Kilkenny: The Gem of Ireland’s Ancient East

Oct 28, 2018

If you want to learn more about Ireland’s history and heritage, Kilkenny is right in the heart of it. A bustling city with a significant past, Kilkenny is the ideal place to explore and discover Ireland’s past, present and future. Here are the highlights of the Kilkenny as part of exploring Ireland’s Ancient East.

Medieval Mile

This legendary mile runs through the heart of Kilkenny city stretching from Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral with all manner of history and culture crammed into its every step. When walking the mile, you’ll see historical buildings, streets and gardens which each add their own special personality and heritage to our wonderful town. The Medieval Mile is just part of the identity of the town, which plays host to some of the best bars and pubs as well as some great music and comedy festivals throughout the year.


St Nicholas’ Tomb

Did you know that the remains of St Nicholas are said to be buried in Jerpoint Park? St Nicholas was the consecrated Bishop of Myra in his hometown of Patara in Turkey and is known mostly for his generosity, gift-giving and love of children. His earthly remains were said to have been secretly moved to Newtown Jerpoint by returning crusader knights for safekeeping. The remains are marked with a beautifully carved grave slab and flanked on either side by the heads of the two knights who brought him. Visit Jerpoint to also see one of Ireland’s best examples of a deserted 12th century Medieval town.


Smithwick’s Experience

In case you are unfamiliar, Smithwick’s is an Irish red ale-style beer which has been brewed in Kilkenny for over 300 years and counting. The name is often mispronounced by tourists not used to the Irish lilt; Smithwick’s is pronounced like “Smiddicks” and not Smith-wicks! Excite your senses with the Smithwick’s Experience, an opportunity to travel back in time to the 1300s to see how the monks of St. Francis Abbey first brewed the beer. This is perfect not only for beer lovers but history enthusiasts alike.


Kilkenny Castle

In a town famed for its history and culture, Kilkenny Castle is the epicentre of the heritage that makes up the area. Kilkenny Castle is easily one of the most famous visitor attractions in Kilkenny. The site was originally where the Norman invader Strongbow built his fort and was replaced by the castle in the 12th century. Throughout the years it has had many owners including the Butler Family and the Duke and Marquesses of Ormonde. These days the castle is a fascinating look at the past and has beautiful gardens and a family park to enjoy.

These are only some of the fantastic Medieval Mile sites. Other attractions include :

  • Butler gallery
  • Kilkenny Design
  • National Craft Gallery
  • Medieval Mile Museum
  • Tholsel
  • The Hole in the Wall
  • Kyteler’s Inn
  • Grace’s Castle
  • Rothe House
  • St Candice Cathedral and Round Tower
  • The Heritage Council
  • Black Abbey
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral

Plan your trip to Kilkenny carefully to make sure you fit in all of the fascinating historical features and don’t forget to drop into one of our local watering holes for a pint of Smithwick’s too! When planning your trip, don’t forget to book your accommodation in The Hoban Hotel Kilkenny. We are based just 5 minutes’ drive from the city and have great special offers when you book directly.



The Hoban Hotel Kilkenny is registered for the Revenue Commissioner Stay and Spend tax credit scheme.

Plan a stay with us between 1st October 2020 & 30th April 2021 and claim up to €125 tax credit back on your accommodation and meals through the Failte Ireland Stay and Spend initiative.

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