Nicknamed the "Marble City", most of Kilkenny is built from smoky grey limestone flecked with crushed seashells. It's set on the River Nore and is considered one of Ireland's most charismatic cities. Explore ancient castles, dine at high-end restaurants and sip on Guinness in cosy pubs.
Things to do in Kilkenny
It's hard to resist the allure of Kilkenny's "Medieval Mile". The district is made up of narrow cobblestone lanes lined with historic buildings housing cafes, pubs and souvenir stalls. You can also visit the Medieval Mile Museum to discover beautifully carved Renaissance tombstones.
Perched high above the River Nore, Kilkenny Castle dates back to the 12th century and was once a stronghold for the powerful Butler family. Don't miss the Long Gallery, which features larger-than-life family portraits, a gleaming marble fireplace and soaring ceilings decorated with Celtic motifs.
Another historic landmark is St Canice's Cathedral, a 13th-century site dotted with the tombs of the Butler family. Don't miss the chance to climb the 30-metre-high round tower, which offers sweeping views of the County Kilkenny countryside.
Creative at heart, Kilkenny harbours a flourishing arts and crafts scene. In addition to browsing the local workshops and boutiques you can also visit the National Craft Gallery, which showcases a curated collection of contemporary Irish art, jewellery, clothing and ceramics.
Getting around Kilkenny
Small and relatively flat, Kilkenny is best explored on foot or by bicycle. Rental cars are an easy way to explore County Kilkenny at your own pace. Trains arrive at MacDonagh Station, a 10-minute walk north-east of the town centre.