No matter what time of year you visit, there's always a buzz in Kilkenny.
Whether it's a stag or hen, couples getaway or even a family trip, this colourful, very walkable city dotted with cute craft shops and lively bars on every corner. There's always plenty going on in the city and so many places to eat and drink - what more does one look for in a weekend away, honestly? We asked our Lovin Instagram family for their favourite boozers in the city, and now for your weekend break-ing pleasure, here are the top picks.
An award-winning gastro pub just outside the Kilkenny Castle grounds with a delicious selection of cocktails, a covered and heated outdoor area and a seriously tasty looking pint of plain. Left Bank hits all the marks.
A friendly pub with great pints, live music and the fire always lit. This is the perfect spot to soak up a bitta atmosphere while sipping on whatever it is you're having yourself.
The Dylan Whiskey Bar
A multi-award winning Victorian bar housing over 200 of the worlds finest whiskeys. They also have a great selection of beers, cocktails and other spirits if whiskey's not your thing, along with cosy snugs, an open turf fire and walls adorned with Bob Dylan memorabilia.
The Front Room
Pints, pub grub and live music in the heart of Medieval Kilkenny, with plenty of TVs for all your premier league and GAA needs.
Billy Byrnes Pub
If you're missing the pizza slinging, Big Blue Bus from the Bernard Shaw days of yore in Dublin, don't leave Kilkenny without paying a visit to Billy Byrnes. Inside, all your pub-come-dance floor needs will be catered to while out the back is a huge beer garden with plenty of room for groups, and pizza on the go to satisfy any post-pint cravings.
Matt the Millers
The kind of place there's always a crowd spilling out of, tempting you to pop in for a cheeky bop after enjoying a quiet pint or two elsewhere and convincing yourself you're the country's most under-appreciated non-professional dancer in the process. Matt the Millers is famous for its live music, confidently backing itself as Ireland's best music pub and its also handily located in the middle of everything, right on the banks of the Nore.
Live your best medieval fantasy at this cosy two-storey bar with original stonework and rafters - it's the kind of place you'd imagine as the setting for Gaston's song in Beauty and the Beast, where he's reducing all the maidens to tears with a clink of his beer tankard. First established by the notorious Dame Alice de Kyteler back in the 13th century, Kytelers is steeped in history and is now a great spot for live music and hearty pub grub.
With a kitschy sky-blue exterior oft relied upon as a sweet wedding photo background, the aesthetic delights continue inside with an old-timey bar and general store selling everything from hot sauce to delicate bouquets of dried flowers. Out the back is one of the prettiest outdoor terraces not just in Kilkenny but in Ireland, with ivy walls and iron-clad awning enhancing the secret garden vibe. A beautiful spot for a pint!
John Cleere's cosy theatre bar is a hub for trad music and live events, and a must for anyone looking to soak up all the craic Kilkenny has to offer. The small but perfectly formed theatre out the back is hard to beat in terms of atmosphere, and no matter what time of year you visit you're nearly guaranteed to find musicians, actors or comedians holding court as regulars enjoy creamy pints up the front. A Kilkenny institution for a reason, and definitely worth a visit.
The Hole in the Wall
We're always hesitant to use this phrase, but the Hole in the Wall definitely earns the title of Hidden Gem as far as Kilkenny pubs go. With so much going on in the city you're likely to walk right past this Elizabethan haunt, which is housed in the oldest surviving townhouse in Ireland - the 1582 Archer Inner House. The Hole in the Wall is known for its intimate gig surrounds and excellent Guinness, and holds favourite-pub-in-Ireland status for many.
Have we missed out your favourite haunt? Let us know and we'll add it to the list!
Header image via Instagram/ bridies_bar / johncleeresbar