When you visit Kilkenny, what do you look out for? Are you here to explore the places that shaped Ireland’s Ancient East as we know it? Maybe you’re here for the excellent shopping or to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the many bars and restaurants along our cobbled streets? 

Whatever that is, the city’s got everything you need. Here are 5 best things to do when visiting Kilkenny.

1. Visit the heart of Kilkenny: The Kilkenny Castle

One of the most remarkable castles on Ireland’s East, Kilkenny Castle is a must-do when visiting the city. The castle has a fascinating history and is a great place to learn about the history of the city first-hand. It was built in 1195, that’s over 800 years of stories hidden within its stone walls. You can take your time to explore the Victorian stately home of the Butler Family with a self-guided tour. There are 50-acres of beautiful greenery surrounding the castle, with formal rose gardens, a lake and plenty of rolling green hills to explore, perfect for romantic strolls, nature walks or family picnics.

2. Pass by Cathedral Church of St Candice & Round Tower

Another popular activity in Kilkenny is a visit to Cathedral Church of St Candice & Round Tower, located at the very top of the town, about a ten-minute walk from Pembroke Kilkenny. This beautiful Medieval church has stood in this spot since the 6th Century and has some wonderful stained glass inside, as well as the traditional church architecture you would expect to see. Outside, the Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny and one of only two that you can still climb in Ireland. The views from the top are stunning, giving you a bird’s eye view of the city and its surrounds.

3. Explore Rothe House and Garden

Built between 1594 and 1610, Rothe House was the home of the renowned merchant and landowner and John Rothe Fitz-Piers and his family. It is now the only example of an early 17th-century merchant’s townhouse in Ireland that is open to the public. The museum at Rothe House contains archaeological and historical artefacts, most of which were found or donated by Kilkenny locals to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. The surrounding gardens were lovingly restored to reflect the original family gardens and is free to visit by the public.

4. Enjoy Kilkenny’s shopping centers

While Kilkenny may not be a buzzing metropolitan area for shopping, we have something even better. We have character that is unrivalled by any big city. While you will still find high-street and high-end shops dotted along our streets, we are most proud of the boutique shops where you’ll find unique clothing, gifts and accessories. When you choose to shop in these gorgeous independent shops, it helps Kilkenny’s economy to thrive and keeps local people in employment. Make sure to stroll down Kieran Street, which runs parallel to High Street, and stop into the many boutiques for a browse.

5. Book a Kilkenny hotel that’s right in the middle of the action

For Kilkenny accommodation that is in the heart of the city, look no further than the Pembroke Kilkenny. We offer luxurious, affordable accommodation within a stone’s throw of the best attractions in the city. After a long day exploring the sights and sounds of Kilkenny, return to our in-house restaurant, Statham’s, for a meal that’s sure to be one of your trip’s highlights. Our talented chefs have upgraded our menus to include the best of local produce, prepared with care and love, and served in stylish surroundings.

Author Bio: Katie McGarr is a savvy travel and lifestyle writer for Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny, a four-star boutique hotel in Kilkenny, offering exceptional accommodation and dining experiences in Ireland’s historic marble city. When she’s not taking vibrant street photos, you can find her writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle.


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