From stag and hen weekends to family-friendly cultural vacations, it’s not hard to see why Kilkenny is one of Irelands most popular tourist attractions for both local and international visitors. There is a real air of community along the cobbled streets which gives our medium sized city a quaint ‘town-like’ feel. It’s the perfect foodie destination, a place to explore Irelands Medieval history and of course, the best place in Ireland to catch a game of hurling! Here are some of the best museums and galleries to visit on your trip to Kilkenny.
Medieval Mile Museum
Before setting foot into any museum, make sure to get your a Medieval Mile Pass as you’ll enjoy free entry into many of the city’s attractions and discounts in many local cafes and bars. One of the best and most fascinating tourism attractions in Kilkenny, the Medieval Mile Museum, is based in the centre of the city. The building itself is a 13th-century church & graveyard featuring interesting medieval sculpture and ancient tombs. As well as the gorgeous architecture of the medieval church, inside you’ll find a literal treasure trove of artefacts dating back 800-years plus. It’s a fascinating insight into the lives we lived in Medieval Ireland.
Rothe House and Gardens
In the middle of Kilkenny’s famous Medieval Mile is our hidden gem, Rothe House and Gardens. Built between 1594 and 1610 by the Cistercian order, it went on to become home to the Mayor of Kilkenny John Rothe Fitz Piers and his family. Kilkenny Archaeological Society (KAS) now owns the building complex and have complied an impressive museum collection from Kilkenny and the surrounding countryside. The collection varies from a giant deer skull from a now extinct species of deer, a 6th century AD Ogham Stone, over 300 items of clothing and costume dating from 19th century and ‘The Lavery Collection’ of beautiful portraits. It’s a must-visit when in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny Castle and Butler Gallery
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Nore River and a rolling green expanse of fields, Kilkenny Castle is one of the city’s most beautiful attractions. The grounds and gardens are free to enter and there is a small charge to enter the castle for a guided tour. Art fans should make time to visit The Butler Gallery inside, one of Ireland’s finest contemporary art spaces. The exhibitions change regularly, and feature works from both Irish and international artists. If you like what you see, you can continue your exploration of Irish crafts by visiting the Kilkenny Design Centre and National Craft Gallery close by.
National Craft Gallery
One of our newer galleries, the National Craft Gallery was set up just 20 years ago and showcases the finest contemporary crafts by Irish & international artists. Unlike a traditional gallery, the craft gallery explores art through a range of mediums, materials and techniques. Combined, the unique collection helps to create a leading centre for contemporary craft and design. Make sure to check the changing schedule to see what is exhibiting when you visit. They also hold talks, seminars and offer guided tours to the public.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do in Kilkenny, there are hundreds of other activities, places to visit and eat and things to see dotted across the city. Avoid overpriced central hotels on your next trip to Kilkenny. Instead, take advantage of the great value offered by the newly refurbished Hoban Hotel, just a couple of kilometres from the city centre. Remember to book direct for our best available rates and access to our exclusive special offers.