A Weekend of Romance in Kilkenny’s Marble City
Just two hours from Dublin, the old world charm of Kilkenny’s Marble City and spectacular countryside setting is an ideal romantic getaway for two.Whether you’re seeking complete luxe, a relaxing hideaway and log fire retreat, or decadent delicacies, Kilkenny has a range of romantic suites and special treats to keep you occupied for a long weekend.
Extravagant period rooms are abundant in Kilkenny, and from the show stopping four poster beds of Mount Juliet Estate and Lyrath Estate, the old world charm and heated infinity pool of the Newpark Hotel & Spa, to the twinkling views of the stunning Kilkenny Castle from the Pembroke and Rivercourt Hotels, a stay at any one of these luxurious retreats offers a truly unforgettable experience!
But if you can tear yourself away from this lap of luxury, take in the mystery of Kilkenny’s Medieval City by day or night with a series of attractions that are within walking distance, making your stay a very memorable one for two.
Unwind from a hectic week with a leisurely stroll hand-in-hand around the scenic parklands of Kilkenny Castle. With its majestic 12th Century building overlooking the River Nore, the looming castle’s romantic turrets and detailed archways is a sight for sore eyes, and a great way to set the mood of your romantic escape.
Recount your own fairy-tale story to each other, as you climb to the top of the 9th Century Tower at St Canice’s Cathedral, taking in a magnificent view of Kilkenny before the sun sets; but be sure to book ahead.
Then continue to meander through the city at your own pace and take in the unique character of its many cobbled streets, and winding pathways. The Medieval Mile Museum, Rothe House Museum & Gardens, the multi-sensory brewery experience of Smithwicks Experience and Kilkenny’s renowned 16th Century Tavern, Hole in the Wall, means there’s plenty to see and do in all weather conditions.
Round your day off with a high end dining experience in one of two Michelin Star restaurants in Kilkenny; The Lady Helen, one of the most talked about dining experiences in Ireland’s Ancient South East, with rolling views over Mount Juliet Estate or the stylish city based French inspired elegant restaurant La Campagne.
Love is a long lazy lie in, so after a leisurely breakfast in bed, put on your swimmers, and indulge in some sumptuous treatments with a couples’ spa.
Bath in subtle lighting in the thermal facilities or couples suites of the award-winning Oasis Spa at Lyrath Estate, where the emphasis is on indulgence, panoramic views and one of a kind treatments, or take a short drive out of the city to the treatment rooms at Mount Juliet Estate to indulge in the unforgettable sensory experience of a therapeutic massage followed by a dynamic lunch menu at the President’s Bar.
If you’re staying in the heart of the city, the Mint by Pembroke Hotel offers a medispa and an expert team who guarantee to leave you glowing as you make your way back to the city streets, to indulge in one of its many cafes.
Continue to explore all that Kilkenny has to offer, with a romantic bicycle ride for two, or for the more adventurous, splash about in one of the Canadian canoes or peddle boat at Castlecomer Discovery Park, just a 20 minute drive from the city. Kilkenny Cycling Tours, Waterside Bike and Hire, Pure Adventure or Go with the Flow are just some of the many tour operators that will rekindle your inner kid and send your spirits soaring as you ramble through lush woodlands, or sail down the River Barrow.
For those still floating from their spa, who prefer a less active afternoon, hire a car to explore the countryside, stopping off at Thomastown to experience some quaint artisan coffee and craft shops. Top your day off with a mouth watering romantic meal in the renowned Bassets Restaurant.
Reinvigorated with coffee, take a visit to the heritage site at Jerpoint Park and enjoy a guided tour of the footprints of a deserted medieval town, before making your way to the picturesque paradise of Kilfane Glen Waterfall with its rushing stream, tranquil woodland paths and quaint cottage, all just waiting to be discovered. If you are looking for a truly unique experience stop off at Jerpoint Glass. Watching glass blown by hand is a most exciting spectacle! From the viewing area at the glass studio, you will see the skilled glassblowers perform their magic as they turn flowing red-hot molten glass into the beautiful Jerpoint shapes, right before your eyes.
Before retiring to your hotel of choice, treat yourself to another foodie feast in one of Kilkenny’s many award-winning restaurants such as Rive Gauche, Zuni Restaurant or for a taste of Italy, in the vibrant Ristorante Rinuccini. Whether it’s the reflective lights from the castle, the tempting hors d'oeuvres, the wide variety of Mediterranean wines or cheeky cocktail list, love is most certainly in the air at any one of these incredible restaurants!
If you manage to pull yourself away from the luxury that surrounds your hotel, why not treat your loved one to a bit of sparkle, whether you’re celebrating an occasion or not.
Select your specialist diamond and stones from a large range of bespoke retail and craft jewellers, with Lorimat Jewellers providing a wide range of Antique pieces. If you are simply looking for a romantic gift the Kilkenny shop is the largest promoter of Irish design. Choose from the wide range of Irish and international jewellery, accessories, fashion, pottery and crafts.
Continue your stroll sparkle in hand to the charismatic archway of the infamous Kilkenny Design Centre and Restaurant, which is crammed with a beautiful selection of Irish handcrafted gifts, and when shopping has you worn out, there's an array of cafés and bars in which to wile away a few hours before hitting the road home.
If you still haven’t had enough of Kilkenny and fancy staying for 4 nights there is still plenty to see..
- Hold each other’s hands tightly as you descend the hundreds of steps at Dunmore Caves, only 11kms north of the city, where you’ll feel like you are descending right into the centre of the earth under the most awe-inspiring rock formations.
- For active couples, the Nore Valley Walk from Ossary Bridge to Bennetsbridge is a 2hour 11km trek that follows the river Nore. Or, for a more leisurely pace, the walled garden loop at Jenkinstown Wood offers a more peaceful path.
- They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so why not try your hand at a cookery class for two at any of our five cookery schools (visit www.tastekilkenny.ie) an afternoon with a difference that makes for a very memorable date!
For a full range of romantic hotels on offer visit http://visitkilkenny.ie/accommodation_kilkenny