 by George Pennefather, The Butler Gallery is a vibrant gallery of contemporary art, that features a number of excellent exhibitions throughout the year. One of the finest exhibition spaces in Ireland, it has amassed a hugely impressive, representative collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century Irish art. Committed to exhibiting both the work of established and emerging artists, Butler Gallery also brings the work of major international artists to Kilkenny.
Food and family are at the heart of Italian culture, which means it is in the very DNA of the fantastic Ristorante Rinuccini. Guests of The Kilkenny Hibernian Hotel will find this family-run, multi award-winning fine dining restaurant less than 200 metres walk from our front door. Tuxedoed waiters glide expertly round the beautiful interior, serving delicious homemade delicacies that pair Irish ingredients, with Italian family secrets. Tell them you are staying with us and they will whip you up an incredible Porchetta Rinuccini, followed by the not-to-be-missed Cannoli Siciliani. Advanced booking is highly recommended.
Formed over millions of years and home to some of Ireland’s most impressive calcite formations, Dunmore Cave features a quarter of a mile of passages that date back over 300 million years. A must see when visiting Kilkenny, the caves have been in use for centuries. Over the years, experts have unearthed some interesting archaeological finds including the ancient remains of humans, animals and even Viking jewellery. The cave also has a dark past, being the scene of a Viking massacre in the 9th century, which saw locals flee to the cave to seek refuge, before being found by the Viking raiders. In 1999, a hoard of silver wrapped in fine silk was found hidden away deep in the cave. Since dated to 970 AD, it is believed the hoard may have either belonged to a Viking who intended to return at a later date or was an offering to the subterranean gods and spirits. You can decide for yourself when you visit what is a must-see site in County Kilkenny.
Nicholas Mosse Pottery
Nicholas Mosse has been a potter since he was seven. Containing some of the incredible work he has created since then, 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. While here, you can browse his huge selection of Nicholas Mosse pottery, linen and glass, over 3 floors of this spectacular store. There is also room for any budding young artists to decorate come pottery in their own, unique way in the dedicated decorating and spongeware studio.