Ah Kilkenny, the medieval city.
(And Kilkenny folk will insist it’s a goddamn city. It’s got two cathedrals after all.)
With so many things of interest within walking distance of each other, it’s no wonder this city won the best city at the Tourism Awards 2016.
As well as the obvious tourist sites like Kilkenny Castle, there are just some things that you have to do to say you’ve properly seen Kilkenny.
1. Visit Kilkenny Castle
You can’t go to Kilkenny and not visit its iconic castle, a remnant of the Norman occupation of Ireland dating back to 12th century.
2. Have a beer in The Hole In The Wall
This bar is a converted 16th century townhouse, making it Ireland’s oldest pub. It's the perfect venue if you’re looking for somewhere snug and cosy. They also have live music and if you're a fan of fairly useless knowledge, it was once bought and renovated by a cardiologist who was also Metallica’s doctor.
3. Do the Medieval Mile
Rather than a specific tour, getting a Medieval Mile pass gives you free admission to a ton of Kilkenny landmarks like Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, the Smithwick's Experience, St. Canice's Cathedral and Kilkenny Cycling Tours, plus discounts at selected cafés and restaurants.
4. Chill in Billy Byrnes
Those familiar with the Bernard Shaw in Dublin will like this one. They do craft beers and cocktails, and have a bus in the back garden that sells street food.
5. Survey the gardens at Butler House
The beautiful gardens of this 500-year-old house were painstakingly restored and also boast private entrances to Kilkenny Castle and the Castle Yard.
6. Walk along the canal
A scenic, tree-lined walk that will take you from the centre of Kilkenny to the little village of Inistoige if you follow it the whole way along.
7. Eat in Campagne
One of Kilkenny’s two Michelin-star restaurants, the other being The Lady Helen restaurant in Mount Juliet. The menu changes with the season and the dishes are influenced by French cuisine. Despite the quality, the three course early bird menu is only €34.
8. Visit Mount Juliet
The old manor house is a destination in itself. You can have lunch in The Lady Helen, afternoon tea in the Morning Room, a drink in The Majors Bar, walk the grounds or go fishing or do some archery on the estate.
9. Jump The Weir
Do as the locals do and jump into the River Nore from the pier at the weir on Bleach Road.
10. Have coffee in Café La Coco
This great little café is just around the corner from Kilkenny Castle, and it’s the perfect place to chill out.
11. Have a cocktail in Biddy Early’s
€8 cocktails and happy ‘hour’ 12-8, Monday to Thursday. Go forth and be merry.
12. Do the Smithwick’s Experience
This is still fairly new to the Kilkenny scene. After an educational and very enjoyable trip around the factory, you're given a free pint of Smithwicks upon completion OR a a half pint of each of the Smithwicks holy trinity (regular, blonde, pale)
13. Go to the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
Perhaps Ireland's most famous comedy festival. Head down on the June Bank Holiday weekend, enjoy a few pints and get your ribs tickled by some of the country's finest comedians
14. Get a whiskey at Bridie’s Bar and General Store
You can check out the artisan store, taxidermy and buy some old-school sweets while you’re there.