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Kilkenny is a lovely city. Although small–about 24,000 people–it has a vibrant nightlife and good shopping, as well as some of the best Irish folk around. Here are 5 of my favorite things I did in Kilkenny, many of which I’ve posted about already.

Kilkenny Castle: The grounds alone are worth a trip to this gorgeous place. Spent your afternoon reading a book in the gardens, walk past the castle to the children’s park, or take a tour of the castle. Any of these options are a great way to spend some time in Kilkenny.
Can you tell I’m a bit chilly? AND EXCITED TO BE BY A CASTLE!?

Smithwick’s Brewery Tour: I know I recently posted about this, but seriously! Fun and informative! And some darn good beer!
The Black Abbey: One of the oldest Dominican-established orders in Ireland, this abbey was built in 1225 and has been the site of worship since then. I like visiting old churches, so obviously this is a taste thing, but I found the Black Abbey to be a beautiful and sparse example of that period’s architecture. Nobody was there when I went in, so I had a few minutes of really nice reflective time.
Outside The Black Abbey

Kilkenny Swing: I’m going to do a shameless plug here, and direct everyone with an interest in dance–especially swing dance–to Happy Feet, Kilkenny’s weekly swing dance lesson and social dance. Improvers lesson begins at 8, Beginners at 9, and there’s social dancing afterward. Dancing is held at The Left Bank, a really cool, old multi-storey pub with a great upstairs bar for dancing! Plus, the people are fabulous. 🙂

Live music: Basically my evenings in Kilkenny went like this: I’d eat dinner–usually with Anna & Rory–and we’d head out to one of the many live music options in Kilkenny EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK. Literally there is music on every night. Literally. I know, it’s Ireland, but still, I’m continually amazed at the fact that there is GOOD music everywhere! No cover charge! Aahh!
Trad sesh at Ryan’s
My favorite night was Sunday at the Pumphouse, where The Barflies would play. Seriously high quality musicianship, great music, wonderful atmosphere. Ryan’s Pub on Thursdays has great trad, and Tuesdays we heard the gravelly, bluesy goodness of Rob Strong play at Tynan’s. Also, at my local (ha! Yes, I’m sayin’ it! I had a local, sort of), Cleere’s, they bring in some AMAZING international and local talent. Calexico played there, for example. Also, Po’ Girl, and a ton of other amazing groups from the States and way beyond.
Ever been to Kilkenny? What would you recommend seeing?
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