Kilkenny Guide

Kilkenny Guide by Panoramic Ireland - Updated April 2024

Check out our PDF downloadable guide to Ireland's medieval city.

PDF here:


Scenic village of Inistioge
The scenic village of Inistioge which gets its name from the Irish Inis Tíog or Inis Teog meaning Tíog's Island


Online Kilkenny Guide by Panoramic Ireland. From Kilkenny City to the scenic country villages such as Inistioge, above.

Kilkenny is one of Ireland's most charming places. Filled with medieval buildings that are still in use today, a castle, cathedral, round tower and wooded river it is also home to many of Ireland's best places to eat, drink, shop and stay.

It's a city that Panoramic Ireland knows well, the lively small city features as one of our most popular photography destinations - find out more here.


For more on our next PDF guides, sign up for the newsletter here:

Panoramic Ireland's Guide to Kilkenny - May 2019


Kilkenny City

There is no doubt that Kilkenny is one of Ireland's most charming places. Its narrow streets made from the local black limestone and lively pubs serving good food and live music combined with numerous festivals leave it obvious that Kilkenny deserves its status as Ireland's friendliest city. Kilkenny is also known as the Marble City because of the local black limestone that has been traditionally used here. When polished - as it gets with thousands of people walking over it daily, it becomes smooth and shiny, just like marble.



Kilkenny Castle reflected in the River Nore
Kilkenny Castle reflected in the River Nore

The small city of 26,000 inhabitants feels busier with the many tourists who flock here often on day trips from Dublin - only 90 minutes away by car, train or bus.

Kilkenny Castle, pictured above, makes for a good place to start a visit to the small and very walkable city.

Commanding a small hill overlooking and, often reflected in, the River Nore Kilkenny Castle was built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier fortification. Originally enclosed on four sides Oliver Cromwell destroyed the main wall in 1650 and it remains open to this day. Continuously used for 800 years the castle is one of Ireland's longest serving buildings.

Find Kilkenny Castle's Website here -


At the other end of the city's 'Medieval Mile', in Irishtown, lies Saint Canice's Cathedral.

Saint Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny
Saint Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny

The cathedral also dates to the 13th century but is built on a site with a much older heritage. It dates to the 6th century when Saint Canice, from whom Kilkenny gets its name, founded a monastery here.

Often guarded by cats, long associated with Kilkenny, Saint Canice's is also the site of a round tower approximately 1,000 years old. As part of a visit to the cathedral it's possible to climb the 30m-high tower via a narrow staircase to the commanding views from the top.

Find Saint Canice's Website here -

Shee Alms House, now Kilkenny Tourist Office
Shee Alms House, formerly Kilkenny Tourist Office

Kilkenny is known as Ireland's Medieval City and it certainly is filled with plenty of unique buildings including Rothe House, a merchant's house dating to the 17th century. The tourist information office is located in another fine medieval building, Shee Alms House, pictured above.


Smithwick's Brewery, Kilkenny
Smithwick's Brewery, Kilkenny

One of the more interesting things to note about Kilkenny is it's long historical association with brewing beer and ale. Franciscan monks brewed here from at least the 14th century and a commercial brewery was established by John Smithwick in 1710, brewing Smithwick's and Kilkenny - ales enjoyed in Ireland and around the world. The brewery is home to a visitor experience while the actual brewing is carried out in Dublin nowadays.

To see Kilkenny with a creative eye, join Panoramic Ireland on a Kilkenny Photography Walking Tour and see the city with a professional photographer who has years of experience photographing for top international publications. Learn to improve your travel photography and take home better images and improved skills with your camera. To find out more see here.

To get to and from Kilkenny, options are to drive via N7 and M9 or N7 and M8 with the M9 route being the quickest taking approx. 90 minutes from Dublin City. Buses operate along the same route via Dublin Coach and JJ Kavanagh but not, strangely, Ireland's national bus operator Bus Eireann so don't go to the main bus station in Dublin looking for a bus to Kilkenny. All buses to Kilkenny leave from footpath bus stops along Dublin's quays. And finally it is also possible to take the train, Irish Rail have trains throughout the day to Kilkenny.

Kilkenny is seen as being the home of Irish craft, with a resurgence in craft making in the city and county in the 20th century, many of the best known are based here producing ceramics, textiles and jewellery. That makes the city a fine place to find genuine, locally made and designed Irish craft. 

One of the first and most influential craft makers to be based in Kilkenny in recent years is Rudolf Heltzel, a goldsmith who makes fine jewellery in his Kilkenny workshop along with his son Christopher see their website here.

Butler House, Kilkenny
Butler House, Kilkenny

Close by, on Patrick Street, with fine gardens to the rear that lead to Kilkenny Castle, Butler House is a charming guesthouse that dates back to 1786 and makes for a more than comfortable place to stay, luxury in the centre of the small city.

Gardens of Butler House, Kilkenny
Gardens of Butler House, Kilkenny


Kilkenny's Butler Gallery is a modern art gallery in a historic space close to the River Nore. Built on the site of a priory dating back over 800 years and a home for old, retired domestic servants from 1818 to 1997, the Butler Gallery is home to several permanant collections and changing exhibitions.

Butler Gallery, Kilkenny
Butler Gallery, Kilkenny

Upcoming events include a craft fair from Friday 3rd of November to Sunday 5th of November 2023 featuring the best of locally made crafts from jewellery by Christina Keogh to wood-turned bowls by Fred O'Mahony.

Exhibition Space, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny
Exhibition Space, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny

Download Panoramic Ireland's PDF guide to Kilkenny here:

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.