Destination Inspiration: Kilkenny, Ireland

Destination Inspiration: Kilkenny, Ireland

One of Ireland’s most underrated cities, Kilkenny makes for a great day trip from Dublin or mini-break from London. With independent art galleries, beautiful greenery and plenty of inviting rural pubs to visit, this is a go-to destination for rest and relaxation.


Kilkenny, Ireland.

Why now?

Sitting pretty on the River Nore, Kilkenny is located in
Southern Ireland’s lesser-trodden province of Leinster.
Nicknamed “the Marble City”, thanks to its history of black marble
exportation during the 1800s, modern Kilkenny is more often
referred to as ‘the craft capital of Ireland’. With that in mind,
we suggest skipping past the tourist trails around the 12th-century
Kilkenny Castle and instead making a beeline for the
community’s thriving art scene. Tucked down narrow cobblestone
streets, you’ll find a treasure trove of independent craft stores
and pioneering galleries.

This is a town easily explored on foot, but we’d also recommend
checking out Kilkenny Cycling Tours. Covering 10km of ground on two
wheels, you’ll glide past iconic landmarks and hidden gems and veer
off down back streets you didn’t even know existed.

Don’t miss

Keen to check out some local art? Make a pit stop at the
National Design
& Craft Gallery
, where exhibitions are often a celebration
of Irish crafts. Insider tip: there’s a section on the gallery’s
website dedicated to delivering virtual exhibitions straight to
your screen.


Where to stay?

Rest your head at Langtons House Hotel. This stylish, 35-key guesthouse
has served as one of Kilkenny’s best-loved landmarks since 1935.
With a delightful bar-restaurant and a newly added theatre at their
disposal, guests might find it a challenge to venture beyond the
hotel’s front door.

Where to go for breakfast?

Café la
. Slotted down Lower Patrick Street, this all-day feasting
spot is at its best at breakfast. To swerve the snake-like queues,
come for 10am. That way, you can bag an upstairs seat, before
ordering a stack of bacon and maple pancakes. If the breakfast
sourdough sandwich is on the menu, order it.

And for dinner…

Forest-green banquettes, fuschia-pink LED lights and blackwashed
brick walls await at the Butcher.
Just a five-minute stroll from the castle, its menu is stuffed with
mouthwatering seaks and platters of freshly caught fish. Our order?
The cowboy steak – best scoffed with a generous drizzle of the
green peppercorn sauce. Be aware: the restaurant is closed on
Mondays and Tuesdays and only operates on an evening basis, which
may work in your favour if you’re looking for a good spot to sip a
cocktail or two with your meal.


Who to take with you

That friend who somehow manages to convince you to go out on a
weeknight. They’ll enjoy kicking back with a pint of Guinness at
one of Kilkenny’s traditional boozers.

When to go

Plan to be in town on the weekend of 1-3 July, when you can
weave the legendary Longitude Festival into your stay. Sure, it
takes place in Dublin’s Marlay Park, but, having been
festival-deprived for so long, we’d say the drive is totally worth

Essentials to pack

Visiting Ireland comes with the possibility of getting caught in
the odd downpour. Pack this Kingsman chestnut wood-handle umbrella and stay
dry in style.

How to get there

Fly into Dublin, from where the train journey to Kilkenny takes
just shy of four hours.

durban south africa

Discover More
Destination Inspiration: Durban, South Africa