Outdoor Experiences in Kilkenny

In the summer, Kilkenny benefits from long evenings, parks in full bloom, and restaurants that pull out all the stops to provide al fresco dining. Outdoor activities like walking, hiking, boating, horse riding, and rock climbing are plentiful, and the county also plays host to a series of renowned festivals, music events and outdoor concerts, which make for memorable family experiences. To benefit from Kilkenny's great outdoors, make sure to factor in at least one of the following activities into your itinerary.

Experience the beauty of Kilkenny with adventure activities

For families looking for outdoor adventure, Kilkenny offers a range of kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddle-boarding activities, taking you right into Kilkenny’s unspoiled countryside. Around every corner, you’re bound to come across a waterfall, a fallen tree, an old mill or the remains of a castle as you experience the thrill of the rapids.

Canoeing and kayaking trips take advantage of Kilkenny’s dramatic landscapes, mysterious wooded valleys and the old navigation systems that were once used by the historic Guinness barges. So, pack a picnic and take a half-day guided tour for a truly memorable experience.


There are numerous family friendly places to stay in Kilkenny, so why not make a weekend of it?

Explore a side of Ireland you never knew existed.

Experience Ireland’s ancient sport of hurling

There’s something you should know about Kilkenny – hurling is a religion here!

Hurling is the world’s fastest sport on grass and one of Ireland’s national sports. The Kilkenny ‘Cats‘, as the county hurling team is known, are particularly passionate about it! So, if you’re coming to Ireland for a real insight into our culture, look no further than Malzard’s Pub, a 5th generation traditional pub located just outside Kilkenny City and a short distance from Mount Juliet.

Here, you’ll experience far more than pulling the perfect pint. Owner Fred Malzard will provide you with a history of the pub and rural life in Ireland. There’s a short video and a run-down of the skills and history of the ancient Gaelic game of hurling. In fact, you’ll be sent out onto the field to practice the game for yourself! If live, traditional Irish music and storytelling also floats your boat, then prepare to settle down here for the afternoon!

Explore Kilkenny in the best way possible – on two wheels!

One of the many great things about Kilkenny is that everything is within close proximity, so you can squeeze in a jam-packed itinerary in one day. Visit the historical and cultural landmarks of Kilkenny Castle, the Kilkenny Design Centre, Rothe House and Gardens, St. Francis’ Abbey, St. Canice’s Cathedral and more, as part of the Medieval Mile. Kilkenny Cycling Tours offer guided tours by bike. The tour favours riverbank paths and backstreets to avoid traffic, so you can listen and learn from the local guide as you pedal! You can also just rent a bike if you prefer to go at your own pace.

  • It’s possible to request a start time of your choice, so make sure to call ahead.
  • Allow approximately 2 hours for a guided tour.

Dare to handle a hawk at Mount Juliet

Experience a luxurious slice of ‘Big House’ life at Mount Juliet Estate. The house and estate, now a luxury hotel and country club, are steeped in heritage. In this spectacular setting, you can discover the ancient art of falconry. Watch the hawks show off their aerial hunting skills and, if you’re brave enough, you can handle the magnificent creatures for yourself, letting them fly from your gloved hand and having them return again to feed.

  • There are several falconry experiences on offer, depending on your preference, starting from €70 for 1 person. €30 per extra person.

Make sure to enjoy afternoon tea or an overnight stay to make the most of your trip to Mount Juliet.

In this article

Go with the Flow River Adventures

Pure Adventure River Activities

Kilkenny Cycling Tours

Mount Juliet Estate Hotel

Malzards Pub & Hurling Experience

Go with the Flow River Adventures

Rose Inn Street, Borris, Kilkenny

087 2529700

[email protected]


Looking to get the family active in outdoor activities – then this is the perfect opportunity for you! Go with The Flow brings you adventurous Canoeing trips in Kilkenny. Our unique experience offers you the chance to explore the beautiful countryside of Kilkenny by taking you into beautiful, unspoilt and exciting waterways. Our charismatic instructors will guide you along exclusive trails and show you how to shoot weirs and ride the rapids. We will pass through dramatic landscapes, mysteries wooded valleys and old navigations once used by the Guinness barges to deliver Ireland’s favourite tipple. Bring a picnic, visit the playground of The Incredible Mr Kavanagh and take a swim in tranquil sheltered waters of our favourite remote pools.

Pure Adventure River Activities

Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny

087 2265550

[email protected]


Pure Adventure is based in the heart of the Barrow Valley in the Picturesque Village of Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny. Pure Adventure is a family run business that is built on a passion for the outdoors and for water sports and our mission is to share our passion with our visitors, giving you a great experience and memories that will last a lifetime. Pure Adventure offers a range of Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Hill Walking activities to suit all ages and abilities. All equipment is supplied and all guides are fully qualified and highly experienced.

Kilkenny Cycling Tours

15 John Street, Kilkenny

086 8954961

[email protected]


Kilkenny Cycling Tours offers you the opportunity to visit historical and cultural sites around Kilkenny including Kilkenny Castle, The Kilkenny Design Centre, Shee Alms House, The Tholsel, St. Mary’s Church, Rothe House & Gardens, The Courthouse (Grace’s Castle), St. Francis’ Abbey, The Black Abbey and St. Canice’s Cathedral. Experience Irish hospitality while having an enjoyable easy-paced cycling around the medieval capital of Ireland with photo opportunities and historical information provided at each destination.

Mount Juliet Estate Hotel

Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny

056 7773000

[email protected]


Mount Juliet Estate offers elegant and luxurious Kilkenny hotel accommodation steeped in history and heritage, magnificent gardens, a world renowned golf course and fine dining which has been awarded 1 Michelin Star and 3 AA Rosettes. Unfold the beauty that lies behind 1,500 acres of picturesque woodland, choose between the luxurious and generously proportioned Manor House, the tranquil and elegant Hunters Yard or for those who prefer self-catering options, indulge in the old warm charm of the Rose Garden or Chauffeurs Lodges.

Malzards Pub & Hurling Experience

19 Main St, Ballycoam, Stoneyford, Co. Kilkenny



A great pub located in Stoneyford, Kilkenny just a short distance from Mount Juliet, that offers the best craic and great music. Malzards offers a traditional Irish Pub experience, with traditional Irish instruments available for you to play, or sing along with the local musicians in the bar. Learn how to hurl: in a relaxed, fun environment, learn all about Ireland's ancient Gaelic game of hurling with neighbours, young and old will love it!