AT SUMMER time we all need a break, especially after lockdown.
But with social distancing tourists will now need to adapt to the ‘new world of travel’.
Our city is gearing up to re-open to visitors with restrictions hopefully lifted as planned for late July.
Kilkenny Tourism outlines the top five things to do for visitors when businesses re-open.
Tour Kilkenny by Foot
There are few cities in Ireland that are as accessible on foot as Kilkenny City is.
Being outdoors is a big part of being here. From thrill-seekers to those looking for a more leisurely day out, there are lots of things to do in the great outdoors.
Some of the places to visit without a car include our Medieval Mile which runs from Castle to Cathedral in the city.
This discovery trail is an ideal way to enjoy the compactness of Kilkenny City on foot.
Linking the 13th Century St Canice’s Cathedral and the Anglo-Norman Castle, the Medieval Mile marries Kilkenny city’s main historical attractions.
Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland’s most iconic and historic sites, year-round tours are available, and the castle parkland has 50 acres to explore.
A stone’s throw away is the Kilkenny Design Centre filled with beautiful Kilkenny crafts.
From the magnificent castle to the enchanting Rothe Gardens to St Canice’s Round Tower which at 30m is one of three only climbable towers in Ireland and the Medieval Mile Museum which was formerly the 13th century St Mary’s Church, and graveyard featuring medieval sculpture and renaissance-era tombs.
The Smithwick’s Experience, a five-minute walk only from Kilkenny Castle, has guided tours running at regular intervals throughout the day, bringing visitors on a journey from the medieval origins of brewing and includes a glass of Ireland’s most popular ale.
Outdoor action for families
Kilkenny was made for family fun, come rain or shine, we have some great family friendly activities, from thrill seekers and adrenaline hunters to nature lovers, arts and sports fanatics, Kilkenny has plenty to keep every member of your family entertained.
For animal lovers, Nore Valley Park offers families opportunities to bottle feed the baby kids and lambs, or handle a small rabbit.
For the more adventurous Dunmore Caves is the perfect location for cave exploring with the children and is a mere 10-minute drive outside the city.
For an adrenalin filled day Castlecomer Discovery Park is the ideal activity park to keep everyone busy.
Alternatively, get on your bike and explore Kilkenny’s No.1 Activity on TripAdvisor, that’s Kilkenny Cycling Tours.
Pure Adventure River Activities is based in the heart of the Barrow Valley in the picturesque Village of Graignamanagh.
Pure Adventure is a family run business that is built on a passion for the outdoors and for water sports offering a range of Kayaking, Canoeing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Hill Walking to suit all ages and abilities.
Parks & Gardens
Visit Kilkenny’s illustrious parks and gardens to discover the work of some of Ireland’s esteemed landscape gardens and parklands.
From the cobbled courtyards and historic buildings at Rothe House or Butler House & Gardens, to castles and stretches of unspoiled nature at Kilkenny Castle Parklands.
Explore the countryside with a visit to Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, overlooking the River Nore Valley and the picturesque village of Inistioge.
Features include a walled garden, rose garden, rockery garden, a recreated Turner Conservatory, a collection of rare and exotic trees in the arboretum and tranquil woodland walks.
Kilfane Glen & Waterfall is a rugged but beautiful six-hectare garden that has retained its original character as conceived by the prominent Power family in the 1790s.
The idyllic landscape features wild fox-gloves, ferns and other plants. It comprises a 30-foot waterfall, rustic grotto and thatched summerhouse, where visitors may take a short break from strolling the grounds.
Kilkenny has a host of parks and gardens waiting to be explored
The country looks set to see a rise in self-catering staycations as travellers swap holidays abroad for a break closer to home.
Self-catering and glamping holidays are set to see a rise in visitors when tourism re-opens on July 20.
Kilkenny has a variety of self-catering accommodation, from rural getaways, luxurious cottages to relaxing and eco-friendly glamping sites.
Butterfly Valley glamping; Killure Lodge, Mount Coggill, Croan Cottages, Blancheville House and Tree Grove camping are some of the more popular options for families, all offering excellent accommodation and facilities for catering.
In the face of forced closures, top restaurants and cafes all over Kilkenny have been turning to a take away and delivery service.
These include Langton’s who are offering collection or delivery from Thursday to Sunday or the famous Kyteler’s Inn.
For fresh baked goods, check out Marble City Tea Rooms, the ideal place to order before heading off for a picnic or touring the sites.
For those who favour curries and chowders as well as sweet treats, the Foodhall at Kilkenny Design Centre also offers a take-away service.
For a mouth-watering pizza, La Rivista has a range of delicious pizza and pasta dishes to choose from or for a real treat try Truffles Restaurant offering a range of international cuisine.
For the coffee connoisseurs you can get some sweet treats, pastries, and coffee to go as you explore the city from Face 2, Café La Coco and Arán.