The 13th century Black Abbey, named for the black habits that the Dominican monks who lived there wore, is one of the few medieval churches in Ireland that is owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Most of the older churches that were built by the Normans became part of the Church of Ireland when the English turned to Protestantism.
The Black Abbey is free to visit unlike it's Church of Ireland counterparts which have admission fees. Go inside to see the 15 panel stained glass window that dates from 1340.
On Abbey Street near the Black Abbey, you'll see the Black Freren Gate, the only remaining gate or entrance to the walled city. The city walls, built around 1300, formed three sides of defense with the river as the fourth, making the city nearly impenetrable from attack.
When entering the town we found it very difficult to park and drove over the bridge several times.
Once we found a parking spot we walked back over the bridge, a great place to obtain a view of the River Nore, Town Buildings and Kilkenny Castle high on the hill overlooking the town and river.
There are several beautiful old pubs nearby and the main photo is of Malt The Millers, naturally we went inside for a few minutes.
The old streets of Kilkenny town centre are connected by a series of alleyways. Whilst walking the city it is a nice experience to walk some of these arcades which have served the citizens for hundreds of years, well before the motor car.
Butter Slip alley was named after the butter stalls which were located here years ago. The alleyways were known as"Slips".
This house was built between 1594 and 1610 by John Rothe a wealthy Kilkenny merchant and landowner. The building is now owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society and open to the public as a museum.
On display are over 2,500 artefacts which all relate to life in Kilkenny. The garden at the rear of the house was reconstructed recently as a early 17th century urban garden and is open to the public.
Open: Monday to Saturday 10:30 to 5pm. Sunday 3 to 5pm.
Kilkenny town centre is very old with narrow streets and many old , beautiful and historic buildings. Ideal streets to walk and admire the buildings, read the plaques detailing the history and use your imagination to go back centuries as to when there were dirt roads and horse and carts.
Definetly not the place to attempt to find a parking place. High Street is the main street and when you come to Rose Inn Street it will take you down to the bridge over the River Nore and some nice Irish Hotels.
There is little more lovely on a hot day during an Irish Indian Summer than sitting riverside at the outdoor bar of the fabulous Kilkenny River Court Hotel. As KK has a reputation for being the sunniest and warmest city in the country you are more likely to get suitable weather here than anywhere else.
Tables are situated outside right on the riverbank and the view directly across from you is of the ancient and architecturally stunning KK Castle.
Looking downriver you have outstanding views of the bridge and, as the riverbank itself is so beautifully landscaped, you are spoiled for choice of natural beauty no matter which direction you look.
You don't need to be a resident to drink at the bar here, but it's so nice that you just might be tempted to stay on.
KK Castle is, without a doubt, the most famous monument or structure in all of county Kilkenny. It's been perfectly preserved and the public rooms are beautifully appointed.
Even if you can't gain access to the castle itself, take a wonder through the gardens. They are equally as lovely.
There are wonderful views of the Castle from the bridge (as pictured) and from the River Court hotel on the banks of the River Nore.
the rothe house was built in 1594 by the wealthy merchant john rothe. the rothe house is a combination of three elizabethan cut stone buildings divided by cobbled courtyards. the rothe house is only elizabethan merchants house in existence in ireland. today it is home to the kilkenny archaeological society and has a museum of period costumes and furniture.
I can't believe I didn't think to write this tip before now. One of the best things to do in Kilkenny is to just walk around the town's streets! Greeting people you meet and getting to know the layout of the town. I couldn't get enough of that in the days I was there. But be sure to bring enough warm clothes.
Oh, Ireland, I long to return to experience you so much more...
Only 35 miles from Kilkenny lies the Rock of Cashel. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Ireland. Not only was the Rock impressive, but our cute, red-haired Irish guide was also the sweetest girl I have met in Europe. Besides the cute guide, the Rock also boasts a walled religious compound on top of a small hill. In the center of the compound stands the ruins of the once-great cathedral, St. Patrick's Cross, Cormac's Chapel (1100s), a round tower, and the Bishop's Castle (15th century).
The town itself also contains a few impressive churches, a palace, and a folk village.
Actually this cave is not directly in Kilkenny, but quite close to it, about 10 km north. It’s a limestone cave with some huge stalactite and stalagmite formations. It’s not that impressive with only three halls, but which makes the visit special is the little exhibition and the audio-visual show (10 minutes). The video shows information about the formation of the cave, the flora and fauna and the history of the cave, and in the exhibition, you’ll find some more information and also bones and coins that have been found in the cave.
The cave has an old and interesting history. It was already mentioned in the 9th century in the Irish Triads, and a bit later a massacre has taken place there. It’s said that the Vikings have killed several people who hid in the cave, remains of skeletons of 44 persons (mostly women and children) have been found there. A dramatic history! In the myth, the cave is described as “the mouth of a huge beast” and if you see the entrance, you’ll understand it!
Usually, there are guided tours, but when we came, we were offered the option to wait for some more people to get a guided tour, or to explore the cave ourselves. Of course we decided to go on our own! We got a booklet in German with several information about what we will see, and could take our time to visit the cave. It’s not possible to get lost there with only three halls that can be visited, and there are no other ways you can take, so there’s nothing you have to fear! By the way, taking photos in this cave is allowed!
Open 10:00-17:00 (or longer during high season, only on weekends from November to March).
Admission: Adults 2,75 Euro, children 1,25 Euro, free if you have a Heritage Card (costs 20 Euro).
We happened to visit the cave during the Heritage Week where several sights have free admission on the two Sundays. Dunmore Cave however had free admission during the whole Heritage Week.
The “Butter Slip” is a little covered alley, which connects the main street (High Street) with the Kieran Street. It looked so nice, like a tunnel, that we had go this way! In this lane are several craft shops.
The Cat Laughs is a comedy festival which has been hosted in Kilkenny for the last 10 years. I've never actually gone as I always had exams or something else on, but judging from the crowds in the city every June it's well worth visiting. I think it's Europe's second biggest comedy festival after Edinburgh.
On our day of arrival (we arrived at Cork Airport), we took the coastal route towards Kenmare. Beautiful views over the sea and bays, nice villages and mountain scenery. We visited Fort Charles near Kinsale. Very friendly staff that will explain you all about the fort's history. On the second day we did the Ring of Kerry. Even through the trees are still leafless it is amazingly green everywhere! Beautifull lakes in Killarney National Park, you can visit Muckross House here aswell. The route takes you along the most beautiful places in Kerry but do not stick to the main road alone! It is very worthwile to sometimes take a small road that takes you to beautiful places!
For example, the skelligs route rewards you with wonderful views! On our last day we did half of the Ring of Beara through the Healey Pass. This is a fabulous route, rough nature and sheep! We then went to Gougan Barra Lake. In the lake there is a small church. An amazing setting between the mountains! There is also a National Park that you can visit here.
Our route ended in Blarney where we visited Blarney Castle. Cannot really recommend this unless you want to kiss the Blarney stone....
The beautiful natural setting is overwhelming.
We should we go back to the city.....
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