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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.

Kilkenny: Historical and Hysterical Guided City Walking Tour

2. 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.

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.

Dublin: Kilkenny, Wicklow, & Glendalough with Sheepdog trail

4. Dublin: Kilkenny, Wicklow, & Glendalough with Sheepdog trail

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.

Kilkenny: Historical Highlights Walking Tour

5. 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.

From Dublin: Kilkenny and Wicklow Mountain Full-Day Tour

6. 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. 

6-Day Tour of Southern Ireland from Dublin

7. 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.

Kilkenny Self-Guided Walk: Shenanigans Medieval Adventure

8. Kilkenny Self-Guided Walk: Shenanigans Medieval Adventure

Discover Kilkenny as never before with this original interactive game experience. Using your cell phone, your challenge will start at the visitor kiosk video sign halfway up the hill to Kilkenny Castle. Simply open your e-mail link and your adventure will begin. Explore the charming streets of Ireland’s Medieval Mile Kilkenny. Discover amazing castles, Ireland’s only medieval merchants home, street art by local animators who have 4 Oscar nominations, beautiful abbeys, the famous witches home, and much more! Unlock the stories of Kilkenny and get recommendations for local cafes, pubs, and restaurants, all while you solve 17 riddles on your phone. Sharpen your senses, appreciate the most wonderful (and little) details around you and inspire your curiosity wherever you go next.

Day Tour of Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains and Kilkenny

9. Day Tour of Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains and Kilkenny

The first stop on this guided tour is Glendalough, known as the valley of the two lakes, and its 6th-century monastic site of St. Kevin. The guide will walk you through the ancient monastery of St. Kevin and explain some of its important buildings, their folklore and history, before giving you plenty of time to explore the valley yourself. Then travel through the Wicklow Gap and see some of the most beautiful scenery of the area and a few small rural villages. Once the group reaches Kilkenny, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the medieval Norman town and its top sites, like St. Canice's Cathedral, Rothe House, and Kilkenny Castle. Kilkenny is steeped in history and was once the capital of Ireland. It was also the location for one of Ireland’s earliest witch trials, the famous story of Dame Alice Kyteler and her servant Petronilla. Spend 3 hours in Kilkenny, explore Kilkenny Castle and have some lunch.

Top sights in Kilkenny

Other Sightseeing Options in Kilkenny

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What people are saying about Kilkenny

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,566 reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and thought it was excellent value for money. It was so nice to see so many places outside of Dublin. We did worry it might feel like a long day but it goes very quickly and doesn’t feel like you’re on the coach for a long time. Our driver and your guide were both lovely. Highly recommend.

One of the best tours we did Hazel and Vic were super helpful and kind, also the tour was very informative! We were taken to wonderful beautiful places!!! I would highly recommend! 10 out of 10

Fantastic tour. Informative, leisurely pace and punctual departure from departure point which got us to Glendalough and then Kilkenny on time. Highly recommended.

Lovely, wise and professional people. Everything was amazing. I enjoyed the journey and thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

I love our tour guide Phillip and the bus driver John. The tour guide is very knowledgeable and very precise with instructions.