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Kilkenny

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1°C

Photo of Kilkenny

About Kilkenny

Just an hour and a half from Dublin lies lively Kilkenny, a thriving riverside city with a fascinating medieval past and a cool contemporary crafts focus. This is a wonderfully exciting city base, within easy reach of County Kilkenny's gorgeous countryside and many of the historic attractions of Ireland's Ancient East. Accommodation options range from ivy-clad heritage houses to cosy self-catering apartments, fit for a whole host of budgets. Our pick of the best places to stay in Kilkenny boast impressive views of Kilkenny Castle, set in the heart of the city.

Built at the end of the twelfth centry, Kilkenny's Norman castle makes for intriguing exploring, featuring extensive gardens, a man-made lake and verdant parkland. The maze of cobbled lanes around it are great for a stroll, too. Admire Rothe House, follow The Medieval Mile discovery trail to St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower, and peer into the Black Abbey for a sense of Kilkenny's long history.

If it's creative inspiration that you're after, head to the National Design and Craft Gallery and the Kilkenny Design Centre. Kilkenny has become an arts and craft hub, showcasing the work of a burgeoning community of makers and shakers. Follow the MADE in Kilkenny Craft Trail to step into workshops and studios for a fabulous insight into the city's art scene.

For the story of Ireland's oldest ale, don't miss the Smithwick's Experience, offering a chance to understand the brewing process -- best enjoyed with a pint or two, of course.

Venture further afield to Jerpoint Park and the Dunmore Caves to unravel the region's myths and legends, or pop to the Jerpoint Glass Studio to watch skilled glassblowers create one-of-a-kind pieces. There's fishing on the River Nore, rambling, horse-riding and cycling for nature lovers to enjoy in the Kilkenny countryside, as well as many more heritage sites and natural wonders dotted across the landscape.

Round off days of adventure in the city's bustling pubs and eateries, including lots of live music and a fun, friendly vibe. With stacks to see and do, charming Kilkenny makes for an enchanting destination, whether you're travelling as a couple, a group of friends, or as a family. The best places to stay in Kilkenny are clustered around the city's medieval centre, ensuring that you're well-placed to soak up its many secrets on foot.

The Best Places to Stay in Kilkenny

For city style

  • 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.

For old-school elegance

  • 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 an apartment or holiday cottage

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

Travel Information

  • 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 Kilkenny. The journey should take around 1.5 hours.
  • County Kilkenny's many highlights are most easily reached by road from the city. 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!

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Monthly Weather in Kilkenny

Best Hotels in 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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  • 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
    GardenParking
    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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