The hero county of Ireland’s Ancient East
Kilkenny, the hero county of Ireland’s Ancient East, is perfectly located and superbly connected for domestic and international visitors, just 90 minutes from Dublin, two hours from Cork and three hours from Belfast. This cultural heritage hub has a wealth of activities and experiences just waiting for you to explore.
Both the City and County quietly emanate the very best that Ireland has to offer twelve months of the year. From culture to creativity, fine eateries to vibrant nightlife and outdoor adventures to medieval magic, this is the place that has something for everybody.
The city offers a compactness that allows visitors to easily explore everything that it has to offer on foot with the county providing many trails for those with an adventurous spirit for food, craft, walking or cycling.
This year, the eclectic and diverse food and tourism offering of Kilkenny City and County was officially recognised as Ireland’s Foodie Destination of the Year 2018. It really is no surprise given the many foodie offerings the county has to offer. From food trails that showcase the best of Ireland’s artisan producers who call Kilkenny home to top notch gastro pub food and even Michelin Star restaurants.
Kilkenny is Ireland’s most infamous host of festivals! From the Cat Laughs and International Arts Festival, to festivals of Animation and International Film, Kilkenny is constantly adding more entertainment to the schedule and presents a vibrant dynamic calendar of new and established festivals to suit all personas. Whether your preference is for food, comedy, arts or music, a visit to one of these events is an absolute must. Kilkenomics,which brings together comedy and economics, takes place from November 8th – 11th. Kilkenny’s annual Christmas festival, Yulefest, will be taking place throughout the month of December.
Kilkenny is home to a vibrant arts community with both the city and county filled with galleries, craft shops and design studios featuring some of Ireland’s best known designers and makers such as Duiske Glass, Nicholas Mosse, Jerpoint Glass and Rudolf Heltzel.
The ‘MADE in Kilkenny’ trail features many of these makers whose studios are often in idyllic settings, offering an opportunity to meet the people behind each beautifully made piece. Across from the iconic Kilkenny Castle, visitors can explore the National Design and Craft Gallery or take a short spin to Castlecomer Craft Yard.
Kilkenny is bookended by the spectacular Kilkenny Castle to the south and the magnificent St. Canice’s Cathedral to the north. For a time during the 17th century it was the unofficial capital of Ireland with its own parliament and remains the medieval capital of Ireland. This can be seen in its narrow streetscapes and historic buildings. This Medieval Mile runs through the heart of Kilkenny with all sorts of magic in between. The Medieval Mile allows you to walk through the centuries, visiting stunningly preserved buildings and remenants of another era with jewels that cannot be found anywhere else in Ireland, such as Rothe House, the only example of an early 17th Century merchant’s house. The Medieval Mile also showcases some of Kilkenny’s most famous attractions like the Smithwick’s Experience.
Along with being the home of Folkster, the city is synonymous with a host of independent boutiques such as new label 38Co, Lady Lorna and The Wardrobe. In Kilkenny, long established family retailers sit proudly beside the High Street brands and eclectic designers.
Lovers of authentic Irish craft and design will also be spoiled for choice and will be thrilled by a visit to the National Design and Craft Centre which never fails to challenge and inspire traditional design with exhibitions, talks and interventions. No room for complacency in Kilkenny!