Set on the banks of the River Nore and granted the status of a city over 400 years ago, the Kilkenny of today is a lively mix of culture, craft, entertainment and history. Once the medieval capital of Ireland, the historic buildings say much about its heritage. This popular tourist destination dates back to the 6th century when St. Canice founded a monastic settlement, a landmark of which still exists in the form of the 9th century Round Tower – the oldest standing structure in the city!
The narrow lanes, gothic architecture, historic buildings and “medieval mile” all speak volumes about the immense cultural and structural heritage of Kilkenny City, and chief among them is majestic Kilkenny Castle. Many changes have been made to the fabric of the building since its earliest incarnation in the 12th century but the splendour of many of these alterations has been brilliantly preserved to include an art gallery, library, team rooms and adjoining parklands.
Worship, history, beauty and serenity are all to be found in the nooks and crannies of the nearby St. Canice’s Cathedral. From its wonderful stained glass windows to its fine collection of 16th century monuments, its significance and influence on the city is felt far beyond the walls of this 800 year old cornerstone. Be fortunate with the weather and a climb to the top of its resplendent Round Tower will be rewarded with outstanding views of Kilkenny and its environs.
Now a celebrated hub for creativity in Ireland, Kilkenny is a hive of activity with a nightly scene of music and theatre in many of its pubs and live venues. It also plays host to a calendar of annual festivals, concerts and events that take centre stage including the Kilkenny Arts Festival and Cat Laughs Comedy Festival.
But it doesn’t stop there – the artistic community also grows and thrives amid an exciting and diverse array of world renowned Irish craft and design workshops. From wood furniture to textiles, jewellery to pottery and candles to glass, these passionate artisan producers share their finest creations and are proud to say that it’s all “Made in Kilkenny”.
Small enough to explore it all on foot, the marble city is brimming with history, intrigue and creative ingenuity for you to enjoy.