Last weekend, myself and the other half visited Kilkenny for a nice hotel break. We stayed in the four star Kilkenny Ormonde located right in the centre of the city on Ormonde St. With a KO Luxury Spa and Leisure Centre as facilities, I was understandably delighted with the hotel! I treated myself to a Darphin facial and was left with beautiful smooth and pampered skin. Leisure facilities are great, but can be busy with swimming classes so it’s good to organise a quiet time. From this hotel, everything is within arms reach.
Kilkenny Castle is probably the top tourist attraction. The castle has undergone an extraordinary restoration since 1969. A self-guided tour costs €10 and takes you through various rooms including the dining rooms, bedrooms and a particularly impressive room called The Long Gallery. Outside the main building, there are beautiful gardens including a rose garden. If you walk across the road from the castle, you will reach the Design Centre showcasing the best of Irish brands. The building itself was once the stables of Kilkenny Castle. Behind the Design Centre and through the National Craft Gallery is the Butler House and Gardens which is so elegant and calm. I’m a big fan of Georgian architecture and this house doesn’t disappoint. Other areas of interest include the Smithwicks Brewery and the Rothe House and Gardens, neither of which I had a chance to visit.
Pub and grub wise, there are loads of choices. Top restaurants include Rinuccici, Zuni, Langtons and my personal favourite the City Bar and Grill in the Hibernian Hotel. There are loads of great pubs in the city and it’s a fairly good nightlife especially on weekends. Tynans, The Blue Bar and Left Bank are probably my top picks. The Left Bank is very impressive and back in the day it used to be home to Bank of Ireland.
My last stop in Kilkenny was a trip to the renowned vintage store Shutterbug. Located on Patrick Street, it is the ultimate store for vintage buying. I don’t think any other store in Ireland can match this place. Staff are excellent, not too pushy and very helpful. Prices are reasonable and the stock is to die for. I spent a long time in here browsing and hanging around all the beautiful jewelry! I came away with a bag full of goodies!
Kilkenny is really a beautiful place, more along the lines of a town rather than a city but it doesn’t fail to disappoint on food, hotels, pubs and scenery. That and the fact it’s easily reached by car, bus and train it makes for the perfect weekend getaway.