A medieval jewel in the Irish Midlands – Kilkenny oozes with charm and Irish welcome – and pubs
County Kilkenny or Cill Chainnigh is an enchanting medieval county with its ancient history, rich culture and a fascinating unspoiled countryside that attracts tourist not only from Europe but from other parts of the world too. Situated in the province of Leinster, County Kilkenny in South Ireland consists of several charming cities, towns and villages that offer an array of tourist extravaganza to all those who visit the region. Kilkenny County has an enormous wealth of natural beauty, picturesque landscape, attractive villages, scenic countryside, woodlands, marvellous architecture, abbeys, parks, churches, rivers and historical sites, all of which could lure any tourist to the area.
County Kilkenny consists of several towns and villages of significance and one of the most alluring cities is Kilkenny City, from which the county gets its name. A combination of the modern infused with the culture of the past is what you will find in this attractive medieval city, which is located in the heart of Kilkenny County. A host of activities and sightseeing trips, entertainment including an exciting nightlife, numerous restaurants serving a varied range of cuisines, vibrant bars and shopping centres are all a part of this bustling city. It is also renowned for its world-class comedy festivals; The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival that has acts being performed from across the world. Although Kilkenny city has developed to a great extent, it still preserves its age-old traditions and priceless heritage, making it the most entrancing place to holiday.
Besides Kilkenny City, there are other areas in the county that are equally enthralling and have their fair share of fascinating tourist attractions. The picturesque village of Inistioge on the banks of the River Nore, southeast of Kilkenny City, offers visitors magnificent spectacles of the rustic countryside. The serene village is an ideal place for those seeking a peaceful and relaxed getaway. Other towns and villages of interest are Castlecomer, Bennetsbridge, Thomastown and Graiguenamanagh. Each of these places is unique in itself, providing spectacular views besides various tourist attractions that they are famous for. Natural reserves and wildlife sanctuaries are also carefully maintained in order to preserve rare European species and natural habitats.
Apart from the wonderful landscape, County Kilkenny abounds in historical attractions and heritage sites that draw millions of tourists to the Irish country. The most important archaeological structure is the Kilkenny Castle, a famous landmark in Kilkenny City. Built in 1213 by William the Earl Marshall, this intriguing Norman castle with its lavish gardens has been a major attraction for tourists. The Tullaherin Church and the 9th Century Round Tower in Bennetsbridge, Jerpoint Abbey, a 12th Century monastic settlement, situated 2km from Thomastown along the River Arrigle, the largest medieval Cistercian abbey, the Duiske Abbey in Graiguenamanagh, Dunmore Caves, a limestone cave in Ballyfoyle, Jenkinstown Park, 10km from Kilkenny City and the Castlecomer Discovery Park are some other places of tourist interest.
Those who like to stroll through gardens and observe the vivid beauty of the flowers, there is a plethora of gardens that they can explore. Some of the well-known gardens include the Woodstock Garden in Inistioge, Kilfane Glen in Thomastown, Darver House garden in Jenkinstown among various others. County Kilkenny is also famous for its creativity, which is reputed to be the best across the nation. You can visit the numerous workshops and studios while exploring the Craft Trails or watch skilled crafts persons at work at the National Crafts Gallery. There are various outdoor activities available too that people can enjoy. Golf enthusiasts can indulge in their favourite games on some of the most stimulating courses such as Mount Juliet, which lies in close proximity to Thomastown. Gowran Park offers significant horseracing events that are held throughout the year and attract a lot of horseracing fanatics to the various festivals.
County Kilkenny is a must-visit region and should be a part of your agenda when you plan a holiday to Ireland. You cannot visualise the beauty of the region, only those who have been here, can describe the magical exuberance that beholds your eye. Seasons Holidays Knocktopher Abbey is situated near the tranquil village of Knocktopher, between Kilkenny and Waterford, on the site of a 13th century Abbey. Parts of the original building are incorporated in the present one, which has been converted to individual suites some with four poster beds. There are also traditional cottages, converted from coach houses and stables. The 17-acre estate and surrounding countryside provide opportunities for walking, fishing and golf.