Kilkenny is a beautiful historic city, situated in the South East of Ireland. Kilkenny City, also known as Marble City due to its footpaths, makes an ideal place to visit, whether you are making a day trip over or planning to stay for a few days.
The area is a great place to explore, with plenty of attractions and scenic views to be enjoyed no matter what your age, as well as incredible hotels and eateries within the medieval city.
There is so much to do in Co Kilkenny and it may be difficult to decide which places to visit on a short trip, which is why we have put together a list of the top attractions to visit in Kilkenny! Here are the top 10 things to do on your trip to Kilkenny.
What Can I Do In Kilkenny?
Whether you are looking for an ancient cathedral or castle, an informative museum, beautiful gardens, a national park, a country pub, or some walking tours, Kilkenny has it all! Our top 10 list of things to do in Kilkenny is in no particular order and each attraction highly reviewed by all of those that visit.
Kilkenny Castle is one of the most well-known attractions in the county; it dates back to the 12th century when it was built by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.
The castle has beautiful grounds and a stunning medieval display that can be visited throughout the year. This medieval Irish castle was built by Norman Knights to control and defend the area and the River Nore. Over time, Kilkenny castle features in some pretty big historical events, such as Oliver Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland in 1650 and the Irish Civil War of 1922.
As one of Ireland’s most popular castles, the castle in Kilkenny is the perfect place to visit for some history and an Irish castle tour.
Brandon Hill is a great place to head to for those that want to discover the picturesque views of Kilkenny.
Brandon Hill is the highest point in the county of Kilkenny and will allow visitors to see incredible views of the city and its surrounding countryside on a clear day.
The hill has a 7-mile loop trail which can take up to 5 hours, depending on the pace, which makes it best for those with good mobility and people that love to hike!
St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower
If you want to explore Kilkenny for its history, why not pop over to St Canice’s Cathedral? St Canice’s is home to one of the county’s oldest structures; the round tower.
Built in the 13th century, the site has been used by Christian’s for worship for over a thousand years! The cathedral is situated on Church Lane, in the centre of Kilkenny.
Kilfane Glen and Waterfall
For those that love an outdoor adventure, Kilfane Glen and Waterfall is the perfect place to visit in Kilkenny Ireland!
An incredible stream, woodlands and waterfall are to be found at this location, noted as “a picturesque paradise with a waterfall tumbling its way to a rushing stream and woodland paths leading to a cottage orné.” (Kilfane.com).
Dating back to the 18th century, the woodland was known as a romantic garden, where couples, friends and loved ones could visit for a day out. The Kilfan Glen and Waterfall in Ireland are perfect for a visit as a couple, or with family.
Canal and Walkthrough Butterslip Lane
Kilkenny’s Butterslip lane is one of the most beautiful in the area, likened to Hogsmeade from the Harry Potter series! Kilkenny hosts a number of beautiful streets, and a canal that can make a great day out.
Why not walk along the canal, search through the high street, visit Butterslip lane and then find a great pub with a garden on a sunny summer’s day?
Alternatively, there are plenty of places to shop and get food at a restaurant or cafe. Looking around Kilkenny itself is a great way to get a feel for the friendly and uplifting atmosphere of the county.
St Mary’s Cathedral
Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Kilkenny is an incredible historical site to look inside on a trip to the area.
Located within the city, the cathedral boasts stained glass windows and an impressive alter that is sure to be enjoyed by those interested in history and religion.
St Mary’s Cathedral dates back to the 19th century and was built with a Gothic design, which is clearly visible in person today.
The Dunmore caves are a unique attraction in Kilkenny, known as Ireland’s “darkest place”. The caves attract many visitors each year, who come to see the limestone chambers in person.
Kilkenny’s Dunmore Caves are a fun and intriguing place to stop and have plenty of history as well as geology to take in.
The caves were thought to have been used as a place for the Guthfrith of Ivar massacre in AD 928, but in the present day, the team at the caves host guided tours for a great adventure.
Medieval Mile Museum
The Medieval Mile Museum is on the same site as Saint Mary’s Cathedral and is one of the most historical museum’s in the country
Ideal for those interested in the history of the area, Kilkenny’s medieval mile opened in 2017 as a means for boosting the city’s culture and informing people of the rich history in Kilkenny. If you are in Kilkenny city, the Medieval Mile Museum is a must-see!
Pure Adventure at Graiguenamanagh
As an adventurous family trip or for those that love the water, tour company Pure Adventure host a number of canoe and kayak tours along the river Barrow.
Just a short drive away from the main town, Pure Adventure will be sure to provide you with an exciting day out in the summer!
This local attraction is loved by both children and adults, which is why it makes our top 10 list.