A day trip to Kilkenny, Ireland

“Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one!”

– Irish Saying

The second day in Dublin we took a day trip to Kilkenny, about and hour and a half south of Dublin. This was one of my favorite cities we visited in the UK and Ireland. I suggest parking in a central location and walking around to see all of this historic sights, this will also provide you the opportunity to get lost in all of the ancient alley ways which are super neat! See the end of the post for a walking map of Kilkenny.

First things first, be sure to walk the Medieval Mile and visit the Museum. The museum is housed in a 13th-century church with an attached graveyard and medieval sculptures. We wavered as to whether we wanted to purchase a tour when we arrived, and ultimately decided to take the tour- it was definitely worth it. We learned so much about the history of Kilkenny and Ireland. The tour guide was a retired therapist who simply enjoyed telling the history of his hometown to visitors, he was super informative and a great storyteller.

Kilkenny Castle was a bit underwhelming, and you could skip if time did not permit. This was more of a renovated big building with fresh paint, and expensive paintings all over the walls, and not much history or medieval artifacts at all, needless to say it was not the coolest castle we saw on this trip. A few days later we went to the Limerick castle which was really cool!

Kilkenny Castle

After visiting the Kilkenny Castle we walked around town to see St Mary’s Cathedral, the Black Abbey which has free admission and has a beautiful interior, and finally St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower. You must climb the Round Tower at St. Canice’s. As always, I was hesitant to climb a steep set of stairs, but it was a really easy climb! I practically jogged to the top. We were the first group of the day to climb the tower which was great because we didn’t have to wait behind other people- the staircase is so narrow, I do not think you would be able to pass someone. Once you reach the top, the view is amazing! Seeing the city from it’s highest point is one of my favorite activities in a new place.

After climbing up the Round Tower at St. Canice’s Cathedral we were ready for our tour at the local brewery: Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny. At this 18th Century brewery you can purchase a flexible ticket for a day and show up at anytime, tours are offered every 30 minutes. The tour starts with an informative video of the history of the brewery and the family behind the brew. After the video, and brewery tour, we ended with a flight of the beers and some pretzels in the lounge.

Where to Eat…

  • Nostalgia Cafe: When we got to Kilkenny we planned to go to another bakery, we walked around looking for it for a fairly long time to find out that is had been closed down. So we went to pretty much the only other restaurant that was open, Nostalgia Cafe. The miss-matched furniture and decorations were really cute, and the scone was probably the best I had on this trip.
  • Kyteler’s Inn was established in 1324 and has an interesting history! The original owner was Alice le Kyteler who was born in Kilkenny in 1263. While alive she became quite infamous because of her four husbands and significant fortune. After her fourth husband died, locals began to accuse her of witchcraft and conspired to have her burned at the stake. It is believed she was the first women ever to be charged as a witch and burned at the stake. As for the restaurant, it was very good and had great, quick service- which was good because we had to head back to Dublin for a Distillery Tour.
Walking Tour of Kilkenny

Overall our day in Kilkenny was one of my favorites, I really enjoyed walking around the medieval town, learning about the town’s history, and climbing to the top of the Round Tower. If you are in Dublin and want to do a day-trip to a quaint town outside the city, Kilkenny is worth the trip!

Have you visited Dublin? Do you have a favorite town outside the city?

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