If you are wanting to visit an Irish town with less hustle and bustle than Dublin or Cork then you must visit Kilkenny. It is a picturesque city with quaint narrow lanes and some incredible pubs. We spent 24 hours in the city and these are our thoughts.

Getting there

From Dublin it will take less then 2 hours to get to Kilkenny by car, but there are also a number of public transport options like the bus or train if you are leaving from Dublin. We chose to drive and it made for a great road trip. If you are looking for car rental then we recommend Europcar.



Some background

In the middle ages Kilkenny was an unofficial capital of Ireland. It even had its own parliament and to this day parts of the city’s medieval walls can still be seen. Nowadays, Kilkenny, although a small town with a population just under 25,000, there’s an abundance of character and old world charm waiting to be explored.

The city sights

One of the biggest tourist attractions in the town has to be Kilkenny Castle. It was built in 1195 to control a fording point of the River Nore, which it towers over. And here is a fun fact, the castle was transferred over to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for only £5!

You can take a tour of the castle for about €7 (although not as good value as buying the castle for £5, still worth a visit). You can also wander around the castle gardens. The highlight has to be the rose garden. From here you can sit and admire the castle in all its glory.

Another prominent sight in Kilkenny is St Candice’s Cathedral. It is actually Ireland’s second largest medieval cathedral after St Patrick’s in Dublin.

Kilkenny is a beautiful city to just go for a stroll. There are a lot of narrow and winding streets to get lost in that add to the old world charm of the city. The buildings are colourful and really quaint and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the flower pots that align the city.

Of course when in Ireland it is crucial to go on a pub crawl. One of our favourite bars in Kilkenny was the Kyteler’s Inn. We asked some locals where the best bar was and Kyteler’s is where they recommended. We happened to stumble in during an Ireland football game (which Dave conveniently ensured we arrived just in time for) and the atmosphere was incredible. The bar is spread out over two floors and they do also play trad music. It is one of the oldest Inns in Ireland so it is definitely worth a visit.

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Need more Irish Inspiration then check out these articles:

How to spend a weekend in Dublin

Our guide to planing a road trip around Ireland 

Why you must visit the Aran Islands

Exploring Sligo, Ireland’s best kept secret 

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