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County Kilkenny Ireland | Things to See and Do

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County Kilkenny Ireland | Things to See and Do

County Kilkenny, in southeastern Ireland, is known for its medieval monastic ruins. These include the 12th-century Kells Priory, an Augustinian complex surrounded by fortified walls. The county capital, also called Kilkenny, has more medieval buildings, including Kilkenny Castle, remodelled in Victorian times and set in extensive grounds. St. Canice’s Cathedral has a 9th-century round tower offering panoramic views. ― Google

Kilkenny Castle

Dunmore Caves

Mount Juliet Estate

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

Smithwick’s brewery

Jerpoint Abbey

Ballykeefe Distillery

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle (Irish: Caisleán Chill Chainnigh) is a castle in Kilkenny, Ireland built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defences of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade.

The property was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for £50 and the castle and grounds are now managed by the Office of Public Works. The gardens and parkland adjoining the castle are open to the public. The Parade Tower is a conference venue. Awards and conferring ceremonies of the graduates of "Kilkenny Campus" of National University of Ireland, Maynooth have been held there since 2002.

Kilkenny Castle has been an important site since Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, commonly known as Strongbow constructed the first castle, probably a wooden structure, in the 12th century. The Anglo-Normans had established a castle in 1173, possibly on the site of an earlier residence of the Mac Giolla Phádraig kings of Osraighe. Kilkenny formed part of the lordship of Leinster, which was granted to Strongbow. Strongbow’s daughter and heiress, Isabel married William Marshall in 1189.

Marshall owned large estates in Ireland, England, Wales and France and managed them effectively. In 1192, he appointed Geoffrey FitzRobert as seneschal of Leinster and so began a major phase of development in Kilkenny, including the development of Kilkenny Castle. The first stone castle on the site, was completed in 1260. This was a square-shaped castle with towers at each corner; three of these original four towers survive to this day.

The castle was owned by the seneschal of Kilkenny Sir Gilbert De Bohun who inherited the county of Kilkenny and castle from his mother in 1270, in 1300 he was outlawed by Edward I but was reinstated in 1303, he held the castle until his death in 1381. It was not granted to his heir Joan, but seized by the crown and sold to the Butler family in 1391.

Dunmore Caves

Discover the darkest place in Ireland, Dunmore Caves. This legendary location tells the darkest stories from the 10th century when large parts of Ireland were under a Vikings stranglehold.  

Mount Juliet Estate

Mount Juliet Estate in Kilkenny, Ireland is a Luxury County House Hotel. 

Kilfane Glen and Waterfall

Load up your photography kit bag and your comfy walking shoes and join Dublin Photography School as we head down the country to Kilfane Glen and Waterfall. Kilfane is a picturesque paradise with a waterfall tumbling it's way to a rushing stream and woodland paths leading to a cottage orné. It is made up of tiny bridges, which sit among ancient trees, wild fox-gloves, ferns and other historically correct 18th century planting. To capture the true essence of the place, you have the gardens, which cover about 15 acres of easily accessible natural landscape. These will offer you varied and fantastic photographic opportunities throughout. On route home we will make a stop in the village of Leighlinbridge (meaning 'half glen of the bridge) on the river barrow, for more unique photographic opportunities.

Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival is a comedy festival held over the first weekend in June each year in Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Republic of Ireland. It was founded in 1994.[1]

Cat Laughs was envisioned in 1994 by Lynn Cahill who ran a theatre in Kilkenny. Due to a lack of business, she considered with her business partner that Kilkenny was great for a festival. After originally planning a choral festival called "Cat Sings", her business partner Richard Cook suggested a comedy festival instead.[1] For the first two editions, no Irish comedian closed the festival due to the audience preferring British comics.[1] The first edition was sponsored by Smithwick's before being sponsored by Murphy's Irish Stout until 2015 when Smithwick's returned.[2] It is traditionally held over the weekend of Pentecost.[3] Each comedian is previewed at other shows by the festival directors before being invited to perform at Cat Laughs.[1]

Several comedians throughout the British Isles attended including; Dara Ó Briain, Ed Byrne and Eddie Izzard.[4][5] The festival became referred to by RTE as the "Best Little Comedy Festival in the world".[6] The festival has also been used as a way to launch the careers of comedians from outside the British Isles in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.[7]

A tradition developed over the years that as a part of the festival, the Irish comedians would play a football match against comedians from the rest of the world for the Cat Cup.[4]

Smithwick’s brewery

Check out the Smithwick's Brewery Experience Tour in Kilkenny Ireland. This gives you a pretty quick overview of the Smithwick's Experience.  By the way, Smithwicks is pronounced "Smithicks".  I have only been saying this wrong my entire life.  Smithwick's is located in the city center of Kilkenny and is walking distance from Kilkenny Castle.  Everything in Kilkenny is pretty much walkable.

Smithwick's Brewery Experience Kilkenny Ireland is run by Diageo which bought Smithwick's several years ago.  Smithwick's is now brewed in Dublin at the Guinness Brewery.

Jerpoint Abbey

Founded in the 12th century, Jerpoint Abbey is one of the best examples of a medieval Cistercian Abbey in Ireland. The architectural styles within the church, constructed in the late twelfth century, reflect the transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture. The tower and cloister date to the fifteenth century.

Jerpoint is renowned for its detailed stone sculptures found throughout the monastery. Dating from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries these include mensa tombs from the O’Tunney school, an exquisite incised depiction of two 13th century knights, the decorated cloister arcades along with other effigies and memorials.

Ballykeefe Distillery

, Stuart visits Ballykeefe Irish Whiskey Distillery in Kilkenny, Ireland for a World Exclusive look at their very first Irish Whiskey release. Just seven casks of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey are being released with each cask being bottled at both Cask Strength and at 46% to create 14 individual limited edition expressions.

Stuart discusses the unique "House Style with Morgan and also examines how seven casks distilled and casked at the same time could have quite different maturation journeys. 

Stuart and Morgan explore the art and science of Irish Whiskey making.

Ballykeefe Single Estate Whiskey and Ballykeefe Farm Distillery.

Ballykeefe is an entirely independent, artisan, family-owned Single Estate Whiskey Distillery, which was built in 2016 to diversify a working family farm for successor generations. All of the Whiskey is triple distilled from barley sown, grown and harvested on the family farm. This makes it a uniquely 100% ‘field to glass “Single Estate” Whiskey distillery’ and marks a revival of a century’s lost tradition of family farm distilling. Ballykeefe on the label means 100% Ballykeefe distilled spirit made from 100% Ballykeefe Irish barley, in the bottle.

The Ging family have an unbroken lineage of farming for centuries as far back as written records exist. Ballykeefe is located in the region which is renowned for the earliest written accounts of distilling in Ireland, recorded in the Red Book of Ossory in 1324.

Built in 2016, Whiskey production began in 2017 with a Single Pot Still, followed by Single Malt and Single Rye. All Whiskey is triple distilled in bespoke, Irish designed, Italian made, copper stills, using deep well Ballykeefe water. Major investment in sophisticated technology and eco-friendly practices have ensured zero off-farm waste and secured Ballykeefe multiple awards for sustainability.

The first release of 500 cask strength, single pot still, single cask bottles, is being done in an exclusive collaboration with Ireland’s oldest Family-owned Crystal Studio Workshop, Kilkenny Crystal. Using traditional techniques, the master craftspeople at Kilkenny Crystal, have designed and hand cut two unique crystal tumblers to accompany each bottle, which they have also beautifully hand engraved to mark this historic first release.

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