Rise early to make the most of a fun day out at Castlecomer Discovery Park where you can expect to find yourself swinging from the trees and ziplining over water! The wide range of activities on offer here, such as the tree top activity course, climbing, canoeing and orienteering keeps everyone active, and are mentally and physically challenging in equal measures. The Park features a Junior Woodland Course, Playground and Elf Village for younger kids, and lunch can be enjoyed at the Canopy Café; a beautiful al fresco dining area in the shade of the trees, serving kids’ meals, paninis, light lunches and delicious coffee to suit all sorts of taste buds.
After lunch, a half hour drive south, Nore Valley Park offers a host of entertainment rain or shine. Cuddle a rabbit, feed the baby lambs, or create comical family memories with lawn games like giant chess, crazy golf, an indoor maze, tractor trailer rides, and much more. For those that prefer the conservation of slightly more rare animals, the Irish National Reptile Zoo is a short drive away, where you can expect to find snakes, lizards and crocodiles amongst many.
Dinner can be enjoyed in any number of approachable restaurants right across Kilkenny, but one of our top picks nearby is Zuni, where the melting chocolate ball dessert is a must try, or La Rivista, right in the heart of the city, which is a small Italian restaurant with a superb customer experience, featuring a great value early bird menu, and an extensive kiddie’s menu.
After a jam-packed day of adventure, today we suggest some cultural experiences for the family, by exploring Kilkenny’s infamous Medieval Mile.
The beauty of its central location and compactness means you can visit all the key sites with an interactive tour on a city train, via Kilkenny City Tours, or pedal the sites by bicycle with Kilkenny Cycle Tours. Those who prefer a more leisurely pace can take to the narrow streetscapes by foot – it’s all within walking distance.
Make sure to explore our top highlights – Kilkenny’s iconic Castle, where you can step back in time with a self-guided tour or explore the grounds and the children’s playground in your own leisurely time; the idyllic Design Centre, renowned for its best in class craft, where you can pick up a souvenir or two or enjoy a take out picnic; and Rothe House, historically home to the Mayor of Kilkenny City, where you can educate yourself on 19th century fashion, art and other museum displays.
Kytlers Inn is a popular inn, rich in heritage and makes a great pit stop for those who want to soak up its history and vibe, and those who need to rest their feet with a refreshing drink. Lunch can be enjoyed in any number of cafés and restaurants, nestled deep within the city walls, such as Café Le Coco or Aran. Try CakeFace, one of Kilkenny’s favourite hidden gems, where you can indulge in unexpected, quirky and delicious desserts, cakes, pastries and sweet treats. If time permits, work off your treats by climbing the tower at St Canice’s Cathedral for uninterrupted views over Kilkenny (currently closed, watch visitkilkenny.ie for reopening dates)!
For dinner, we recommend feasting on a basket of wings, juicy ribs and burgers at casual, family-friendly Paris Texas, who also feature a special kid’s menu and regular music and entertainment.
After a day spent on your feet, we recommend some seated activity this morning, with some art and craft at Art It at the MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre. Here, children can get their hands stuck into clay, paint glass, learn how to draw, or engage in any number of art pursuits whilst Mum and Dad can join in the fun, or take a wander to the shops to stock up for the road trip home.
Whilst visiting, avail of the free, audio-visual, self-led Famine Experience Tour, a visitor attraction that recounts the story of Ireland’s Great Famine.
In the afternoon, hop in the car and take a drive out to the picturesque village of Inistioge where you’ll find the beautiful Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum. Here children can run to their hearts’ content amongst the walled garden, enjoy the playground and meander through one of the many woodland walks, playing hide and seek amongst the trees. The tea rooms in the wonderfully restored conservatory are well worth a visit for a late afternoon break.
Kells Priory is also far from noise and a hidden gem off the beaten track. Here, you can explore the medieval ruins at your own pace, take a little walking loop along the river to an old water mill, taking in the last of the surrounding nature, and kids will love discovering the history of this breath-taking ruin.
For a more interactive experience enjoy a few hours with Hawkeye Falconry. The experience is one of the most hands on experiences in Ireland’s Ancient East. On the beautiful grounds of Lyrath Estate you will get the opportunity to hold and examine these exquisite creatures up close and learn how to beckon the hawk to return to you after it has departed for the trees. You will set off for your Hawk Walk with an experienced Falconer, where you will take primary control of the hawk, calling it to your gloved forearm, a not to be missed experience.
Come evening, you’ll just have enough energy for the drive home, as you recount stories, share your photos and recollect an all-inclusive family adventure in the Marble City.