Kilkenny: the Splendid Reflection of the History of Ireland

Updated On: April 25, 2022

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Summer is already here. It is time to pack up and get ready for a quick tour. The world has many wondrous lands to explore. Too confused to choose your next destination? Well, you are already in the right place. Ireland should be on top of your list; it is popular for being a fascinating country.

In fact, this country has been the star of major motion pictures, including Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. The land is quite vast, so we will narrow things down for you and suggest Kilkenny.

Kilkenny is popular for a lot of interesting stuff. There, you can visit the creeper-clad castle and walk into secret passages and paved lanes. The county has a very long history of cracking festivals and crafts industry. Give yourself the privilege of witnessing the entertaining culture of this city.

Kilkenny Castle

The Magnificent County of Kilkenny

Kilkenny is known to be a heritage city that attracts so many people with its captivating beauty. It lies right in the centre of the Ancient East of Ireland. Besides, it is quite near to the county of Dublin that sits only around ninety minutes away.

Kilkenny has been around for over thousands of years as it was founded in the sixth century. In fact, it is more of a large town rather than a city. However, it was granted the status of a city back in 1609. Being a tourist destination, it actually has more than a few historic buildings, museums, and public gardens.

Above and beyond, it has a lot of workshops specialized in design and craft. Those buildings include Black Abbey, Rothe House, Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral, Grace’s Castle, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. John’s Priory, and Shee Alms House.

You can also visit the Watergate Theatre and attend entertaining events that take place every year. The festivals include the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, and the Kilkenny Roots Festival.

The Culture of The City

Each county in Ireland may embrace its own traditions and culture. The same goes for Kilkenny. It is actually popular for its cultural life. The county is deemed to be one of the best destinations for culturally aware tourists.

People regularly visit the city for this reason; besides, it has a lot of interesting places to hit. Besides, the city is full of design workshops as well as craft workshops along with historic buildings and art galleries. Not to mention that it also has many museums, theatres, and public gardens. So, it is basically a city for all tastes.

Top Places to visit in Kilkenny

If you ever think about paying a visit to this splendid county, check out this list. We made it easy for you to know the best sites that you should never miss out. It doesn’t matter what your favourite sites are, you’ll definitely find more than a place that’s worth visiting, if not all.

Ballykeefe Distillery

Ballykeefe is a unique site that is worth visiting. It has been around for over two centuries and the first Whiskey Distillery in the county. The best part about the distillery is that it wakes up traditions that lied dormant for years. They are the traditions of the farm distilleries of families. Those distilleries have always been of great benefits to the surrounding environments. They are eco-friendly besides, they feed the cattle on the farm the remaining grains.

The Black Abbey

In Abbey Street lies one of Ireland’s major tourist attractions, the Black Abbey. It used to be the church of a Dominican friary. Nowadays, the church is a completely brand new one. All that has remained from the original church are the tower, the name, and the south transept. They date back to the 14th and 15th centuries.

The Capuchin Friars

The Capuchin Friars was a family that arrived in Kilkenny back in 1643. They used to live in Mullingar until their house was set on fire. Before building their famous building, they rented a house close to Saint Canice Cathedral

Later, David Rothe, the Bishop of Ossory, gave them the power of one of the cathedral’s chapels. Now, their place provides the folks of the county with different services. In fact, their services may even extend to other cities of the country.

Clashacrow Gardens

For garden lovers, this should be your ultimate destination. It is a vast area full of natural gardens and willow arches. The garden is also close to the Freshford Village.  There you can have a wonderful tour around to watch the beautiful flowers and the wide garden.

You can also purchase different kinds of plants and flowers and take great advice about gardening. Yes, you can get the best advice by which you can take care of your garden at your own place. Social gatherings are a thing as well; you can gather up and meet new people. While making new friends, you can enjoy a hot delicious cup of coffee or tea. You can also indulge in mouthwatering bakeries.

Dunmore Cave

Well, the cave sits outside the borders of the city. But, it still counts as one of its tourist attractions, for it is only 15 minutes away. If you want to visit the ancient cave, there is an N78 that takes people there. Inside the cave of wonders, you will come across many chambers. They have been around for over a million years. Those chambers contain formations of calcite; they are some of the finest ones in Ireland.

Despite being a very ancient cave, it became popular only from the 9th century when the Irish Triads mentioned it. There is also the Visitor Center that exhibits items of excavations like bones, coins, and other tools. All of them are said to date to the 10th century.

Jerpoint Abbey

Ruins are actually mesmerizing and eye-pleasing. The same can be said on the beautiful ruins of Jerpoint Abbey. Since 1158, the Abbey has been taking place in Kilkenny. The Cistercians occupied the place for centuries and they were forced to leave when the abbey was dissolved.

Despite most of the building became ruins, some parts remained, including the day rooms, sacristy, and chapter house. Besides, there are many tombs, fine monuments, and knights that the church holds within.

Kilfane Waterfall and Glen

One of the beautiful gardens in the city ever. It is open for people to visit for two months in the summer; July and August. The waterfalls are quite breathtaking and the rustic caves are splendid. There is also a summerhouse for the visitors to rest during their stroll.

Above and beyond, the place is always in constant renovations. In fact, a couple of artists are invited by the Kilfane Trust on an annual basis. Thet create new works and hang them around. So, guests can watch a magnificent work of art while strolling.

Kilkenny Castle

Well, the splendour of the castle is sufficient to take your breath away. However, you will always be fascinated by the River Nore that passes around. The castle is actually a masterpiece of the architectural world. But, it has only reached that eccentric styles after undergoing more than a few renovations over the years. The construction of the castle only started out in the early thirteenth century.

Its owner was the fourth Earl of Pembroke back when it had an Anglo-Norman design and was made of stone. Later, the Butler family resided in the castle for almost six centuries. Around the castle, there is a vast rose garden that has been around since the ancient times as well. In the late sixties, Arthur Butler opened the castle to the locals of the county. Ever since people were free to visit the garden and stroll around.

Kilkenny Design Center

Across the splendid Kilkenny Castle lies Kilkenny Design Center. The centre presents different forms of contemporary craft. They showcase jewellery, pottery, textiles, and knitwear. Moreover, the site of the centre was originally the stables of the castle. Over the years, it turned out to become the fascinating design centre it is.

You will enjoy your time there watching a remarkable variety of Irish products that are original and handcrafted. They are made of a high quality as well. Above and beyond, there’s a restaurant where you can grab lunch or a snack during your tour of the centre.

Medieval Mile Museum

The museum sits exactly in the site where Saint Mary’s Cruciform Church used to be in the 13th century. It exhibits amazing treasures of the county that depicts the heritage of Gaelic Ireland. The role of the ancient city in Irish history is obvious through the museum.

If you happen to be a history buff, you will fall in love with this site. You can visit at any time throughout the day as there is always a guided tour. However, you are free to purchase a tour pass where you guide yourself all day long.

National Craft Gallery

More and more craft. Yes, we already mentioned that Kilkenny is popular for the craft industry. There, lies the National Craft Gallery just beside the Design Center. In 2000, the gallery came up to become one of the ultimate crafts centres all around Ireland. The gallery exhibit a wide range of national and international artists and designers in all forms. Take a look at their works and get yourself in the loop of the latest art masterpieces.

Saint Mary’s Cathedral

Being a Christian-dominated country, cathedrals are major sites around Ireland. Saint Mary’s Cathedral is one of the topmost tourist attraction in the city. It is just a few minutes away from Castle Yard; actually, it’s a walking distance.

The designer of this splendid cathedral was William Deane Butler; obviously, he belonged to the Irish powerful family. He designed in back in 1843 and the cathedral is popular for having amazing Italian marbles within. Inside the cathedral, there a tea room that serves as a tiny café; it offers tea, cakes, coffee, bakery, and other snacks.

Talbot Tower

Talbot is among the last surviving towers of the medieval city walls of Kilkenny. Kilkenny Archaeology carried out an excavation ay the medieval wall of the tower. It was actually part of the maintenance program of the walls.

Besides, the excavation helped in discovering interesting and rare evidence for the Anglo-Norman defences on the site. They date back to the very early times. The tower is quite interesting to observe. You can learn a lot about the history of the city just by learning about this tower.

Tudor Rothe House and Gardens

Very close to the popular cathedral of Saint Mary is Tudor Rothe House. It dates back to 1594 and the owner, Tudor Rothe, was actually a merchant. The house is as big as two courtyards. Since it is actually quite ancient, it had to undergo several renovations in the 60’s. Afterwards, it managed to become of the top tourist attractions in Kilkenny. Currently, the building serves as the Archaeological Society of the county. It holds both a museum and a library. That museum showcases a genealogical centre.

It also holds masterpieces that belong to the ancient times, including a Viking sword. Long after the death of Tudor Rothe, an urban garden was constructed in the 17th century. However, there is now a walled garden that sits there as a renovation of the old one. It has been open to the public since 2008 and there are always a lot of visitors.

Wicklow Mountains

Ireland is full of natural wonders and magnificent sceneries. If you don’t want to miss on those terrific eye-pleasing sights, go for a full-day tour at the Wicklow Mountains. The tour starts from Dublin and goes all the way through Wicklow Gap, Wicklow National Park, and Kilkenny at last. Observe the ever-lasting history of Ireland come to life through all of those sites. One more thing, you can use Wi-Fi during your transportation. So, whenever something seems boring or uninteresting you can always log in and surf the internet.

Have you ever been to Kilkenny in Ireland? We would love to hear any experiences you may have!

Also, don’t forget to check out other great places and attractions around the north and south of Ireland: The Beautiful County Kerry| All You Need to Know About County Laois| The Magnificent County Cork| The City of Armagh| Dublin City| Everyone’s Favourite Seaside Resort: Bundoran| The Captial of Connemara|

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