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Things to do in
Kilkenny

Our most recommended things to do in Kilkenny

From Dublin: Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough & Kilkenny Tour

1. From Dublin: Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough & Kilkenny Tour

Embark on a guided day trip through the lush pastures of Ireland from Dublin. Tour the vast Wicklow Mountains and see the monastery of Glendalough. Lose yourself in the medieval lanes of Kilkenny. Depart from Dublin and set off on a luxury bus to Glendalough. As you journey out of the city, your guide will fill you in on many interesting facts and fun stories about Dublin. Arrive at Glendalough, considered one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland. Enjoy an optional guided tour of the monastic settlement and some free time to explore the area or relax at a local café. The more adventurous can opt to take a hike to the Upper Lake and return via a boardwalk (approx. 2.5 km). The route takes you past the Lower Lake through a stunning nature trail that leads deep into the valley and on to the Upper Lake. Continue through the Wicklow Mountains. As you drive, your guide will tell you about its geology and history. Pass through famous movie locations featured in P.S. I Love You and Braveheart. Stop for a 10-minute photo opportunity at the Wicklow Gap before a scenic ride to Kilkenny. Once you reach Kilkenny, have free time to navigate the narrow lanes and historic buildings. Admire its extraordinary castle where you can picnic, or enjoy lunch in the local pubs. Then, join an optional guided tour of the city before making your way back to Dublin.

Dublin: Kilkenny, Wicklow, & Glendalough with Sheepdog Show

2. Dublin: Kilkenny, Wicklow, & Glendalough with Sheepdog Show

Admire the tower of Glendalough, the wild beauty of the Wicklow Mountains, and the medieval city of Kilkenny on a full-day guided tour from Dublin. Depart from Dublin and make your way directly to Kilkenny, a town that was once the medieval capital of Ireland. Enjoy walking down the cobbled streets and visit the Black Abbey and the Cathedral of Saint Canice. After that, travel through the Wicklow Mountains to your next stop. Visit the monastic site of Glendalough. Hollywood Blockbusters like ‘P.S. I Love You’ and ‘Braveheart’ have been filmed here. Explore the area renowned for its ruins, magnificent lakes, and waterfalls. Finally, head over to a sheepdog farm and watch a sheepdog herd with his master. Look at the Border Collies using a tactic called “The Eye” on sheep. Witness a shepherd and his dog at work and watch how they herd a flock of sheep.

From Dublin: Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, & Kilkenny Tour

3. From Dublin: Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough, & Kilkenny Tour

Enjoy a combined full-day sightseeing tour of some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes, including the 12th-century castle of Kilkenny, the rugged Wicklow Mountains, and the 7th-century monastery of Glendalough. The first stop is Kilkenny Castle (entree fee not included), majestically located on the banks of the River Nore. The craft capital of Ireland, you can visit the Kilkenny Art and Design Centre to get a better appreciation of the craft traditions of goldsmiths, sculptors, painters and more. Stroll around the cobblestone streets, and visit Saint Frances Brewery, Ireland’s oldest. Admire the magnificent silk merchant’s mansion of Rothe House, containing priceless Viking artifacts.And walk in the medieval gardens to see historic varietals of fruit and veg, such as Gortahok cabbage and Blood of Boyne apples. Enjoy lunch in one of the city’s artisan cafés. Walking tour included. En route to Glendalough, drive into the wild Wicklow Mountains of County Carlow. Watch as the landscape changes from lush green pastures and gentle valleys, to the glacial valleys of Wicklow Gap, giving it a cinematic quality that made it a popular location to shoot movies such as “Braveheart” and “PS I Love You.” Continue over the mountains to explore the monastic site of Glendalough (meaning glen of two lakes), where Christianity was re-introduced to Ireland after the Dark Ages. Learn about Saint Kevin, founder of the 7th-century monastery. Follow your guide on a walking tour to see intact architecture, such as St. Kevin’s Kitchen, Church and Round Tower. On the final part of your journey head through the highest village in Ireland, known as Roundwood. Marvel at the Sugarloaf Mountains, which were higher than the Alps before the Ice Age. Pass Powerscourt Estate and the Glen of Imaal en route to Kilnacanogue. Your guide will regale you with stories about Ireland, and be treated to some traditional Irish music on the drive back to Dublin.

From Dublin: Kilkenny and Wicklow Mountain Full-Day Tour

4. From Dublin: Kilkenny and Wicklow Mountain Full-Day Tour

Travel through Kildare to historic Kilkenny on this full-day scenic tour from Dublin. Once the medieval capital of Ireland, Kilkenny boasts Ireland’s finest Norman castle, and have the chance to buy a pint of Kilkenny beer in the city where it is produced. Board the comfortable and climate-controlled bus in Dublin and begin your day trip. Relax on the drive to Kilkenny past sparkling lakes, dense forests and babbling brooks.  Arrive in Kilkenny and enjoy free time to shop for traditional Irish crafts like unique knitwear, pottery and glass. Spend your time strolling through quaint streets or popping into a local pub for a delicious Kilkenny beer. Continue to the monastic city of St. Kevin at Glendalough, best known for the wedding scenes in the blockbuster movie “Braveheart” and famous as the location for the film “PS I Love You.” Head to the megalithic portal tomb of Brownshill Dolmen to uncover how ancient Irish ancestors buried their dead and celebrated their passage into the next world. Return to your meeting point in Dublin at the end of your day trip. 

Kilkenny: Smithwick's Beer Experience

5. Kilkenny: Smithwick's Beer Experience

Begin your journey with the Franciscan monks who first started brewing on this site in the 13th-century and whose resourcefulness began the tradition of brewing at St. Francis Abbey. Continue on to learn the history of the Smithwick family, told as only they know how. Learn about how John Smithwick established his brewery in 1710 and over 300 years the family made a name for themselves in Kilkenny and further afield as brewers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and benefactors. On the brewing floor, experience a reproduction of the brewing process right down to the smell of the hops and the taste of the sweet wort. Learn about the 4 ingredients that go into every pint of Smithwick's, including the secret ingredient which is kept under lock and key. The final stage of the tour is, for many, the best - sample a pint of your favorite Smithwick's ale in the tasting bar or upgrade to a Tasting Paddle where you can sample 3 different ales on offer. Learn what makes Smithwick's one of Ireland's favorite ales that is famous all over the world. Sit back, relax and enjoy, this fun and informative tour.

Kilkenny: Guided City Boat Tour with Kilkenny Castle Views

6. Kilkenny: Guided City Boat Tour with Kilkenny Castle Views

Boats depart from Canal Square and head upstream on the river Nore. Along the route, passengers will view the medieval architecture of Kilkenny, hear of the local history and take in sites such as the WW1 Memorial, St Canice’s Catheral and Kilkenny’s Round Tower. Turning at Greens Bridge, boats then travels back down stream, under Lady Desert bridge and St Johns Bridge, pass the boarding point, and beneath the shadow of the ever imposing, Kilkenny Castle. Continuing south, boats travels along the crest of Castle Weir through lush greenery to the ruins of Ormonde Woollen Mill. Here, boats turn once more and return passengers to the boarding pontoon at Canal Square. This Guided Boat Tours takes approximately 40 to 45 minutes.

Kilkenny: Historical and Hysterical Guided City Walking Tour

7. Kilkenny: Historical and Hysterical Guided City Walking Tour

Travel back in time as you explore Kilkenny city’s history-rich Medieval Mile on a fascinating and exciting walking tour that has been devised by one of Ireland’s leading magicians and raconteurs. With your passionate guide, Nevin Cody, embark on a journey to discover the wonders that are hidden in one of Ireland’s most historic locations. The tour begins at the main gates of Kilkenny Castle where you’ll weave your way through the picturesque streets of the Medieval Mile whilst listening to unique anecdotes and stories about the land. Listen to your guide blend history, magic, whimsical fun, and a dollop of irreverent humor that keeps you entertained from start to finish. Against the backdrop of Ireland’s famous Medieval Mile, watch as the veil of history is lifted and the hidden secrets that lie within the city are discovered. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and covers just over one mile of walking. The group maintains a moderate pace of walking and there are plenty of stops along the way. The tour runs rain or shine so please come prepared for all weather forecasts.

Kilkenny: Historical Highlights Walking Tour

8. Kilkenny: Historical Highlights Walking Tour

Explore Kilkenny's fascinating past on a walking tour with a certified guide. Walk through the city's historic streets, hearing stories about Kilkenny Castle, St. John's Priory, and more, as you stand in front of these impressive sights. Kick-start your historical adventure by the Kilkenny Crystal Shop. Then, cross the River Nore towards Kilkenny County Hall, where you will find out about the most famous scholar in Kilkenny's history. From there, head to St. John's Priory and the Butler Gallery. Continue on to Kilkenny County Library and the Great War Memorial. Cross into Irishtown and St. Canice's Cathedral, where the city's history began. See many other fascinating sights along the tour, including Kieran and Parliament streets, the Black Abbey, and more. Finish your tour in front of the stunning Kilkenny Castle, home to the Butler family for 600 years.

6-Day Tour of Southern Ireland from Dublin

9. 6-Day Tour of Southern Ireland from Dublin

Embark on a 6-day tour from Dublin and discover Glendalough, Kilkenny, Waterford, Blarney Castle, Dingle Peninsula, Cork, Slea Head, Ring of Kerry, Killarney, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, and Connemara. Day 1: Dublin - Glendalough - Kilkenny Castle - Waterford City Begin the tour in central Dublin. Leave the capital behind and drive through rolling countryside to the Wicklow Mountains. Your first stop is the monastery ruins at Glendalough, the Valley of Two Lakes. Admire the natural beauty and enjoy the local walks and trails with views of ancient Celtic crosses and round towers. Afterward, continue to the medieval city of Kilkenny with its cobbled streets and famous red ale. Not far from Waterford Harbor on the southeast coast, Dunmore East is a relaxing spot to spend the evening with a handful of pubs and some great seafood restaurants. Day 2: Waterford City - Waterford Crystal - Blarney Castle - Dingle Peninsula Your day begins with a visit to the world-famous Waterford Crystal factory. Stock up on fine-cut glass at the outlet store or simply pause a while to watch the artisans at work. Continue with a scenic drive through County Waterford and a panoramic drive through Cork city. The highlight for many today is the world-renowned Blarney Castle. After lunch, continue on your journey to the Dingle Peninsula, where you will stay overnight at one of the westernmost points of Ireland. Day 3: Dingle Peninsula - Slea Head - Killarney Take the short drive to Dingle, a charming Irish-speaking fishing village. Famed in many films like Far and Away and Ryan's Daughter, Dingle is celebrated for having the most pubs in Ireland for a town of its size, 52 pubs and 2000 people. Then it's off on a wonderful pleasant trip around Slea Head with amazing views of Sleeping Giant Island, the Blasket Islands, and Beehive Huts. Day 4: Killarney - Ring of Kerry - Killarney Discover the amazing scenery of the Ring of Kerry. Begin with a horse and cart ride through Killarney National Park (optional) or a horseback ride through the park for the energetic and adventurous (optional). Your afternoon is packed with many highlights including Moll's Gap, Ladies View, Leprechaun Crossing, Killarney National Park, Lakes of Killarney, Torc Waterfall, and much more. Day 5: Killarney - Cliffs of Moher - Galway Visit the town of Killarney and Bunratty Castle in the morning. Then in the afternoon, continue north along the Wild Atlantic Way. Stop at the iconic Cliffs of Moher and the village of Doolin. Stay overnight in Galway, known as the city of the tribes and Ireland's cultural capital, with a vast array of fine seafood eateries, and home to an endless selection of traditional Irish music venues. Day 6: Galway - Connemara - Dublin Discover the rugged beauty of the Connemara region, located west of Galway city. Have time to visit Cong Abbey before heading off on your journey through the midlands back to Dublin.

From Dublin: 5-Day Trip to the Southwest with Accommodation

10. From Dublin: 5-Day Trip to the Southwest with Accommodation

Discover the scenic splendor of southwest Ireland on a comprehensive 5-day tour of The Burren, the Dingle Peninsula, and the fabled Ring of Kerry. Stop at historic castles and monasteries, and wander the colorful fishing villages to sample fresh seafood. Enjoy dramatic views from the Cliffs of Moher, and stroll along the vast stretch of Inch Beach watching the local surfers. Transportation is by small minicoach, with accommodation in quaint bed and breakfast guesthouses for a more intimate experience. Day 1: Depart Dublin and head west through the farmland and peat bogs of Kildare and Offally counties. Stop at Locke’s Distillery, reputedly the oldest legal distillery in the world. Sample the local whiskey to experience the true spirit of Ireland. Continue west to the mighty Shannon River, and vist the early Christian site of Clonmacnoise. Admire its collection of churches, stone crosses, and round towers. After an afternoon stop in a traditional pub in one of the attractive villages, travel to Galway City to check into your base for the night. This lively student town has no shortage of good pubs and restaurants to enjoy in the evening. Day 2: From Galway City it’s only a short drive along the coast to The Burren, one of Ireland’s great natural treasures. Marvel at the limestone pavements, barren hills, and rare flora. See Christian settlements and ancient stone monuments. You will spend most of the morning exploring this unique area, stopping in Kilfenora for lunch. Known as the “Town of the Crosses,” there will also be time to visit the old cathedral before driving to the Cliffs of Moher. Marvel at this natural beauty, where the cliffs drop almost 700 feet into crashing Atlantic Ocean waves. Take a walk along one of the cliff top trails, and watch the seabirds at work. Alternatively, visit the award-winning environmental exhibition to learn about the region’s ecology. Then, travel south through County Clare, passing the famous golf course and beach at Lahinch to catch the ferry across the Shannon Estuary and into County Kerry. Go to the beautiful lakeside town of Killarney, your base for the next 3 nights. The pubs here are great for food and most have live music in the evenings. Day 3 Today, you will explore the Dingle Peninsula, one of the most scenic parts of Ireland. Your first stop in this heartland of Gaelic culture will be Inch Beach, a vast expanse of sand facing the Atlantic Ocean popular with surfers. From here, increasingly narrow roads lead onto the peninsula itself, through the town of Dingle and out to Slea Head. This is an area of ancient forts and dwellings that date back thousands of years. Visit some of the best examples along the way. Enjoy views of the Blasket Islands as they rise dramatically from the sea. Marvel at the mountains of the famous Ring of Kerry to your south. Weather permitting, time will be allotted for a walk on the beach or along the cliff tops. Learn why the area is important in Gaelic literature. Then, head back to Dingle town with its brightly colored buildings and busy harbor. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure, before returning to Killarney. If the weather is good you could enjoy an evening walk in Killarney National Park, just on the edge of town. Day 4: Today, you will take one of the world’s classic routes, the 100-mile Ring of Kerry. Depart Killarney and enjoy the views to Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain. Join the coast road through Glenbeigh and Kells to Cahersiveen. Possible stops along the way include Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace, and the ring fort of Cahersiveen. Go to the little fishing village of Portmagee for a lunch of local seafood. Alternatively, cross to the island of Valencia and visit the Skellig Experience to learn about the small community of monks who once lived on the nearby rock island of Skellig Michael. In the afternoon, stop in picturesque Waterville, a favourite holiday destination for Charlie Chaplin. Stop again at the top of the Coonmakista Pass for one of the best views in Ireland. From here, the road drops down to sea level, where you will visit Derrynane House, the family home of Daniel O’Connell. You can stroll in the gardens and down to the beach, as well as look inside the house itself. Continue around the Ring, stopping at Moll’s Gap and Ladies View. There will also be time for a short walk to the Torc Waterfall before returning to Killarney. Day 5: The final day of your tour heads east through the mountains of West Cork and the market town of Macroom. Then, drive along the Lee Valley to Blarney Castle. Visit the castle and take one of the woodland walks to the mystical Rock Close. Explore the village of Blarney, stopping for lunch and a bit of shopping. There may even be time to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, although in peak season it can be very busy. In the afternoon, head to the Rock of Cashel to see the medieval monastery complex high above the town. Finally, go to Kilkenny, a bustling city with a fine castle and park, as well as some lovely riverside walks. Visit the National Craft Centre, or just hang out in one of the pubs for a last Guinness. Hit the road again for the final leg of your journey, arriving back in Dublin at approximately 19:30.

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What people are saying about Kilkenny

Overall rating

4.6
(3,566 reviews)

Super peaceful and well organized trip. They even play theme music while we travel to really get into the vibe. 😆 Super charismatic and friendly guide and great accountant, we saw several beautiful landscapes and learned a lot! I wish we had more time at the Glendalough stop as the park is huge and the 1h30 stop flies by. But overall, it's really worth it as everything was incredibly beautiful, the city of Kilkenny is super beautiful with lots of friendly people, great for anyone who wants to see somewhere in Ireland other than the capital. 👌

Incredible tour with the most personable and well versed on history and folklore guide Aoife who made thd trip so exciting and inspiring. One of the most interesting tours I have taken. The sheepdog demonstration was so wonderful as well as the views of the countryside.

Amazing! Pat & Michael were wonderful. Pat had great knowledge to share about Ireland’s history. Would recommend others to go on this guide tour

It was wonderful! Our tour scope was good and our guide was really funny. I enjoyed very much. I really recommend this tour.

Excellent tour. Roger was an amazing guide. One of the best days of our holiday.