Ireland

Ireland: Pints + Castles in Kilkenny

Kilkenny, an Irish city where medieval meets modern.

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We pulled into Kilkenny late afternoon after spending the morning in Dublin, and then hiking through the Wicklow Mountains for the better part of the day. After checking into our adorable B&B, Celtic House, we walked five minutes into town.

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With its roots as a medieval city, Kilkenny has no shortage of cobblestone streets. The High Street is even known as Medieval Mile for its narrow lanes and historic buildings.

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Walking towards Kilkenny Castle, we decided to head in and wander before it closed for the day. The Anglo-Norman castle, which was built around 1195, has been altered over the years and recently refurbished to reflect original stylings.

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Keen for a bit of exploring before dinner, we dipped in and out of alleyways, admiring the city’s colourful facades and doors, and then walked along the River Nore before settling on Matt the Millers as our pub for dinner.

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Whilst at dinner, we formed a plan to do a pub crawl of sorts- there were a few places we wanted to check out, and figured, what better way than an impromptu crawl? Fun fact: Kilkenny is listed as one of the top cities in Ireland for a hen party (bachelorette party).

I’ll always be a fan of medium ciders, stouts and single malt whiskies, but the others in my group enjoyed two local brews- Kilkenny and Smithwick’s.

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As we finished dinner, live music was just starting so we decided to stay for one more pint at Matt the Millers, making it our first stop. Next, we headed to Kyteler’s, one of the oldest inns in Ireland- established in 1324. It used to be the home of Dame Alice de Kyteler, a wealthy woman who outlived four wealthy husbands and was involved in one of the world’s first witch hunts. She managed to escape being burned at the stake by escaping to England, but her servant wasn’t so lucky- she was tortured. Next up: Bollard’s, and finally a whisky nightcap at Cleere’s.

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In the morning, we woke early and headed straight to Cashel so we didn’t have time for The Black Abbey or Smithwick’s Experience, but I’ve heard both are great attractions in Kilkenny as well.

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Although our time in Kilkenny was short, it was an Irish town I found hard to leave. Without question, one of my favourite stops on our trip.

If you’ve ever driven around Ireland, which town was your favourite stop?

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