The Tholsel in Kilkenny, Ireland from a distance. Photo by Dennis Cieri
- Feature Articles

Kilkenny Reels Its Visitors in With Its Medieval Charm

Photography by Dennis Cieri / Written by Lorena Caro

The city of Kilkenny is located in the southeast part of Ireland. From its lovely parks to its rustic, medieval – esque architecture, this city is bound to pull you in with its classic charm. Take a walk around the city and immerse yourself in everything there is to see and be a part of! The people of Kilkenny are friendly, and the views are gorgeous. It’s definitely a great place for photographers, nature lovers, and artists alike.

Below is a list of places that are bound to make any trip to Kilkenny unforgettable.

The Tholsel

Built in 1761, this late medieval building was originally a place for collecting taxes, but has since then also served as a customs house, a courthouse and a guildhall for Kilkenny. Today, it is used as a city hall. One interesting feature that is worth noting is its impressive arcade, complete with five wonderful arches. Used as a meeting place, you’ll find that there are many people bustling by as well as buskers, and sometimes carol singers. In the summer, this space is used as an exhibition area for the Kilkenny Arts Festival. 

Market Cross Shopping Center

At the heart of Kilkenny is the Market Cross Shopping Center, which has been around since 1335. This space is part of what was once a thriving merchant town where people were able to buy or sell just about anything. Today, this mall houses popular retailers and small shops. Integrated into Kilkenny’s streetscape, this building sits prominently in the High Street area where there are souvenir shops, boutiques, and other shops galore! Shop til you drop or simply window shop, you’re guaranteed to see something interesting whilst checking this place out.  

Cathedral Cafe at the St. Mary Cathedral 

This lovely cafe is located in the restored Chapter House building in the beautiful St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Gothic style building is accessible from inside the Cathedral grounds or from Blackmill street. Foodies and coffee lovers alike can enjoy delicious goods made on site while sitting in the midst of a cultural gem. On the outside, the cathedral itself is made of cut limestone and built similar to the Gloucester Cathedral in England. Marvel at this monumental structure’s detailed construction. Each spire at the top of the St. Mary’s Cathedral is topped with a small cross. 

Medieval Mile Museum 

This museum is located in the St.Mary’s Church, a 13th century building. According to its official website, it’s purpose is to serve as “the starting point for understanding Kilkenny’s medieval history, to display Kilkenny’s Civic Treasures and replicas of some of Ossory High Crosses and to provide a space for temporary exhibitions and cultural events.” Visitors can come in and learn about Kilkenny’s 800 year old history as a medieval city through a simple visit or a guided walking tour. Take a one hour theatrical walking tour, led by actors and actresses dressed in medieval costumes, and learn about the city’s historical streets by actively engaging with an experience like no other. Immerse yourself into the essence of the city and pretend that you are traveling back in time. 

Kilkenny Castle and Park 

The Kilkenny Castle is an impressive monument that has been in use for the last 800 years. It looks like it belongs in a fairytale book. Today, it is open to hundreds of visitors all year round who come see this building and stroll along its 51 acre park. Historically, this castle has gone from the hands of William Marshal, 4th Earl of Pembroke to the Butler family (for approximately 600 years), and ultimately ended in the hands of the people of Kilkenny, where it has been converted into the banquet hall that we see and know today. Here, banquets, conferences, cultural events, and even marriages take place throughout the year. Take pictures around the beautiful, well trimmed gardens or venture out into the park, where you’ll find plenty of interesting features such as a man made lake, woodlands, and wildlife. 

Handle A Real Falcon at Hawkeye Falconry Ireland

Falconry was once considered the sport of noblemen. It’s a 4,000 year old sport in which noblemen pursue game using a groomed falcon. It arrived in Ireland in the 12th century and has paved its place in Irish culture since then. Book a private falconry experience at Hawkeye Falconry Ireland and fly your very own hawk! Learn to hail a falcon from the middle of the forest and experience these majestic animals’ beauty up close and personal. These birds are some of the most powerful and renown birds in Ireland, each with its own personality and wit. This experience is both exhilarating and very entertaining. 

Highbank Orchards & Distillery

Of course, no trip to Kilkenny is complete without visiting an orchard/distillery. What makes Highbank Orchard stand out is its limestone soils, which makes for the perfect ground for growing organic apples. Apples have been grown in Ireland for at least 3,000 years and are an integral part of the country’s culture. See Ireland’s roots for yourself, walk along Highbank’s orchard via a tour on a tractor and learn about the interesting world of agriculture in Ireland. 

About Lorena Caro

Read All Posts By Lorena Caro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *