Kilkenny is home to some of the iconic attractions that form part of Ireland’s Ancient East. But, there are plenty of lesser known attractions a little off the beaten track that really offer something a little different for visitors, tourists and locals alike. So, if you want to add something a little more unique to your itinerary for the visit to Kilkenny, then these Hidden Gems are our top picks.
Kilkenny Tourism has compiled a full list of Hidden Gems for you – but we’ve picked out our favourites below.
Newpark Fairy Garden
Our neighbours at the Newpark Hotel have over 40 acres of an adventure trail for guests and visitors alike. Included in the trail are a Wildlife Farm, Go Karting track, Adventure Playground, Nature Fen Trail, as well as a dedicated Fairy Trail. The Fairy Garden offers a magical experience of young and old through the woods located beside the hotel and are a great way to spend a couple of hours away from the bustle of the city.
This little gem very quickly cemented its place on the Kilkenny food trail as a must visit for anyone with a sweet tooth or a love a great coffee. Recently voted Ireland’s Best Cafe, CakeFace Patisserie is located along Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile and they make some of the most visually beautiful and sumptuous tasting cakes and treats that we have ever seen. And, they are always inventing new delicacies so you’ll never get tired on the options on your return trip to Kilkenny.
Billy Byrne’s Bula Bus
Billy Byrne’s pub is one of Kilkenny’s most popular bars for visitors and locals alike and a favourite for visiting musicians to perform in. But, did you know that they also have a fabulous beer garden with a quirky double decker bus, known as the Bula Bus, that serves delicious street food! So, if you’re looking for a dining experience that is a little different on your next trip to Kilkenny, this one is definitely worth a visit.
Kilkenny Famine Experience
In 2005, a mass grave with the human remains of 970 people was discovered while doing some work on an old Irish workhouse located on the site that is now home to MacDonagh Junction. This is the most significant famine discovery in the world and offers an invaluable insight into the influencing factors that made some survive and others perish in 1840’s Ireland. MacDonagh Junction have now created a free audio-visual tour experience that tells the heart-breaking and poignant stories of the Kilkenny Famine victims and workhouse inmates.
The Black Abbey
This is one of the most spectacular abbey’s, largely due to the striking stained-glass window – the largest in Ireland – which was created in 1893 to depict the mysteries of The Rosary. Located on the outskirts of Kilkenny city, The Black Abbey has had a turbulent history impacted by the various rulers of Ireland and their religious allegiances. Still in use today, the abbey is a beautiful addition to your exploration of Kilkenny.