Kilkenny is rebooting tourism with the launch of an exciting new campaign aimed at bringing back domestic tourists to the County. Entitled ‘More to Explore’, the multi-pronged campaign is set to highlight Kilkenny’s many unique tourism attractions, from outdoors activities and authentic experiences to family and couple and group fun orientated get-aways.
As the country prepares to re-open to tourists, Kilkenny is already receiving bookings from visitors for that well deserved staycation. Hotels in the county are reporting a surge in bookings in the past month as tourists start to plan their Summer escape.
Every corner of Kilkenny has something unique to showcase’ so whether you want More to Explore Outdoors, More to Explore Couples, More to Explore Authentic or More to Explore Families, you will find it in Kilkenny this summer!
#moretoexploreoutdoors Now more than ever, visitors are realising the benefits of the great outdoors. Trail Kilkenny encourages people to explore the landscapes and woodlands on foot or on two wheels at one of Kilkenny’s many walking or cycling trails. For biking or water enthusiasts, Kilkenny Cycling Tours offer guided tours around the city, or for those who prefer to ride the rapids in a kayak, Pure Adventure in Graiguenamanagh or Go with the Flow River Adventures offer guided water based activities for all levels.
Immerse in nature this Summer with a glamping break at Brandon Hill Glamping Park, Nore Valley Park or Butterfly Valley Glamping and if you want to add in some adventure and adrenaline, Castlecomer Discovery Park is home to Ireland’s longest zip line, outdoor climbing walls and acres of woodlands to explore. The kids will love meeting the animals in Nore Valley Park, where they can explore acres of parks, playgrounds and mini farms.
Hikers are in for a treat when they reach the summit of County Kilkenny’s highest point at Brandon Hill. Scale the 500m hiking trail where walkers can bask in unrivalled 360 degree views over the captivating landscape of Ireland’s Ancient East and beyond.
Nature comes in many shapes and forms, and this Summer in Kilkenny visitors can find hours of amusement set in the beautiful backdrop of scenic gardens, acres of parkland and woodlands to explore. Start by picking 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, where visitors will be treated to features like a walled garden, rose garden, rockery garden, an arboretum and many tranquil woodland walks. A short walk from the city centre, Kilkenny Castle Park includes all the walled demesne parkland to the south of Kilkenny. The estate overlooks the River Nore and features mature trees and shrubs with an ornamental lake are among the many places to explore. There is also a children’s playground located on the grounds.
#moretoexplorecouples Couples wanting to escape and explore all their bucket list activities will find everything they desire in Kilkenny. Home to some of Ireland’s finest restaurants and cafes, not to mention indigenous food producers, the county is the place to go to sample a diversity of gastronomic pleasures. From Michelin star dining at Lady Helen in Mount Juliet Estate, trendy restaurants like Zuni & Rive Gauche or enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea in Butler House & Gardens.
Explore all the city’s cultural hotspots by foot in the city, where you will find Ireland’s Medieval Mile. Taking you through the medieval archways as you discover the unique character of its many cobbled streets, and winding pathways to the most historic sites in the city. Capture the nineteenth century lifestyle of the Butlers of Ormond with a visit to the 800 year old Kilkenny castle. For those who are happy to scale the ‘heady heights’, a visit to St Canice’s Cathedral and climbing the steps to the top tower is a must!
For that ultimate al fresco experience, pick up a ready-made picnic for two and head to the picturesque town of Inistioge where visitors will be spoilt with inspiring views.
#moretoexploreauthentic This Summer visitors seeking to experience local traditions and culture can discover a variety of ‘Authentic Experiences’ that are part of Kilkenny’s history.
Learn the art of glassblowing at Jerpoint Glass, visit the studio and its gallery shop and find out about a day in the life of an Irish handmade glass company. For craft lovers, Nicholas Mosse is a story of generations of pottery makers and creators. Take a private tour with owner, Susan Mosse and discover the life and work of a true craftsperson.
Explore Ireland’s finest family-owned Orchard and discover the art of apple cider and gin making at Highbank Orchards Distillery, take a guided tour of the Orchard and sample some ‘gems’ on your way.
Only a short drive from Highbank Orchards, you can visit the unique Heritage Site in Jerpoint Park in Thomastown where you will receive a warm welcome from Joe and Maeve O’ Connell, owners of the adjoining Belmore House at Jerpoint. Take time to stop for a tea and scone and as you enjoy your tea, Joe and Maeve will share the history of Belmore House and their own tale of how they came to own this legendary place.
Foodies can educate themselves on all that is authentic about Kilkenny’s thriving food producers with a guided ‘Tasting Tour’ with Kilkenny Tasting Tours. These guided tours take visitors back in time through Kilkenny’s medieval heritage, tasting along the way to meet the makers, movers and shakers on the Kilkenny food scene.
#moretoexplorefamilies For families; don’t miss Kilkenny’s fine gardens, parks and waterfalls: pack a picnic and enjoy the energising waterfall at Kilfane Glen & Waterfall; Woodstock Gardens is a splendid example of Victorian design, while Rothe House and Butler House and Gardens evoke the very best of meticulous garden designs set around period homes just waiting to be explored and enjoyed!
Explore the world of exotic reptiles at Kilkenny’s National Reptile Zoo where some of the world’s rarest species can be found.
What child doesn’t love the opportunity to get close and personal with some favourite farm animals, Nore Valley Park does just that, along with picnic tables making it a great family day out.
For sporting enthusiasts, Kilkenny Hurling Experience will educate visitors on the history of the game and give them the opportunity to play a game of the country’s most legendary sports or discover Dunmore Caves, which takes explorers of every age to the depths of one of Ireland’s oldest and darkest caves.
Commenting on the ‘More to Explore’ campaign, Ciaran Conroy, Chairperson of Kilkenny Tourism said; “We are delighted to launch this campaign, this is an exciting time for the county as we prepare to re-open for tourists. Kick-starting tourism and all its elements has been a high priority for Kilkenny Tourism and we have been pro-actively working with our partners and members to ensure that we meet visitors expectations for fun outdoor and authentic experienced based holidays this Summer.
He added; “This campaign is set to demonstrate that Kilkenny has plenty to offer for families; couples; groups of friends in search of outdoor adventure and we look forward to welcoming visitors back shortly.”