Amble through idyllic villages or hike by the meandering River Nore to get the feel of Ireland's County Kilkenny. With little to remind the traveler of life outside the Emerald Isle, Kilkenny is an ideal spot for experiencing the quintessential rural Ireland. Whether you want to clamber through medieval castles, spend hours bird watching in the forest, or explore underground caverns, you can do it in County Kilkenny.
Hiking, Walking and Horseback Riding
County Kilkenny's rolling green hills are covered by miles of hiking trails and bridle paths. Hike along the River Nore or visit Woodstock Gardens on your way to the peak of Mount Alto. Mount Juliet offers multiple hiking and riding opportunities including 16 miles of trails set in the nearby forest. Trail rides are available daily at Mount Juliet Equestrian Centre from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as of 2009.
Forest and garden walks are popular with both locals and tourists. Just 10 minutes' drive from Kilkenny City, you can stroll through Jenkinstown Wood, former estate of Thomas Moore. Another ideal place for nature walks and picnics is Ballyrafton Wood, located halfway between Kilkenny City and Castlecomer.
Riverside and Seaside Activities
Two rivers, the Nore and the Barrow, flow through County Kilkenny providing opportunities for fishing, angling, boating and watersports. Kilkenny only has a small coastline, but you can head to nearby County Waterford to satisfy the craving for fresh sea air. Dunmore East Adventure Centre, located just outside of County Kilkenny, offers kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing, boating, orienteering and rock climbing.
Visiting Historic Sights and Tourist Attractions
Kilkenny City is a great place to start exploring the architecture of the country. Spend a day rambling through Kilkenny Castle, Saint Canice's Cathedral, Saint Mary's Cathedral and the Black Abbey. Head to Castlecomer to learn about coal mining at Discovery Park, or take the back roads to the sleepy scenic village of Clogh.
Ogle at centuries old calcite formations in Dunmore Cave, and make sure you don't miss the picturesque village of Inistioge, the backdrop of several films. It's 18th century stone bridge with 10-arches is a sight to see. Hiking the trails from Inistioge along the River Nore is a great way to experience the beauty of rural Kilkenny.
Article Written By Heather Carreiro
Heather Carreiro is a certified English teacher who has been writing since 2008. The editor of Matador Abroad, her work has appeared online at BootsnAll, Matador Network, GoNOMAD, Journey Beyond Travel and Expat Women. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English at Bridgewater State University.