F a m i l y D a y s O u t
Start your day with an exhilarating climb to the top of St Canice’s Cathedral Round Tower, one of the most prominent landmark sights in the city and Kilkenny’s answer to ‘The London Eye’. The Round Tower, thought to have been built in the 9th century, is the oldest standing structure in modern-day Kilkenny City. From the top of the 30 metre tower, visitors can take in wonderful views of Kilkenny, the surrounding countryside and the counties of the sunny South East. The cathedral offers some wonderful examples of medieval stone masonry and great craftsmanship as well as the many stories of the seats of power held by its bishops. Sit on the ancient stone bishop’s chair and test the Cathedral acoustics – said to match any modern technology amplification!
Bringing you back down to earth and life in the city, experience a taste of 17th century living in a wealthy merchants house when you drop into Rothe House and Garden. Uncover the secrets of the house through its architecture and many treasures. Take in a breath of fresh air in the unique garden and feed the ducks while you explore and see the typical flowers, fruits and vegetables of the 17th century.
From here, stop off at one of Kilkenny’s many delis/food cafés along the city streets, pick up some local fresh foods and beverages to enjoy a picnic by the River Nore or in Kilkenny Castle Park and Rose Garden. The Castle park offers 50 acre parkland to enjoy as well as its charming walled rose garden, set amongst the bustle and colour of this compact city. Enjoy the wonderful Castle Playground and its lake where you can feed your leftover picnic bread to the resident ducks and swans! A perfect way to spend a family afternoon and it’s all FREE.
Before dinner, enjoy a family swim at your hotel leisure centre or visit Kilkenny’s world-class multi-purpose leisure complex The Watershed.
With raincoats and wellies on, take a short stroll up the parade. Enjoy a family tour of the interiors of the 12th Century restored Kilkenny Castle. www.kilkennycastle.ie Before leaving the castle, check out the Butler Gallery which showcases a series of changing exhibitions of contemporary art housed in the former servant’s quarters of the Castle which regularly hosts children’s art workshops.
A quick hop and a skip through the puddles, across from the big Castle gates, takes you into The Castle Yard (through the archway of Kilkenny Design). See some of the city’s craft makers at work in their own workshops today in the rear courtyard. Why not nurture the inner artistic talent of the family by popping into The National Craft Gallery, to enjoy a tour of the current exhibition. The National Craft Gallery features Irish and International designers, artists and craft people across a variety of disciplines.
Before you leave the Castle Yard, be sure to explore the hidden oasis … the secret walled garden of Butler House, enter through the little gate at the back of the Castle yard. Back out on ‘The Parade’, consider taking a city tour by train. A great way to explore the city and get a snapshot of its history and an insight of its many devious characters from witches to warriors through the on-board commentary, taking in over 15 historical sites. After the train ride, why not pack the family into the car or take a walk between the showers to Mac Donagh Junction shopping centre?
After some afternoon refreshments in the covered open plan area formerly ‘The Workhouse Square’, stroll over to the The Pottery Shed, which offers a unique and fun experience for all ages to explore the artist within. Craft your very own painted pottery masterpiece, and take home a great memento of your family holiday.
Complete your afternoon at Mac Donagh Junction with an enjoyable state of the art bowling experience for all the family at K Bowl. Fully accessible lanes are fitted with side bumpers to ensure the best chance of a STRIKE every time!!After your game, venture into Kzone, featuring the latest pool tables, air hockey, FX simulator Video Games and Virtual Mini Golf for all the family to enjoy.
To end the day, sample some early evening family entertainment and food. Catch some of the city’s Culture Trail, with a range of traditional Irish entertainment available in the city’s many pubs, combined with some great value family pub food. Check out ‘What’s On’ at… www.discoverireland.ie/Kilkenny
TOP 10 Family Things to Do for FREE in the City
• Visit Shee Alms House (Tourist Office) and collect your free Maps and Guides
• Take a picnic at Kilkenny Castle Park & a visit to The Rose Garden
• Feed the swans on the Castle Park lake & Castle Park Playground
• Visit The Medieval Room and Parade Tower at Kilkenny Castle
• Follow the MADE in Kilkenny Craft Trail through the city (and beyond if you wish)
• Discover the Newpark Fen & Eco Park
•• Visit The National Craft Gallery
• Take a tour of the Butler Gallery – contemporary Art Exhibitions
• Enjoy our Canal Walk – and the wildlife along the river’s edge
• Follow the City Heritage Plaque Trail and explore our medieval slipways, abbeys and cathedral sites