Kilkenny is steeped in Medieval history. From its winding streets, to its churches, abbeys and castles. In fact it was once the Medieval capital of Ireland. Numerous local craft shops and galleries dot its old winding streets. Along with annual festivals that celebrate everything from comedy, to food and art, the city blends this contemporary culture with its ancient backdrop perfectly. We’ve dived into what makes Kilkenny a must visit, on your trip to Ireland.
Explore Kilkenny’s Winding Streets
There is something about Kilkenny’s winding, narrow streets that make it perfect for rambling around. Cafes, bars and restaurants line these streets – ideal for a spot of people watching.
The Marble City
Kilkenny is known as the Marble City. Not because of actual marble. Rather because of the type of black coloured limestone that lines its streets. Years of footfall have polish this limestone back. So when it rains, it causes the path to glisten like black marble.
The Medieval Mile
Running through the centre of Kilkenny city is the old part of the city or the Medieval Mile. It stretches from St Canice’s Cathedral to an Angle Norman Castle. In-between you’ll find plenty of historic buildings from Abbeys, to Tudor Inns and the only example of a 17th century merchant house in Ireland.
Craft and Design in Kilkenny
Kilkenny is home to a vibrant craft community. As you wander along its streets you’ll find galleries, jewellers and potters shops everywhere. If you’re looking to pick up a special gift when in Ireland, Kilkenny is the place to do it. Look for the ‘MADE in Kilkenny’ label. Set up in 2009 to foster excellence in craft and encourage the growth of the industry. There is even a craft trail you can follow in to explore these various stores. You’ll find a map to the Made in Kilkenny Craft Trail here.
The most striking feature in Kilkenny, is Kilkenny Castle. Richard de Clare, otherwise known as Strongbow, was the leader of the famous Norman invasion of Ireland. He built the first castle here in the 12th century. It became the seat of the King of Leinster, and in turn making it the capital of Medieval Ireland. The castle was bought by the Butler Dynasty in 1391, who would remain owners of the castle up until 1967. The castle was then sold to the Irish State for £50.
The castle itself, was built upon over the centuries. With expansive beautiful gardens, its interior has been modelled in the Victorian style. A tour of the castle is definitely worthwhile.
Inistioge, Co Kilkenny
Situated 25 miles south-eats of Kilkenny City, is the picturesque town of Inistioge.
A beautiful scenic town on the bank of the river Nore. The area is one of the most beautiful areas in Kilkenny. It’s ten arch bridge is probably it’s most iconic structure. Built in 1765 after the last wooden structure was washed away in a flood in 1763.
With its tree lined town square and path way by the river. The town is perfectly suited to strolling around and taking in the beautiful scenery.
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