10 Things To Do In Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny is one of the most beautiful and charming Irish cities. Located in the center of Ireland, it has a charming medieval center, lively pubs, and a dynamic art scene. Because of this, there are many unique things to do in Kilkenny, Ireland. From its majestic creeper-clad castle, a bustling crafts industry, cobbled lanes, beautiful churches, and secret passages, Kilkenny will surprise you in many ways.

1. Explore Kilkenny Castle and Park


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Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and it is an important site to the history of Kilkenny.

In 1967, the Castle was transferred to the people of Kilkenny for £50. The Kilkenny Castle is now one of the very few castles in Ireland that offer tours to the public and it’s also one of the popular day trips from Dublin and Cork. The garden and park in the castle complex are also open to the public and it’s one of the best things to do in Kilkenny.

Address: The Parade, Collegepark

Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 5:30pm

Admission Fee: Adult € 8.00 | child € 4.00 | Family € 20.00

Phone: +353 56 770 4106

Email: [email protected]

For other visitor’s information, click here.

2. Walk around the Medieval Mile

The Medieval Mile is a discovery trail running through the center of Kilkenny city linking the 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral and the Anglo-Norman castle with much more in between. Once the medieval capital of Ireland, the city has a rich medieval heritage visible through its narrow streetscapes; its historical buildings and landmarks. These landmarks are what makes up the best things to see in Kilkenny.

3. Experience Saint Francis’s Abbey Brewery/ Smithwick’s Beer


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St. Francis Abbey Brewery is the oldest brewery in Ireland. It is standing on the site of a Franciscan Abbey founded in 1231. Brewing was carried on here for centuries until the dissolution of the monasteries around 1540. A visit to St. Francis Abbey Brewery exposes the visitor to a thriving brewery proud of its unique heritage and of its continuing achievements in producing some of the world’s finest beers.

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The ruins of the original abbey can still be seen on the grounds of the modern-day brewery. Now named after its founder, Smithwick’s beer is known for its trademark red ale, though several other varieties have been added to its line-up recently. In celebration of its 300th birthday, the brewery started offering tours of its facilities. Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny is a multi-sensory experience that immerses you in the history of Ireland’s oldest ale.

Address: Saint Francis Abbey Brewery 44 Parliament Street R95 VK54

Opening Hours: Daily, March – October: 10.00am – 5.00pm | November – February: 11.00am – 4.00pm

Admission Fee: For the admission fee, click here.

Phone: +353 56 778 6377

Email: [email protected]

4. St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower


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St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower are an essential part of the structural heritage in the vibrant medieval city of Kilkenny. This ecclesiastical church was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice.

Beside the cathedral stands a 100 ft 9th-century round tower. St Canice’s tower is an example of a well-preserved 9th-century “Celtic Christian” round tower. The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure and one of the best things to do in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city.

Address: The Cathedral Church of St Canice, The Close, Coach Rd

Opening Hours: Opening times: April, May & September, Monday – Saturday: 10am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm | Sunday: 2pm – 5pm. |June, July & August: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 6pm. Sunday: 1pm – 6pm | October – March: Monday – Saturday: 10am -1pm & 2pm -4pm | Sunday: 2pm – 4pm.

Admission Fee: Adult – Cathedral is € 4.50 while Round Tower is € 4. For both it’s € 7. For admission fee for groups, click here

Phone: +353 56 776 4971

Email: [email protected]

5 The Black Abbey


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The Black Abbey is a Catholic priory of the Dominican Order and was established in 1225 as one of the first houses of the Dominican Order in Ireland.

From 1642 to 1649, Black Abbey played a major part in attempting to save both the Irish Catholic religion. This effort did not last long, however. In March 1650, the English army surrounded Kilkenny in a siege. Many people died from epidemic and hunger, many more fled before the city finally surrendered.

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Black Abbey is famous for its beautiful stained window with intact medieval tracery of the magnificent stonework of Rosary Window. These stained glass panels represent the Fifteen Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. The Black Abbey is one of the best free things to do in Kilkenny.

Address: The Black Abbey Abbey Street

Opening Hours: it’s open daily for mass and to the public

Admission Fee: none but donation is welcome

Phone: N/A

Email: i[email protected]

6 Relax at Rothe House and Garden

Rothe House is a late 16th-century merchant’s townhouse complex nestled in the center of Ireland’s Medieval Mile. This museum and garden are one of the hidden gems and top attractions in Kilkenny. The complex was built by John Rothe Fitz-Piers between 1594–1610 and is made up of three houses, three enclosed courtyards, and a large reconstructed garden with orchard.

Address: Rothe House and Garden, Parliament Street R95 P89C

Opening Hours: Opening hours 10:30am4:30pm Monday – Saturday

Admission Fee: Adults€5.50. Seniors and students €4.50. Groups (10+) 3.50

Phone: +353 (0)56 7722893

Email: [email protected]

7. Peruse the National Design and Craft Gallery


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The National Design and Craft Gallery is Ireland’s leading center for contemporary craft and design, with a groundbreaking exhibition and events programme. They inspire appreciation, creativity, and innovation through their exhibition, education programmes, and events and play a critical role in building an understanding of craft and material culture in Ireland.

Address: Castle Yard, Kilkenny City

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-17:30 | Sundays 11:00-17:30 | Closed Mondays

Admission Fee: Free

Phone: +353 56 7796147

Email: i[email protected]

8. Kilkenny Design Centre

Kilkenny Design Centre is home of the best Irish fashion & crafts. Offering an unrivaled selection of Irish handcrafted gifts, the center specializes in handcrafted works of exceptional quality, all chosen with a discerning eye for quality, uniqueness, and style.

Address: The Castle Yard, The Parade, Collegepark, Kilkenny, Ireland

Opening Hours: Daily 10am7pm

Admission Fee: None

Phone: +353 56 772 2118

Email: [email protected]

9. Visit Shee Alms House

Shee Alms House was founded by the Shee family in 1582 ‘to accommodate twelve poor persons’ in the city of Kilkenny. The Shees were a wealthy merchant family in Kilkenny in the sixteenth century. Shee Alms House is a nationally significant Tudor period Almshouse. The house is a two-story gable-fronted rubble stone almshouse with half-dormer attic.

Today it is the Kilkenny Tourist Office which provides detailed information on accommodation, places of interest, events, festivals,  and activities nationwide to the tourists. The building by its own merits is an attraction in itself and is well worth a visit.

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Address: Rose Inn Street

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm

Admission Fee: free

Phone: +353 56 775 1500 

Email: [email protected]

10. The Tholsel City Hall


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The Tholsel on High Street was built in 1761 by Alderman William Colles as a place for collecting tolls initially. But it has also been used as a customs house, a courthouse, and a guildhall. It is used today as the city hall, and this is the name by which many local people know the building. The open arcade on the ground floor is now used for art exhibitions and street theatre companies performance.

Address: High Street, Kilkenny City, Republic of Ireland

Opening Hours: N/A

Admission Fee: N/A

Phone: N/A

Email: [email protected]


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