County Kilkenny


Photo of County Kilkenny

About County Kilkenny

At the centre of Ireland’s Ancient East, County Kilkenny promises a brilliant fusion of medieval sites, verdant countryside studded with pretty towns and villages, and a lively modern city. Accommodation options in the region are wide-ranging, with everything from simple B&Bs to impressive luxury hotels, suited to a whole array of budgets. Many of the best places to stay in County Kilkenny are set in gorgeous historic manor houses, on large estates brimming with activities for travellers eager to explore the great outdoors.

Kilkenny Castle is the undoubted jewel in the region’s medieval crown, and well worth taking the time to explore. The Norman castle sits at the centre of the city, and some of our favourite hotels boast striking views of its 12th-century walls. Wind your way through the maze of little lanes around the Castle to catch a glimpse of Rothe House, St Canice’s Cathedral and the Black Abbey, as well as myriad other heritage buildings. A hub of creativity, Kilkenny is home to a thriving community of artists and makers. Admire their work at the National Design and Craft Gallery, and follow the MADE in Kilkenny Craft Trail to visit workshops, studios and stockists for fabulous gifts and mementos. Finally, discover the story of Ireland's oldest ale with the Smithwick's Experience, before retreating to one of the city’s lively pubs or eateries for a delicious dinner -- plus a pint or two, of course.

Twenty minutes from Kilkenny city and close to the acclaimed Mount Juliet Estate, lies Jerpoint Park, site of The Lost Town of Newtown Jerpoint and the tomb of St. Nicholas. Dating back to the 12th century, these evocative stone ruins have been recognised as a national monument, and are best explored with a knowledgeable guide. Families might be also especially interested in the Park’s Sheep Dog Demonstrations, a fun chance to see the dogs in action! The Dunmore Caves make for intriguing visiting, too, whilst nature lovers will adore the Woodstock House & Gardens, near pretty Inistioge -- a lovely family day out.

Ruins and sheepdogs aside, Kilkenny is an excellent base for rambling, cycling, horse-riding and fishing on the picturesque River Nore. Many of the best places to stay in County Kilkenny offer a broad choice of activities, perfect for the whole family. Whether you’re keen to discover Kilkenny on horseback, to unwind with a massage at the spa, to embark upon a guided heritage walk, or to savour Michelin-starred fare, our top picks promise a wonderful Irish escape to remember.

The Best Places to Stay in County Kilkenny

For a city stay

  • The Pembroke is a smart hotel in medieval Kilkenny. Pick this place for bright, reasonably-priced rooms -- some of which offer striking views of Kilkenny Castle. Guests at The Pembroke can also enjoy the use of the luxurious spa and stylish restaurant at The Ormonde, the property's sister hotel. Modern design and an excellent Kilkenny location, with some top-notch facilities thrown in! Great for a lively city break.
  • Butler House was originally the Dower House of Kilkenny Castle, and now features 17 chic guestrooms tucked behind an attractive historic façade, The city's main sites are just a short walk away, yet the property feels spacious and soothing, with many rooms overlooking the mature gardens and the Castle. Book the Lady Eleanor Suite for maximum indulgence, and don't miss the delightful afternoon tea. An elegant, tranquil choice.

For a B&B

  • Ballyduff House boasts six comfortable, traditional rooms in a beautiful, ivy-clad manor-turned-B&B. Think antique furnishings, family portraits on the walls, hearty breakfasts in the dining room and plenty of country pursuits -- from fishing to hunting -- to enjoy. Stay here for the intimate atmosphere, warm Irish welcome and stacks of character. Hunting meets often begin at the house!

For Rural Luxury

  • The Manor House at Mount Juliet is a gorgeous boutique hideaway on one of Ireland's most acclaimed country estates. The Manor's 32 rooms and suites are opulent and romantic, inspired by individuals associated with the property's fascinating past. With an onsite spa, equestrian centre and a world-class golf course, as well as cycling, walking and excellent fishing on the River Nore, there's no shortage of things to do! The Michelin-starred Lady Helen Restaurant is an absolute foodie highlight. Boutique bliss for grown-ups.
  • Hunter's Yard Hotel is a beautiful addition to the Mount Juliet estate, with 93 rooms oozing cool, contemporary charm. Think bold paint colours and chic decor, big cosy beds, striking estate views and a luxurious, understated feel. Generous spaces are ideal for the whole family, who will relish the vast array of exciting activities and facilities on offer (shared with The Manor House). A superb, stylish choice for families or couples.
  • Lyrath Estate promises swish, contemporary style in a 17th-century house and swanky extension, set in 170 acres of spectacular Irish countryside close to the city. Choose this property for the fantastic facilities and activities, as well as the family-friendly feel. Large Family Suites promise plenty of space for little ones, who will also adore cycling, archery, falconry and splashing around the children's pool. A family favourite.

For an apartment or holiday cottage

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.


  • There are regular international and domestic flights to Dublin International Airport. Alternatively, take a ferry from Liverpool (or Holyhead) to Dublin. You can then hop aboard a bus, train or taxi to your destination in County Kilkenny.
  • County Kilkenny's many highlights are most easily reached by road. Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Travel between May and September for warmer weather, averaging at around 17°C. The summer is the most popular time to visit, so book your stay well in advance to avoid missing out!



Monthly Weather in County Kilkenny

Best Hotels in County Kilkenny

  • The Pembroke Kilkenny 74 rooms from £75

    City Style
    Great walks  -  Kilfane Glen and Waterfall
    Sights nearby  -  Kilkenny Castle
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Air conditioningRestaurantParking

    Modern boutique hotel with a popular bar. Contemporary, pristine rooms, some with views of the castle. Super conference facilities and fine dining restaurant. There is a spa across the road at the Pembroke's sister hotel for guest use. A great choice and excellent value for money. See More

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  • Ballyduff House County Kilkenny 6 rooms from £83

    Country Escape  -  A majestic country house situated in a picturesque secluded setting.
    Fishing  -  The river Nore has excellent salmon and trout fishing.
    Great walks  -  Find scenic walks starting straight from the property.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    A Georgian country house situated by the river Nore. Traditionally furnished rooms are dressed with antiques and offer fabulous views from large sash windows. Beautiful walks, fishing and hunting are all available from the property. A truly authentic Irish stay. See More

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  • Butler House Kilkenny 13 rooms from £109

    Country Escape  -  Traditional country abode, formerly the home of the Earl of Ormonde
    Sights nearby  -  Butler House is situated on the Kilkenny castle estate.
    Kayaking  -  'Go With The Flow' River Tours
    Great walks  -  Kilfane Waterfall and Glen
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays

    A beautifully maintained Georgian guesthouse on Kilkenny castle estate. Spacious rooms with elegant neutral colours, period fire places, sash windows and spiral staircases. Stunning manicured gardens and majestic views of the castle and grounds. A superb weekend getaway. See More

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  • Lyrath Estate Kilkenny, County Kilkenny 139 rooms from £126

    Families  -  This hotel is well-suited to families, with larger, family suites available and a splash pool for younger children
    Romantic Break  -  Couples rate this romantic country bolt-hole highly; book an in-suite couples' massage for an indulgent night in
    Country Escape  -  Set within acres of verdant parkland, this hotel makes an idyllic escape to the country
    Great walks  -  Explore the fairytale grounds on a walk; the estate comprises 170 acres of mature parkland, home to a host of native wildlife
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    Set in 170 acres of Irish countryside, replete with lakes and woodland, this country estate hotel makes a unique getaway. Choose from classic or contemporary guestrooms in the restored 17th-century Estate House or modern extension. Unwind at the hotel spa after a day on the green; a stylish getaway. See More

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  • Hunter's Yard Hotel Thomastown, County Kilkenny 93 rooms from £165

    Country Escape  -  Set on an idyllic Georgian estate in County Kilkenny, this hotel offers many rural delights from fishing to golf and riding
    Families  -  Families are well-catered for at this hotel, with family rooms available and great activities for children
    Foodies  -  Dine at the hotel restaurant The Hound, awarded a Michelin Plate and two AA rosettes
    Fishing  -  Go fishing in the River Nore; the hotel has a fishing room onsite and all the equipment you could need
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    Set on a verdant, Georgian country estate, this five-star hotel offers a luxury escape from the city. Duck feather pillows promise a restful night's sleep in the hotel's bright guestrooms; book a suite for a marble-topped bathtub. Dine at the acclaimed hotel restaurant, The Hound. A stylish getaway. See More

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  • Manor House at Mount Juliet Thomastown, County Kilkenny 32 rooms from £200

    Foodies  -  Be sure to reserve a table at the hotel's Michelin-starred Lady Helen Restaurant, which focuses on locally sourced ingredients
    Weddings  -  This magnificent Georgian manor house makes a picturesque setting for your special day; enquire with the hotel for packages
    Country Escape  -  Set on a verdant Georgian estate in County Kilkenny, this hotel makes an idyllic escape to the country
    Fishing  -  Mount Juliet House is set on a large estate which offers private fishing on the middle to lower reaches of the River Nore
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

    A luxurious Georgian manor house is the setting for this boutique getaway in County Kilkenny. The family heirlooms and 18th-century artefacts that pepper the property add a personal touch to the elegant guestrooms; book a suite for a cosy fireplace. Take afternoon tea in the lounge; a stately hotel. See More

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