This small market town has a serenity it hasn't known in decades now that the M9 has diverted Dublin traffic away from the compact and attractive centre. Named after Welsh mercenary Thomas de Cantwell, Thomastown has some fragments of a medieval wall. Down by the bridge, Mullin's Castle is the sole survivor of the 14 castles once here.
The little village of Inistioge (in-ish-teeg) is a picture. Its 18th-century, 10-arch stone bridge spans the River Nore and the central tranquil square is a delight . Somewhere so inviting could hardly hope to escape the attention of movie-location scouts: Inistioge's film credits include Widow's Peak (1993), Circle of Friends (1994) and Where the Sun is King (1996).
Kells & Around
Kells (not to be confused with Kells in County Meath) is a mere hamlet with a fine stone bridge on a tributary of the Nore. However, in Kells Priory, the village has one of Ireland's most evocative and romantic monastic sites. The village is 13km south of Kilkenny city on the R697.