Here’s some of the best things to do with your family in Kilkenny city and beyond.
Start your trip in Kilkenny City
The Medieval Mile and Medieval Mile Museum
Bring the kids on the colourful Medieval Mile as a local guide shares Kilkenny city’s rich medieval history. Linking 13th century St. Canice’s Cathedral with the ancient Kilkenny Castle, this is the heart of the city where you’ll hear tales of the church Oliver Cromwell slept and whether 14th century innkeeper Alice Kyteler was really a witch. The Medieval Mile Museum is full of stories you haven’t heard before.
Kilkenny Castle Parkland
The magnificent Kilkenny Castle Parkland has over 50 acres of gardens to explore as well as the impressive 900-year-old castle which stands guard over the River Nore. Have fun with the little ones in the great kids' playground or challenge older kids and teenagers at the permanent orienteering course.
Kilkenny Road Train Tours
Just outside Kilkenny Castle hop on the Kilkenny Road Train for a 30-minute jaunt around the city’s medieval streets, unlocking its secrets as you go. While onboard, you get a full commentary and insight on the fascinating history of Kilkenny as you pass its most impressive sights from St Canice’s Cathedral to St Francis Abbey Brewery.
Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience
Hurling is not just an obsession in Kilkenny, it’s a way of life and there’s no better place to see this passion than the Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience. Find out all about Brian Cody and his famous Cats while learning the basic skills of the fastest field sport in the world, you’ll even get the chance to show your kids how a hurley is made.
The best food in Kilkenny City
Langton’s, La Rivista and Kyteler’s Inn
On your visit to Kilkenny, you'll probably pass Langton’s on John Street. This bar and restaurant has a number of dining options; bar food for a quick pit-stop, and an elegant restaurant for the perfect family meal thanks to their ‘Just For Kids’ menu. Or if for the kids would rather some great pasta, pay La Rivista on Parliament Street a visit.
Another Kilkenny legend is Alice Kyteler who established Kyteler’s Inn back in the 13th century. She was the first person in Ireland to be condemned of witchcraft and was even suspected of using potions and sorcery to control the local Christians. The inn is now one of Ireland’s oldest establishments and is still going strong and well-known for serving excellent food.
Explore outside Kilkenny City
The National Reptile Zoo
On the edge of the city, you’ll find something to delight your animal-loving kids. The National Reptile Zoo is Ireland’s only reptile zoo and acts as a centre where adults and kids can learn about these amazing animals. There are daily slots for your children to hold slithering snakes and scaly iguanas – if they’re brave enough.
Castlecomer Discovery Park
A 20-minute drive from Kilkenny city, Castlecomer Discovery Park has something for people of all ages. There are coal mining and craft exhibitions, while the younger kids enjoy tackling the Tree-Top Adventure Walk to the Elf and Fairy Village.
If your sense of adventure comes with a dark twist, descend to the bleak and brilliant Dunmore Cave. The cave has a quarter of a mile of passages and at its deepest point, it descends to 150 ft (46 m). This is believed to be the scene for one of the largest Viking massacres in history in 928 AD. Locals hid in the caves, only to perish as the Vikings smoked them out.
Nore Open Valley Farm
Your children are sure to talk about Nore Valley Park long after you’ve left it, as you plan your next visit to a destination with camping and caravan facilities, an activity centre and open farm. You can rent a mobile home or a lodge and the peaceful park in the valley is supervised at all times. Check out the TV room, pool room, a new children’s play area, crazy golf and archery at this family-friendly place just a short drive from the city of Kilkenny.
Kilkenny is one of those places you’ll keep coming back to so it’s just as well there is so much to see and do there.