1. Ireland's Medieval Mile
Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s easiest cities to navigate on foot, so take advantage and this year walk Ireland’s Medieval Mile with a local guide. The Medieval Mile linking 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral and the Anglo-Norman castle, runs through the heart of the city. Climbing up the 100ft, 9th-century Round Tower beside the cathedral, you enjoy the most wonderful views over the city. The walk culminates at the beautiful Kilkenny Castle where you can explore the grounds set in 50 acres or enjoy a tour of this historic castle.
While on this historic journey, step back in time, even centuries and experience Ireland’s Medieval Mile Museum. Here experienced and entertaining guides lead you through the museum revealing the secrets behind the most famous pieces on display. Learn how the High Crosses were made, what their engravings represent and the stories that they tell. www.medievalmilemuseum.ie
Rothe House, will transcend you to the late 16th century with its unique Tudor merchant’s townhouse, built between 1594 and 1610. Located on the Medieval Mile, the property is comprised of three houses, three enclosed courtyards and a magnificent manicured large garden, for the perfect scenic walk. www.rothehouse.com
2. Michelin Star Dining
Kilkenny has all the ingredients of a vibrant, top-class restaurant scene, so its little wonder that it is home to two Michelin Star restaurants; The Lady Helen & Campagne.
Dining in The Lady Helen is a unique dining experience that offers everything fine dining should be and much more. The restaurant looks out over the Mount Juliet Estate and the River Nore and from the solid back crushed velvet dining chairs to the intricate detailing of the wall mouldings, everything about The Lady Helen Restaurant evokes a distinct sense of lavish luxury throughout.
For Reservations: www.mountjuliet.ie/lady-helen/
Five-Star Campagne was established in 2008 by Garrett Byrne and Brid Hannon. The emphasis is on serving food that is based on high-quality seasonal produce, with French influences, in a relaxed and comfortable dining area. Located under the old railway arches on Gas House Lane, Campagne boasts a stylish interior featuring oak flooring and curved banquette leather seating.
For Reservations: www.campagne.ie
3. Trail Kilkenny
The new year brings with it hope and resolutions for a better and healthier year ahead! Now more than ever, families, groups and individuals will be benefitting from the many walks and trails their counties have to offer. Trail Kilkenny has a series of walks that take place in areas of local heritage and natural history interest, taking walkers alongside rivers and canals, as well as through towns and villages and the great news is, they are all free of charge! The walks are of varying lengths and gradient, from the more difficult Brandon Hill Loop, to exploring the possibilities and charm of small riverside, and breath-taking landscapes in villages and towns like Inistiogue and Graiguenamanagh….each offering something for everyone no matter what their interests or abilities. www.trailkilkenny.ie
4. Woodstock Gardens
Explore the Kilkenny countryside with a visit to Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, overlooking the River Nore Valley and the picturesque village of Inistioge. Features include a walled garden, rose garden, rockery garden, a recreated Turner Conservatory, a collection of rare and exotic trees in the arboretum and much more including many tranquil woodland walks. A relaxing and beautiful environment in which to spend a day with a picnic! www.woodstock.ie
5. Outdoor Kilkenny
One positive from 2020 pandemic is that cycling is now one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world! Kilkenny offers a variety of cycling routes throughout the City and County to suit all levels of cyclists. So, whether it’s a relaxing self- guided ride along the River Nore, a guided bike tour through our medieval city or a challenging trail to test your ability there is something for everyone on Kilkenny’s cycling trails www.trailkilkenny.ie or for guided tours: www.kilkennycyclingtours.com
The Hawkeye Falconry experience is one of the most hands on experiences in Ireland’s ancient East. Here, on the beautiful grounds of Lyrath Estate you will get the opportunity to hold and examine these exquisite creatures up close and learn how to beckon the hawk to return to you after it has departed for the trees. You will set off for your Hawk Walk with an experienced Falconer, where you will take primary control of the hawk, calling it to your gloved forearm, a not to be missed experience. www.lyrath.com
Set in the surrounds of the Mount Juliet Estate, the wonderful Mount Juliet Equestrian Centre is one of the most impressive centres in the country with two arenas, an American barn, and show jumps. From trekking and trail-riding excursions, to exhilarating cross-country course and miles of bridal-ways sprawl out into the surrounding pastures, parkland and pastures both within and beyond the estate.
Mount Juliet Estate is also famous for its Jack Nicklaus Signature Designed Parkland Championship Golf Course, set across 180 acres of rolling Irish countryside and will be hosting The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2021 which will be held from July 1st to 4th. www.mountjuliet.ie
For those who enjoy the tranquillity of fishing, Jerpoint Park 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. www.jerpointpark.com
Kilkenny is home to an eclectic mix of retail outlets, craft centres and bespoke boutiques just waiting to be explored. Discover the very best of cut glass, pottery and handmade jewellery at Jerpoint Glass, Nicholas Mosse Pottery and the renowned Rudolf Heltzel Jewellery.
Just a stone’s throw away from the Castle is the Kilkenny Design Centre, filled with beautiful Kilkenny crafts, the finest Irish handcrafted jewellery, knitwear, Celtic gifts, china and crystal, pottery and glass and stunning one off contemporary design. While Redmills is home to a selection of Country Living wares – from saddles and horse feeds, to clothing & footwear, to dog food and kennels.
For lovers of ladies’ fashion, Kilkenny is immersed in a selection of stylish and designer boutiques that cater for both formal & casual wear, all your beauty needs, footwear accessories and lingerie.
7. Jerpoint Abbey
An outstanding Cistercian abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century, Jerpoint’s church with its Romanesque detail dates from this period. In the transept chapels visitors can see a 13th to 16th century tomb sculpture. The tower and cloister date from the 15th century. Included in the admission fee, is a free guided tour of the partially restored monastic ruins with its magnificently sculptured cloister arcade and the exhibition centre is an exemplary experience of Ireland’s Ancient East. https://www.discoverireland.ie/Arts-Culture-Heritage/jerpoint-abbey/405
8. Castlecomer Discovery Park
For families who love an adrenaline filled day followed by a picnic, then Castlecomer Discovery Park is the ideal place. The 80-acre activity park features a wide range of exhilarating activities for all ages, from the fun and challenging tree-top walk high amongst the sycamore trees to archery and zip lines. For the younger children, there’s a playground, an elf and fairy village, a giant bouncing net and a Junior Woodland Adventure Course where children navigate a series of low-risk challenges, balancing and steering their way through the obstacles. www.discoverypark.ie
9. Butler Gallery
While in Kilkenny take in an exhibition or a guided tour in the newly located Butler Gallery. Butler Gallery is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art galleries and museums offering a unique blend of art and history that will inspire you. Explore their significant collection of 20th century Irish art, discover contemporary work by living artists, take part in family friendly art activities, and find out about a heritage spanning 800 years in their historic building and walled gardens. Entry is free, visit: www.butlergallery.ie
10. The Catwalk Art Trail
From the end of July, visitors can explore the new and exciting Catwalk Art Trail in Kilkenny. The colourful trail of 21 wonderful Kilkenny Cat sculptures which have been decorated by some of Kilkenny’s most talented artists for public display in and around Kilkenny City, is the ideal place to get that great family Instagram shot!!
The trail is fun, bright and engaging, so make sure the kids and all cat lovers get outdoors and enjoy this trail. Visit: www.kilkennycatwalk.ie