Kilkenny City Guide

Kilkenny offers an alternative to the usual trappings of tourist haunts in Ireland. Known as Ireland's 'craft county', it is a jewel and heaven for relaxing family breaks. Kilkenny offers a relaxing rural experience with the rolling hills of Mount Leinster and the Blackstairs; two major rivers – the Barrow and the Nore; and home to medieval abbeys and Norman castles. You will also find some beautiful formal gardens, inspired by the Anglo Irish aristocracy patrons of this prosperous county. Kilkenny city is distinguished by the splendid 13th century Kilkenny Castle, one of the many medieval structures that make this town so unique. It is a reminder of the Norman chieftains who ruled this region for centuries, particularly the great Butler family. The Butler arrived from Wales and England to Leinster in the 12th century, and overran the old order of kingships. The priory in the medieval village of Kells was established in 1193 under the instructions of Strongbow – namesake of the Irish cider. Today, Kilkenny city isfamous for its crafts. The Kilkenny Design Centre is a major supporter of Irish knitwear, ceramics, fashion and art. The city is also known for its festivals. It vies with Edinburgh’s festival with The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival including acts from all over the world for top billing in the region. The Cats is also the moniker for its senior hurling team which boasts the county’s sporting records with 31 All-Ireland Championship titles under its belt. County Kilkenny is a treasure for those who like to enjoy historic villages, riverside walks, ancient monuments and monastic settlements.