Best Things To Do in Kilkenny, Ireland

Are you looking for what to do in Kilkenny?


With its rich political, cultural and economical history, Kilkenny is home to some of the major attractions in the world. Some of the most popular things to seein Kilkenny include:

  • Kilkenny Castle and Grounds: Overlooking the River Nore, the castle is also known as the Norman Castle after the Norman rulers who ruled the land in medieval Ireland. The adjoining grounds are well maintained and have plush greenery awaiting its visitors. The castle itself is steeped in history and is a must-visit for every tourist. The guided tours are wonderful with interesting insights into Ireland’s epics.
  • St. Canice Cathedral: The Cathedral was built 800 years ago and is named after St.Canice who was an Irish abbot, priest and an iconic missionary. The Cathedral takes you back in time with its gothic appeal and spell-bounding architecture while the nearby Round Tower offers a splendid view of Kilkenny.
  • Black Abbey: Built in 1225, the Black Abbey was one of the first houses of Dominican Order in Ireland. The name was placed by England and neighbouring countries that referred to the friars of the abbey as ‘Black Friars’ due to their long black cloaks. The priory has undergone a number of reigns- from Elizabeth I to King James I who kept changing the purpose of the site. In the late 1700s, the abbey was permanently acquired by the Dominicans who gave it its present day role.
  • Rothe House: The Rothe house was built in late 1500s and is a Merchant’s Townhouse complex with 3 houses and 3 courtyards attached to a large orchard. The merchants were of political background who reigned the city from 15th to 17th century after which the English Crown confiscated their power. A must-visit, the Rothe house showcases renaissance architecture and also houses a museum. The museum is a tourist favourite with rare artefacts donated by the locals of Kilkenny to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society.
  • Dunmore Cave: The Dunmore cave is set in carboniferous limestone. The cave is a site of Viking Massacre in 928 AD and also shows interesting details regarding its inhabitants. The cave is open to public. The Market Cross- a distinctly shaped column of 19 feet is a must-see while visiting the cave.


Kilkenny has a vibrant night-life and is flooded with pubs and clubs.

  • Langtons Club: A ball room venue, the club host many nightlife events here. Known for its popular music with good variety of drinks, the Langtons Club is a must for friends and groups who don’t mind a late night.
  • Cleere’s Bar and Theatre: One of the rare pubs to offer your favourite drinks along with theatre performances, Cleere’s is a must visit if you prefer being an audience over dancing in clubs. Do try their doorstep sandwiches, tapas and soups while walking by the area.
  • Matt the Millers: One of the late-bars in Kilkenny, Matt and Millers offers a decent bar with good bar-food options. Often preferred by late-nighters, the pub is sure to keep you entertained throughout the night.

Below we have a list of things to do in Kilkenny and the places where you want to spend the best moments of your trip. At the same time, the city offers you the best neighborhoods to explore and new foods to try.

This list should help you in deciding and prioritizing what you should plan on your Kilkenny getaway. Find a mix of must-see tourist spots, underrated local hangouts, and maybe even a few new experiences you can try out.

Make the most of your trip to Kilkenny with confidence.

Tourist Attractions in Kilkenny

Here is the list of things to do in Kilkenny and tourist attractions in city.

  1. Kilkenny Castle

    4 (1588 Votes)
    Kilkenny Castle
    Built in 1146 by William Marshal, the Kilkenny Castle is one of star attractions of the city. The medieval fort has since been converted into the present day visitor’s centre. The lush green gardens that surround the Kilkenny Castle add to its old-charm. Highlights include: Tour of the castle: Includes the Castle Gateway, Medieval Room, Courtyard, Undercroft of the West Tower, Dining Roo...Read more
  2. St. Canice Cathedral

    4.5 (904 Votes)
    St. Canice Cathedral
    The St.Canice Cathedral is a place of worship since the 6the century. The Cathedral is named after St Canice- an Irish Abbot and a prominent missionary. Some of the highlights include: The Cathedral which still functions to this day and is popular for its aesthetical acoustics- making it a place for many music concerts. The Close that consists of the Round Tower, the graveyard, the organist&rs...Read more
  3. Smithwick's Experience

    4.5 (1037 Votes)
    Smithwick's Experience

    Walking Area, Food And Drinks, Street Market, Neighborhoods

    One of the best breweries in Kilkenny, the Smithwick’s Experience tour is sure to give you the best of ale brewing journey. Flowing through 5 generations, the ale is considered the best in Ireland is known for its characteristic ruby colour and rich flavour. The tour consists of a walk through 18th century ale-making techniques adopted by the Smithwick’s family- making the Smithwick...Read more
  4. Rothe House

    4.4 (877 Votes)
    Rothe House
    The Rothe House is a 17th century Merchant Townhouse complex which now accommodates a museum and a library. The merchants at that time had a powerful position in society and were included in its political decisions. The location itself consists of 3 houses with adjoining gardens, courtyards and terraces which depict its rich ancestral past. Highlights Include: The Museum which includes the Phe...Read more
  5. Dominican Black Abbey

    4.5 (1087 Votes)
    Dominican Black Abbey
    Named after the Friars who wore Black coats on occasions, the Black abbey was built in 1225 between 2 cities; the old Irish Kilkenny around the St.Canice Cathedral and the English-town Kilkenny clustered around the Kilkenny Castle. The abbey’s location signified an unbiased position for both the cities. Today Kilkenny consist of both the Irish and English history. The abbey was subjected ...Read more
  6. Jerpoint Abbey
    Jerpoint abbey was founded in the late 12th century. Constructed in 1180 by DonoghO'Donoghoe Mac GillaPatraic, the King of Osraige, the abbey was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Highlights Include: Stone carvings including the tomb of Felix O'Dulany, Bishop of the Diocese of Ossory. Visitor’s Centre Guided Tours of the abbey Saint Nicholas’s...Read more
  7. Dunmore Cave

    4.5 (897 Votes)
    Dunmore Cave
    A perfect combination of history and geology, the Dunmore Cave is known for its Calcite formations. The caves tours a pleasure to experience. Walk through the sites to learn more about its geology as well as its inhabitants. The famous Vikings massacre took place here in 928 A.D. The geological history of the cave covers a span of 350 million years! Highlights include: Visitor Centre which con...Read more
  8. Kilkenny Design Centre

    4.3 (746 Votes)
    Kilkenny Design Centre
    Located at the heart of Kilkenny, the Kilkenny Design Centre is one of the best places to spend a lazy day at. The centre is nestled on the Kilkenny Castle grounds and is the perfect way to shop, eat and breathe all things Irish. The centre includes: Shops Restaurants Design Gallery Foodhall Drop by here to have some lovely Irish food after shopping for some ethnic Irish clothes and accessori...Read more
  9. Kells Augustinian Priory

    Church, Town, Architecture

    Located 15 kilometres south of Kilkenny Town, the Kells Augustine Priory was founded in 1193 by Geoffrey FitzRobert. The priory succeeded an earlier church dedicated to St Mary and served as a parish church for the nearby Kells Village. The church is known for its distinct architecture and design. The equally spaced towers with stone walls enclosing an area of 3 acres make the place look more l...Read more
  10. St Mary's Cathedral

    4.5 (736 Votes)
    St Mary's Cathedral
    St. Mary’s is a Roman Catholic cathedral for the Diocese of Ossory. Designed by William Deane Butler, the church is one of the most magnificent churches in Kilkenny. The beautiful arches with magnanimous structures are sure to make you wonder on the times gone by. The highlights include: Early English Gothic architecture Don’t miss out on the fabulous ceiling w...Read more
  11. The Hole In The Wall

    Walking Area, Food And Drinks, Dine In, Pubs

    One of the most buzzing pubs in Kilkenny, The Hole in the Wall is known for its musicality. The place is flooded with many instruments and people do join in to give spontaneous performances. Be sure to join in the merriment. The food is rich in its roots while the beer is one to envy. The ambience is sure to make you walk out feeling lighter than usual. Do try to spend at least a couple of hour...Read more
  12. The Kilkenny Traditional Music Trail
    The Kilkenny Traditional Music Trail is perhaps one of the most popular trails in Kilkenny. Breeze through the town with foot-tapping Irish Folk music while listening to some of the best stories you will ever hear. Join in the fun and frolic at various pubs. The musicians are friendly, entertaining and sure to make you feel one with Irish Culture and Arts. The tour also includes a crash course ...Read more
  13. St. John The Evangelist

    4.6 (572 Votes)
    St. John The Evangelist

    Church, Religious Site, Architecture

    The St. John Church is perhaps one of the most beautiful gems in the city. The stained glass interior with grandeur- like architecture is sure to make you want to have a moment of peace. The palm mass on Sunday is a highlight here.
  14. Graces Courthouse And Jail
    Originally built over the ruins of a Castle, the courthouse and jail function till date. The Grace’s Courthouse and Jail is situated at the heart of the city and even though there is no access to see the place from inside, visitors love to visit the grounds in the evenings to experience the history attached to it. A must-see during your lazy evening walks, the courthouse and jail is sure ...Read more
  15. Butler Gallery
    Residing in the Kilkenny Castle, the Butler Gallery is known for its tasteful contemporary art exhibitions and is one of the most respected art galleries in Kilkenny. They showcase some of the best creations and exhibitions of renowned as well as emerging artists. True to the changing times, the gallery will get you hooked on the latest art trends. Highlights Include: Impeccable contemporary g...Read more

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  • Where can I find a segway rental in Kilkenny?

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    • You can contact 'Kilkenny Cycling Tours, Bike Hire' on  353 86 895 4961. You can also consider contacting 'Extreme Sports' on 021 435 5588. Some of the tour companies arrange segway tours around the city as well. 

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