Staying at Butterfly Valley Glamping site is an ‘Instagram-worthy’ way to relax in the Kilkenny countryside. Located about two kilometres from Thomastown in the heart of the beautiful Kilkenny countryside, the area is not known as the “Happy Valley” for nothing; this glamping site overlooks the woods and the river Nore and is the perfect getaway to nature for all the family.
Butterfly Valley offers some great accommodation options – their bell tents and pods (sleep 4 to 6 people) are perfect for things like stargazing or admiring the nearby horizon, however, you can still enjoy traditional camping experiences like relaxing around the campfire. Their vintage caravan sleeps up to four people and has the great ‘on tour’ vibe, with that all-important luxury interior. Visit: www.butterflyglamping.ie
Here we map out a three-day itinerary for a great family break:
Once you’ve unpacked and settled into your accommodation, hit Blackberry Café where the green painted front is now almost as iconic as its home-cooked food! Fuel up on delicious coffee and homemade cakes and pastries in this award-winning family run café. www.blackberrycafe.ie
The kids are going to love the nearby Kilfane Glen Waterfall, with its tumbling waterfall and rushing streams. This is a great place to take a stroll along the woodland paths and discover the untold charm of Kilfane. Don’t forget to check out the little decorated cottage, a great place to take some family snaps!! https://www.kilfane.com
Next stop is Jerpoint Abbey where it’s time to immerse the family in some 12th century history! Jerpoint Abbey is a ruined Cistercian abbey, founded in the second half of the 12th century. It has a visitor centre and you can hear about the history and stories of the monks who called the Abbey home and to find out some interesting facts take a free guided tour.
After all that culture and outdoor adventure, an appetite has been built up, so venture back to Butterfly Valley Glamping to the communal campfire (individual fire pits are provided at the tents/Pods due to COVID) where you can cook your own meal, the kids can melt marshmallow and make friends, or you can stoke up your own barbeque feast.
Make this day the day you all discover the very best water adventure with a trip to Graiguenamanagh. This place is a mecca for water sports and if you spend the day in the company of Pure Adventure or Go with the Flow, you can all test your skills at kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and ride the rapids of the River Nore like a real pro! Visit: www.gowiththeflow.ie or www.pureadventure.ie
Next, continue the ‘water theme’ or if you prefer something with a slower pace, a guided boat tour on the historic barrow river is the ideal activity to submerge the family in peace and riverside tranquillity. As you sit back for the 30 minute duration, discover the history of the river and enjoy the magnificent natural wildlife on either side of you – remember to take some photos as these are memory making moments. Visit: www.boattrips.ie
By now, the cries of “I’m staaaarving..” from the back seat of the car are ringing in your ears, so time to meet Brian and Brigid Roberts, the hosts and owners of your lunchtime stop at Waterside Guesthouse. With its riverfront location, this award winning guest house is the perfect place to stop for a delicious family meal.
While in the Waterside, why not lure the kids out of the car and hire some bikes and explore the barrow towpath. The towpath will give you and the family miles of safe, traffic free adventure in beautiful countryside. As the towpath follows the river downstream to St. Mullins and stretches up river as far as the Grand Canal, you simply have miles and miles of countryside to explore. Visit: www.watersideguesthouse.com
As your visit draws to a close and before the dreaded packing up starts, why not make one last memory of the epic trip to Thomastown with a river swim. 2km from the campsite, the ‘Weir Pool’ is open all year around and there is a lifeguard on duty June weekends and every day in July/August. Visit: www.tcrt.ie
Photo by Thomastown Community River Trust