Outdoor Historic Sites to Explore in Kilkenny

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A visit to Kilkenny can include more diverse sights and scenery than you ever thought possible. It’s a treat for visitors that the places that served as the settings for some of Ireland’s most important historic developments are on the doorstep of Kilkenny.

Outdoor historical sites are perfect for great days out with the family. Fortunately for history lovers, Kilkenny is littered with a huge selection to choose from, but it does make it rather difficult to decide where to visit first! To get you started, here are our top 4:

1. Kells Priory

Outdoor Kilkenny Kells Priory 01

The Augustine priory of Kells is situated alongside King’s River beside the village of Kells outside Kilkenny. One of its most striking features is a collection of medieval tower houses spaced at intervals along and within walls which enclose a site of just over 3 acres. It consists of a church, a chapel, prior’s residence or sacristy and a number of domestic buildings for visitors to explore.

2. Jerpoint Park

Outdoor Kilkenny Jerpoint Park 06

Visit the unique Heritage Site in Jerpoint Park and enjoy a guided tour of the footprints of a deserted 12th Century Medieval town dating back to 1200AD. Your local guide will delve into the history and importance of this once thriving town called Newtown Jerpoint. Jerpoint Park also offers Angling for wild Salmon and wild brown trout or why not try something completely unique and come watch our Sheep Dog demonstration, showcasing man and dog working together as one.

3. Jerpoint Abbey Guided Tour

Outdoor Kilkenny Jerpoint Abbey 06

An outstanding Cistercian abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century. The church with its Romanesque detail dates from this period. In the transept chapels visitors can see a 13th to 16th century tomb sculpture. The tower and cloister date from the 15th century. Included in the admission fee, is a free guided tour of the partially restored monastic ruins with its magnificently sculptured cloister arcade and exhibition centre is an exemplary experience of Ireland’s Ancient East.

4. St Canices Round Tower

View From Canices Round Tower Kilkenny
View from St Canices Round Tower, Kilkenny

St Canice’s Cathedral is a hidden gem on Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile. Kilkenny is even named after this magnificent Cathedral, which has been a site of Christian worship since the 6th century and was known as the last stronghold of the druids before that. The Cathedral has a magnificent 30-metre-high round tower where visitors can climb and take in the views of the county!

Remember, Irish history comes alive in this elegant county, so make the most of the great outdoors and discover the past at these unique sites!

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Outdoor Kilkenny is a Kilkenny Tourism CLG initiative designed to enhance the tourism experience for the county. This website is concerned with promoting Kilkenny’s outdoor offering to domestic and international tourism markets.

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