Listed below are attractions that Kilkenny has to offer it's visitors.
This superb castle is located on elevated ground beside the river at the south-eastern end of the city. The castle was built in the thirteenth century on the site of an earlier fort. However, the present building is vastly different from the stronghold erected by Strongbow in the middle ages. Despite this, the present structure retains the architectural lines of a medieval castle. The building forms three sides of a quadrangle, with three of the four original round towers intact. The Butlers, the Earls of Ormonde (an Hibernicised Norman clan), occupied the castle from the fourteenth century onwards. In modern times, the castle has been restored to its former glory by the state, and was officially open to the public in 1976. There is an exhibition hall open to the public in the Old Castle Stables.
Kilkenny Castle provides guided tours, an art gallery, a café during summer, extensive grounds and a childrens play area.
JERPOINT ABBEY, Thomastown,Co. Kilkenny
An outstanding Cistercian abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century. The church with its Romanesque details dates from this period. In the transept chapels the visitor can see 13th and 16th century tomb sculpture. The tower and cloister date from the 15th century. The chief delight of the Abbey is the sculptured cloister arcade with unique carvings. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting exhibition. Access for visitors with disabilities. Guided tours available.
NATIONAL CRAFTS GALLERY
The National Crafts Gallery is located in Castle Yard directly across from Kilkenny Castle. This gallery was initiated by the Crafts Council of Ireland with the objective of stimulating an innovative and quality design ethos in the Irish crafts sector. The gallery boasts an impressive range of craft exhibitions that successfully communicate and showcase the cultural and commercial attributes of the craft sector in Ireland.
SHEE ALMS HOUSE
Shee Alms House is situated in Rose Inn Street and was founded in 1582 by Sir Richard Shee. The purpose of these institutions was to take care of the poor, and this Tudor Alms House is one of the last remaining buildings of its type still in existence in Ireland. The building has been recently restored and now accommodates the Kilkenny Tourist Office.
This central Kilkenny landmark dates from 1761. Erected by Alderman William Colles, the Thosel served as the market for the city (the word 'thosel' means literally a marketplace). Architecturally, the building has a double length arcade with an impressive Georgian Council Chamber room positioned above the arcade. There is a clock tower on the steeply pitched roof, and the southern wall contains the Kilkenny coat of arms. The original building was badly damaged after a fire in 1987, but has since been completely restored, and now serves as the City Hall.
This magnificent sixteenth century Tudor town house is situated on Parliament Street. Built in 1594 by John Rothe, the building consists of three houses with courtyards. Rothe House currently houses the museum and library of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. Within the museum there are a number of exhibits including period costume displays and a genealogical centre.
ST. MARY'S CATHEDRAL
The cathedral is situated on James's Street, and dates from the mid nineteenth century. The building is accessible from the Black Abbey via Black Mill Street. St. Mary's boasts a 200ft high tower and superbly carved altars
William Marshall (Earl of Pembroke) founded the Black Abbey in 1225 for the Dominicans. This impressive building is situated on Abbey Street, and features a tower and some magnificent windows dating from the original the original structure. The Dominican abbey was dissolved in the sixteenth century and subsequently became a courthouse. Fortunately, the abbey was restored to its former glory in the nineteenth century enabling it to be reopened as a church. At the Abbey entrance, one can find a series of monumental slabs and stone coffins dating from the middle ages.
BLACK FREREN GATE
Black Freren Gate is located in close proximity to the Black Abbey on Abbey Street. This landmark is the sole existing remnant of the entrance gates in the medieval city walls.
ST. FRANCIS'S ABBEY
William Marshall (Earl of Pembroke) founded St. Francis's Abbey in the thirteenth century. In recent years, the Abbey has been the oratory of Smithwick's Brewery, famous for 'Smithwicks' and 'Kilkenny' ales. The building features a bell tower, a Chancel, and the superb east window. In the sixteenth century the Abbey was possessed by the state and given to the corporation. Fortunately, the building has been completely renovated in recent years.
MOUNT JULIET, Thomastown,Co. Kilkenny
Deep amid the rolling hill of Ireland's beautiful south east, lies Mount Juliet, Twelfth Century origins. A leisurely pace of life and a traditionally generous hospitality combine with world-class sporting amenities and conference facilities, making Mount Juliet a place of contrast and surprises, unique in its combination of old and new. A sporting Paradise, rich in history and tradition. Nothing can prepare you for the warmth of its welcome. Enjoy golf, horse riding, shooting, tennis and the spa and leisure centre. Or simply relax in the most idyllic surroundings imaginable.
ST. CANICE'S CATHEDRAL
St. Canice's was erected in the thirteenth century, and is accessible from Irishtown via St. Canice's Steps. The cathedral features a magnificent tower that offers impressive views of the city. The cathedral evolved over the centuries and was unfortunately damaged by Oliver Cromwell's troops in the seventeenth century. This Kilkenny landmark features a fascinating collection of monuments and tombs dating from the Tudor era.
KILKENNY COURTHOUSE (formerly Grace's Castle)
Kilkenny Courthouse formerly known as Grace's Castle is presently used for sittings of the Circuit and District Courts.The site was originally a town house of the wealthy Grace family who leased the building to the crown in 1566. Used as a jail from 1566, it was transformed into a courthouse around the end of the 18th century.
"Warm and friendly, five star hospitality!" Mairead and Jimmy are wonderful hosts in their lovely home. It is a hidden gem close enough to town for convenience, yet in a quiet country setting.