Kilkenny tourism welcomes re-opening of outdoor attractions

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Kilkenny Tourism has welcomed the Government’s announcement that outdoor attractions can re-open at the end of the month, writes Shauna McCrudden

Jerpoint Abbey

After months of closures and lockdowns, many of Kilkenny’s best-loved family attractions, cultural sites and parks are commencing to re-open from April 26th. With travel restrictions about to ease heading into the summer, and with more and more people getting vaccinated, people can soon travel more around the country. This means everyone can soon enjoy some of Kilkenny’s best-loved amenities. 

Commenting on the forthcoming re-opening, Chairperson of Kilkenny Tourism, Ciaran Conroy said, “This announcement has brought about a much needed ‘air of optimism’ for the tourism sector that will see us once again start to re-open our doors to visitors safely and securely. It has been a difficult few months for many businesses in the sector, but this is certainly a positive step closer to a full re-opening in the summer months.

“We hope the people of Kilkenny take full advantage of the re-opening, as well as the easing of travel limitations to get out and enjoy our outdoor sites and attractions this summer. The opportunity to explore and discover the very best Kilkenny has to offer now presents itself as restrictions start to lift.”

From outdoor activities and authentic experiences, to family and couple-orientated getaways, here are just some of the great experiences this summer:

For Families:

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Nore Valley Park

At Nore Valley Park, you will find everything from pet farms, archery, mini-golf, go-karts and tractor rides across the lush green lands of the farm! 

Set against the beautiful backdrop of this scenic valley, with acres of parkland and woodlands to explore, Nore Valley Park provides hours of amusement for the family. Walk the 3km nature trail or test your skills on their giant chess board! 

Visit norevalleypark.com

Castlecomer Discovery Park

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, from the fun and challenging tree-top walk high amongst the sycamore trees to archery and zip lines. For the younger children, there’s a playground, an elf and fairy village, a giant bouncing net and a Junior Woodland Adventure Course.

Visit discoverypark.ie

Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum

The stunning Woodstock Gardens are located in the southeast of Kilkenny just outside the picturesque village of Inistioge. The gardens, overlooking the River Nore Valley, offer visitors a wide variety of attractions and are a relaxing and beautiful environment in which to spend a day with a picnic!

Visit woodstock.ie

Kiltorcan Raceway

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Kiltorcan Raceway Karting Circuit operates a 1000 metre, super smooth, all-weather, floodlit track and supplies everything visitors need for a fantastic driving experience. Kiltorcan also provides 15 or 30 minutes ‘practice sessions’ for individuals or smaller groups. 

Visit kiltorcan.com

Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny

For Culture:

Jerpoint Abbey

An outstanding Cistercian abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century, the transept chapel’s visitors can see a 13th to 16th-century tomb sculpture, the majestic tower and its cloister. Included in the admission fee, is a free, guided tour of the partially restored monastic ruins with its sculptured cloister arcade and exhibition centre. This is an exemplary experience of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Jerpoint Park

Jerpoint Park in Thomastown will take you on a tour of the footprints of a deserted 12th Century Medieval town dating back to 1200AD. Your local guide will delve into the history and importance of this once thriving town called Newtown Jerpoint. Jerpoint Park also offers angling and sheepdog demonstrations.

Visit jerpointpark.com

Kells Priory

Pack a lunch and head 15km outside Kilkenny city, where visitors will find the Augustine priory of Kells situated alongside King’s River beside the village of Kells. Explore the priory’s most striking feature, a collection of medieval tower houses spaced at intervals along and within walls that enclose a site of just over three acres. It consists of a church, a chapel, a prior’s residence or sacristy, and a number of domestic buildings for visitors to explore. 

Ireland’s Medieval Mile

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The Medieval Mile is a discovery trail through Kilkenny, linking the 13th-Century St Canice’s Cathedral and a stunning Anglo-Norman castle with all sorts of medieval sights in-between. Stepping through the centuries, you will see historic buildings, cobblestone streets and hidden slipways. From a visit to a recreated medieval garden to St. Canice’s Round Tower, where you can take a glimpse inside the lives of the Butler family at Kilkenny Castle, there is plenty to explore!

For #moretoexplore in Kilkenny, visit visitkilkenny.ie 

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