Kilkenny adopts a new approach to tourism


‘Outdoor Tourism’ is to become a key component in Kilkenny’s tourist offering for 2021, writes Shauna McCrudden

It may seem like there is no end in sight for the current lockdown, but the future is still very bright for tourism. One example is Kilkenny Tourism, which is preparing to re-open to visitors this year. The tourism organisation for the county is planning to highlight its range of outdoor attractions, well-being activities and authentic experiences in Kilkenny, when it re-opens for visitors this summer. 

After a year beset with hospitality closures, Kilkenny Tourism is looking forward to a level of continuity in the sector and an opportunity to meet with visitors’ new expectations for outdoor, wellness and activity-based holidays and breaks.

Ciaran Conroy, Chairperson of Kilkenny Tourism, said, “It has been an unprecedented year for the hospitality sector and at every corner, our hotels, attractions and restaurants were met with challenges and closures. The pandemic has brought about a change to visitors’ expectations and motivations for travelling.  This year, Kilkenny is preparing to meet those changes in attitudes by offering a full ‘outdoor-focused’ experience to all our visitors in 2021.

“As visitors seek uncrowded, safe and unspoiled locations, Kilkenny Tourism has ‘reset’ and reevaluated our tourism experience for the year ahead. Kilkenny offers such a variety of outdoor attractions that will reassure visitors they can be guaranteed an incredible holiday in the knowledge their safety is paramount and all their expectations are not only met, but exceeded!”

Key elements of Kilkenny’s summer tourism offering include:

Medieval Mile Museum

Kilkenny City ‘On Foot’:

Walk Ireland’s Medieval Mile with a local guide. The Medieval Mile links the 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral and the Anglo-Norman castle and runs through the heart of the city. 

Medieval Kilkenny Tour:

The Medieval Kilkenny Tour is an audio guide for visitors where they can discover the locations and history of Kilkenny’s many heritage sites in an easy to use and informative way. Visitors can download the guide at:

Outdoor Heritage Attractions:

Scattered throughout Kilkenny are some fascinating outdoor heritage attractions. Rothe House, Butler House Gardens, the 12th Century Jerpoint Abbey and Park, and a collection of medieval tower houses within enclosed walls awaits at Augustine Kells Priory. 

Parks and Gardens:

Pick up a takeout picnic from either Cake Face, Aran, Langtons or the Kilkenny Design Centre, all located in the city centre. The outdoor adventure begins with a visit to Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum, then a visit to Kilfane Glen and Waterfall, or how about Kilkenny Castle Park.

Outdoor Guided Tours:

To discover the very best of Irish ‘craic’ this summer, then, visitors should take a Shenanigans Walking Tour with local historian Nevin Cody! Or see the city on a bike with Kilkenny Cycling Tours.

Trail Kilkenny – Cycling and Walking Trails:

Trail Kilkenny has a series of walks and cycling trails that take place in areas of local heritage and natural history interest, all free-of-charge!

Family Outdoor Adventure:

For families who love an adrenalin-filled day, then Castlecomer Discovery Park is the ideal place. The 80-acre activity park features a wide range of exhilarating activities for all ages, or explore the Nore Valley Park.

Water-based Holidays:

Visitors can choose a canoe or kayak experience with one of Kilkenny’s many water activity locations – Go with the Flow, Paddle your Own Canoe or Pure Water offer something for all water enthusiasts this year! 


Treat yourself to a cosy bed or idyllic campsite in a unique, comfortable home from home at Butterfly Valley Glamping; Brandon Hill Camping or Nore Valley Park, surrounded by woods and rivers.

Waterside Guesthouse:

This year, immerse yourself in the tranquil surrounds of the Waterside Guesthouse in picturesque Graiguenamanagh. Offering hillside walks and forest trails, fishing and nearby water-sports; this is the perfect escape!

Graiguenamanagh, Kayaking, River Barrow

Kilkenny Countryside:

Enjoy a leisurely ramble around the picturesque villages of Inistioge, Thomastown or Graiguenamanagh. 

For more information, visit




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