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Meet the Places and Faces Behind Kilkenny’s Cultural Experiences


Now more then ever we are looking forward to exploring new places and discovering the people behind some of our favourite tourist attractions. The pandemic has brought about a desire to connect to a place’s history, people and culture; engage in local traditions and ‘Authentic’ Experiences. As tourism prepares to reopen this summer, we have lined up the most sought after and popular places to experience what makes Kilkenny so special:

Highbank Orchards

Highbank Orchards - Meet the Calder-Potts!

Most of us have memories of exploring an orchard as a child, carefully selecting the ripest and brightest apple to savour on a warm Summers day! Well at Highbank Orchards you can re-live those memories and discover what life is like for a small scale Irish food producer.

Here you will meet Rod and Julie Calder-Potts, the couple behind Highbank Organic Farm in Co Kilkenny, which dates back to the 17th century and discover how the Calder-Potts have built on the success of their syrup by diversifying into apple juice and cider production.  Why not sample some of their syrups, juices, organic ciders and apple spirits at the Highbank Organic Farm Shop and then take a tractor train tour through the organic orchards. Here your Guide will explain the process that creates the distinctive flavours and character of the organic cider, apple gin and apple brandy, meeting the Calder-Potts for a chat on local history.  The guided tours last approximately one and half hours.

Visit: www.highbankorchards.com

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Jerpoint Park – Enjoy tea with the O’Connells!

Only a short drive from Highbank Orchards, you can visit the unique Heritage Site in Jerpoint Park in Thomastown where you will receive a warm welcome from Joe and Maeve O’ Connell, owners of the adjoining Belmore House at Jerpoint.  Take time to stop for a tea and scone and as you enjoy your tea, Joe and Maeve will share the history of Belmore House and their own tale of how they came to own this legendary place.

Now refreshed, visitors are ready to explore the area and enjoy a guided tour of the footprints of a deserted 12th Century Medieval town dating back to 1200AD. Your local guide will delve into the history and importance of this once thriving town called Newtown Jerpoint. Jerpoint Park also offers Angling for wild Salmon and wild brown trout, or why not try something completely unique and come watch their Sheep Dog demonstration, showcasing man and dog working together as one.

Visit: www.jerpointpark.com

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Kells Priory – Medieval Towers in full Splendour!

Pack a lunch and head 15km outside Kilkenny city, where visitors will find the Augustine priory of Kells situated alongside King’s River beside the village of Kells. Explore the priory’s most striking feature, a collection of medieval tower houses spaced at intervals along and within walls which enclose a site of just over 3 acres. It consists of a church, a chapel, prior’s residence or sacristy and a number of domestic buildings for visitors to explore. An intriguing day out for anyone visiting Kilkenny this summer!


Nicholas Mosse Pottery Tour – Discover a life of craft with Susan Mosse

The crafty and creative will enjoy the tea room and treasure trove that is the Nicholas Mosse Pottery shop, where visitors can view staff at work through glass walls, and educate themselves from informative displays which offer an insight into the pottery process. As you enter follow the signs welcoming you inside and be greeted by a room full of colourful ceramic coffee mugs, plates, and even table lamps!

Take a private tour with owner, Susan Mosse and discover the life and work of a true crafts person and meet the artisans who work at the pottery who are all local and trained in-house to make, or ‘throw’, the pottery shapes and to decorate them. In fact, every piece of Nicholas Mosse undergoes a 20 step, handmade process. Come see for yourself!

Visit: www.nicholasmosse.com

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Walk the Medieval Mile – Pat Tynan puts you through your historic paces!

Walking Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile with a local guide is how conversation flows, weaving together rich architectural highlights and gossip through the centuries. If you want to discover the true history and facts, a guided tour from local historian Pat Tynan from Kilkenny Walking Tours will ‘pepper’ your walk with humour and laughter as he leaves no stone or lane-way ‘unturned’!

The Medieval Mile linking 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral and the Anglo-Norman castle runs through its heart. Then climbing up the 100ft, 9th-century Round Tower beside the cathedral, you enjoy the most wonderful views over the city. At the heart of this discovery trail, you will find the Medieval Mile Museum, an example of Ireland’s finest medieval church where you can enjoy exhibitions and guided tours to truly soak up the tales of old Kilkenny. The walk culminates at the beautiful Kilkenny Castle where you can explore the grounds or enjoy a tour of this historic castle.

Visit: www.kilkennywalkingtours.ie

“A Nations Culture Resides in the Hearts and in the Soul of its People” Mahatma Gandhi


Food Tasting Tour Kilkenny Style - Foodie Anne Neary introduces you to the very best!

As you are in the city, why not explore the very best of produce that Kilkenny has to offer with a foodie ‘tasting tour’. Working over 30 years in the Kilkenny food sector, Anne Neary and her team will treat your taste buds to food experience like no other. Crowned Ireland’s Foodie Destination for 2018, Kilkenny boasts some of the finest food producers, retailers and restaurants in Ireland. These guided tours take you back in time through Kilkenny’s medieval heritage, tasting along the way to meet the makers, movers and shakers on the Kilkenny food scene.

Visit: www.kilkennytastingtours.com

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Cushendale Woollen Mills – The Cushens tell a 6th Generation Story!

If you want something that takes you off the beaten track and into the countryside, then why not explore the story of a world of crafts at Cushendale Woollen Mills in Graiguenamanagh.  Six generations of the Cushen family have devoted themselves to crafting superior quality textiles in the small town of Graiguenamanagh from the 18th century to the present day. Today, Philip Cushen and his daughter Miriam carry the torch of this incredible story.

Cushendales is one of the few remaining Irish woollen mills continuing to create quality authentic textiles from the fleece of Irish sheep. Cushendale Woollen Mills offer a unique experience to see one of Ireland’s oldest working woollen mills where you will learn about Graiguenamanagh’s link with wool since 1204, Their family history since early 1800s, their unique process and see a 1900s spinning mule still in operation. Mill Tours are run weekly. Price is €7 per person and must be pre-booked.

Visit: www.cushendale.ie

‘Today, Philip Cushen and his daughter Miriam carry the torch of this incredible story’.


Explore Graiguenamanagh

While you are in Graiguenamanagh, take a walk through its picturesque town. Here you find river walks and trails and home to Duiske Abbey, originally a Cistercian Monastery, now a Catholic parish church. With a simple exterior contrasting with its elaborate interior, visitors can see the ancient stone and high clerestory windows of the nave as well as an effigy of a 13th-century knight at the entrance. To continue your craft search, you can visit Duiske Glass Gift Shop where you can pick up some mementoes of your Authentic Kilkenny Experience!