Kilkenny

By Rebecca Lee

Kilkenny is a place that I like to call ‘my home away from home’. I have visited the medieval hotspot which oozes history, heritage and plays host to a fantastic pub culture numerous times over the past few years and I can honestly say my love for the county continues to grow.

Rebecca KilkennyLiving it up in Kilkenny

Kilkenny has become a haven for both young and old holidaymakers since it was first made a city in 1609 by King James I of England. The arguably pre-eminent medieval cities history is undeniably evident through it’s wonderful winding streets which play host and add an idyllic atmosphere to its numerous historical sites and landmarks.

Kilkenny otherwise known as being home to ‘The Kilkenny Cats’ is a town that has something for all ages. From its cool county jail to its castle to its small boutiques and country cafes, a trip (or two) to this city should be on every holidaymakers to do list.

Those looking for a slice of history should visit Kilkenny castle. The outstanding fortress is what gives this city a truly historic edge over other holiday hotspots by dutifully overlooking the city and the River Nore. A tour inside the ancient landmark accompanied with a leisurely stroll around the surrounding gardens is a steal at just €6.00 for adults and €2.50 for students and kids over 6 years of age. For a bird’s eye view of the city and to get a real feel of the Anglo-Norman period a visit to St Canice’s Cathedral in Irishtown is a must for history lovers. The site which is dotted with antique sculptures consists of a giant cathedral and round tower that provide visitors with years of historic knowledge and panoramic views of the city. A visit to the cathedral and the round tower combined is just €6.00 for adults and what’s even better you can bring the kids for just €5.50 each.

If like me (and most other Irish women) you’re into your shopping The Market Cross Shopping Centre and the Mac Donagh Junction Shopping Centre play host to a number of leading retailers and eateries from H&M to River Island to Eddie Rockets to Costa Coffee so you can shop till you drop if necessary.

Those seeking a good feed should try the famous Marble City bar. One of my favourite spots for lunch, it offers some fabulously fresh soups and sandwiches at a reasonable price. Also if it’s pub grub you are after then it would be undeniably rude of me not to recommend a trip to the legendary Langton’s Hotel and Bar which serve a range of delectable delights for all tastes (The Baileys and Brown Bread Ice Cream Gateaux is particularly good!)

Nightlife in the city is plentiful with many of the town’s pubs and clubs playing host to numerous stag and hen parties. For a night with a modern twist and chart topping music The Left Bank (a converted bank) is ideal. If it’s a more traditional pub with Irish music and hurlers galore you’re after then I would suggest a trip to Lanigans bar which seemingly and much to my delight provides both most nights!

If you’re looking for a relaxing break away from the madness but close enough to everything this wonderful city has to offer then I highly recommend staying at the luxurious Lyrath Estate Hotel and Spa resort. The hotel itself is set on 170 acres of glorious green forest which is complimented by 139 luxury bedrooms, six restaurants (for fine dining La Perla is a must!) and the Oasis spa which has a rather impressive outdoor hydrotherapy pool for those who like me want to wind down and escape reality for a few mere moments. Situated just ten minutes away from the town it’s safe to say the hotel will not only provide you with a first class stay and service but a true chance to escape and unwind.

The Lyrath hotelThe Lyrath Hotel

All in all Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s treasures that I feel holidaymakers must visit if not once, but twice but three times (or more!) in their lives.

Getting there

Kilkenny is easily accessible by car, train or bus. For information on trains and buses visit www.irishrail.ie and http://www.buseireann.ie

Staying there

The Lyrath Estate Hotel and Spa are running a special ‘Stretch the Summer’ package this September and October. It includes two nights midweek accommodation with breakfast each morning, dinner on one night and a 20% discount on a selection of spa treatments in the Oasis with a late check-out. Prices start at €150 per person sharing. For more information see http://www.lyrath.com or call 56 7760088.

 As featured in The Sunday World Magazine