Why Visit Kilkenny City?
My mother left a comment on my recent blog post about the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2013, actually I tell a lie, she left the comment on my Love Irish Food – Farmhouse Fish Pie post and she referred to the Listen of the Week post about Elvis, it all made sense to me as I know what she was talking about – it would’ve confused the bejesus out of most … anyhoo it read
‘I have just played Elvis and they were fantastic. Edwina thank you. I am glad you went to the Kilkenny Arts, and thank you for sharing. A great City for a visit and there is always something on.’
The reason I’m bringing this up isn’t to highlight how not to comment on blog posts, I beg to differ on that as I thank her for her support. The reason I am quoting her about Kilkenny City is because it’s true. There is always something on. Now before I go on I must come clean and let you know that my mam is a Kilkenny Cat and so there could be some biased feelings there and if she is biased, I might be too. Perhaps I am but I will tell you this, I have never had a bad experience in Kilkenny City, whether it was as a kid running around the castle grounds or as an adult … running around the castle grounds.
Anyhoo enough of my ramblings … It’s time to share my Five Fabulous Reasons to Visit the Marble City, so called because marble was exported from it many moons ago … and in no particular order …
- Arts and Crafts: There’s a bit of shopping to be had in Kilkenny but my favourite places are those wee shops that are scattered about selling their Arts and Crafts ware especially those which are part of Made in Kilkenny. Excellent crafts people, designers and makers. Across from Kilkenny Castle and you are greeted by the Kilkenny Design Centre which although maybe a little on the touristy side of things has also got some fantastic Irish Designer collections – I love the contemporary jewellery. Looking for clothes and you have tons of lovely boutiques which stand alongside the usual high-street suspects.
- Pubs and Live Music: The pubs are great in Kilkenny and come in all shapes and sizes. From the shebeens to super-pubs, but all with their own character. You can sip on an extravagant cocktail or slug down a pint of your favourite brew. If you’re into your sport you’ll definitely find a pub with a big screen showing the latest game. If you’re not into your sport you can also find pubs that don’t have big screens. There’s Live Music offered in many establishments and the city boasts of lots of talented musicians that you can bop to, tap your foot to or bang your head to. The best thing too is that if you’re staying in a hotel in the City you won’t have too far to ramble back to your leaba at the end of the session.
- Kilkenny Castle and Ancient Buildings: Kilkenny Castle stands along the River Nore, proud and beautiful. You can take in it’s ginormous height and statue from the Rose Garden and walk around it or you can walk through the main gates which opens out onto the Castle’s grounds, either way is great. Inside the Castle and you can take a tour, visit the galleries, you might be lucky enough to catch an interesting exhibition and you can stop off for a coffee to pep you up after all the historic-ness goes to your head. After your trip or before your trip to Kilkenny Castle you can also visit St. Canice’s Cathedral, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Rothe House and the Kilkenny Town Hall not to mention soak up the old buildings that line the narrow city streets.
- Nature: I could have added the Kilkenny Castle Park to the section above but it needs it’s own section. The park is about 50 acres and is an oasis in the middle of the city. You can take a stroll along the open plain or you can walk amongst the trees and go searching for the lake. If that’s not of interest to you, you can plop yourself down on the lawn and treat yourself to a picnic on a sunny day, or you can just sit there and not have a picnic, whatever floats your boat. Yearn for the smell of a sweet rose and you can take yourself around the Rose Garden. Yearn to get rid of the last of the sandwiches and you can feed the ducks on the River Nore. Feel like walking further a field and you can take one of the many walking trails … sure they even have a Kilkenny Trails Festival !
- The Kilkenny Cats: … and I’m not talking about felines. The final but in no way any less of a more fabulous reason to visit Kilkenny City are the people. You can have all the nice buildings, the fanciest of places but without it’s people you will not have a soul and the fact that Kilkenny has been ranked as one of the Friendliest Cities in Europe by Condé Nast, is no small feat but no big surprise either.