Top things to do

Top Choice Cathedral in Kilkenny City

St Canice's Cathedral

Ireland's second-largest medieval cathedral (after St Patrick's in Dublin) has a long and fascinating history. The first monastery was built here in the 6th century by St Canice, Kilkenny's patron saint. The present…
Top Choice Castle in Kilkenny City

Kilkenny Castle

Rising above the River Nore, Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland's most visited heritage sites. Stronghold of the powerful Butler family, it has a history dating back to the 12th century, though much of its present lo…
Top Choice Ruins in Kells & Around

Kells Priory

This fortified Augustinian monastery is the best sort of ruin, where you can amble about whenever you like, with no tour guides, set hours or fees. Most days you stand a chance of exploring the site alone (apart fro…
Top Choice Ruins in Thomastown

Jerpoint Abbey

One of Ireland’s finest Cistercian ruins, Jerpoint Abbey was established in the 12th century, with the tower and cloister dating from late 14th or early 15th century. It is famous for its unusually large number of m…
Top Choice Pub in Kilkenny City

Kyteler's Inn

Dame Alice Kyteler's old house was built back in 1224 and has seen its share of history: she was charged with witchcraft in 1323. Today the rambling bar includes the original building, complete with vaulted ceiling …
Top Choice Bistro in Kilkenny City


The owners of this cool and casual bistro keep their own pigs and grow their own salad leaves, so it would be churlish not to try their pork belly stuffed with black pudding, or confit pig's trotter – and you'll be …
Top Choice Modern Irish in Kilkenny City


Chef Garrett Byrne was awarded a Michelin star for this bold, stylish restaurant in his native Kilkenny. He's passionate about supporting local and artisan producers, and serves ever-changing, ever-memorable meals, …
Top Choice Cafe in Thomastown

Blackberry Cafe

Superb thick-cut sandwiches, toasties, quiche and warming soups are served with pumpkin-seed-speckled soda bread here. Much is organic, and the tarts and cakes are baked daily. Between noon and 2pm, great-value hot …
Top Choice Arts & Crafts in Kilkenny City

Kilkenny Design Centre

Sells top-end Irish crafts and artworks, from county-wide artisans. Look for John Hanly wool blankets, Cushendale woollen goods, Foxford scarves and Bunbury cutting boards.
Comedy in Kilkenny City

Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

Acclaimed gathering of world-class comedians in Kilkenny's hotels and pubs over a long weekend in late May/early June.