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.