The Final Draft > A Walking Tour of Kilkenny Through its Pubs
A Walking Tour of Kilkenny Through its Pubs
A watering hole, a local institution, a meeting place; pub culture has always been a cornerstone of Irish social life. There are few better ways to get to know a city than by exploring its pubs. Take this uniquely crafted walking route through Kilkenny locating its traditional pubs along with some of its most interesting sites.
Begin at the Front Room, a pub which, much like its name suggests, functions as an extension of your living room. A comfortable place to meet and chat, this is one of Kilkenny’s newest public houses, opened in 2016. You’ll immediately recognize it by its brightly coloured purple exterior, which perfectly mirrors the lively atmosphere within where live music is played on the weekends and a jovial mood pervades. After admiring the outside of the pub, continue down John Street where you’ll be greeted by the imposing Kilkenny Castle. This 12th century fortress has a rich history ripe for exploration. Built in the 13th century by the 4th Earl of Pembroke, it became a striking symbol of Norman conquest over the region. It would serve as the principal seat of the Butlers, earls, marquesses and dukes of Ormond for a subsequent 600 years. Overlooking the Nore river, the castle is a feast for the eyes whether you explore inside or simply take a walk around its impressive surroundings.
After surveying the town’s crown jewel, head to Andrew Ryans – a traditional Irish pub that has been serving pints to locals for over one hundred years. Located on Friary Street, don’t let its unassuming front fool you - this is a true local gem. From here, wander the short way to St. Canice’s Cathedral. This 13th century Gothic church is famed for being the second largest cathedral in the country, and a must-see on any Kilkenny itinerary. Step inside to admire the stained-glass windows, the high altar and ascend the 100-foot climb to the top of the round tower to take in some spectacular views of the city you won’t find anywhere else.
Continue to delve through Kilkenny’s intricate history at Kyteler’s Inn. This pub, located on Kieran Street, dates back to 1324 and is the family home of Dame Alice Kyteler, the first woman in Ireland to be charged with witchcraft. Familiarize yourself with the fascinating tale of her escape from Kilkenny Castle for an even better experience as you view the historical building. Then, walk the short distance to Rothe House and Garden, a late 16th-century merchant’s house now home to a museum of history and archaeology. After taking in some of the area’s past, peruse the reconstructed gardens if you want to extend your saunter.
Next, venture onwards to The Metropole bar. Located on the High Street, this cosy B&B and backpackers inn is a great place to meet people and strike up conversations. This will put you in the perfect position to continue your exploration of Kilkenny by visiting the Smithwick’s experience tour just a few minutes’ walk away on Parliament Street. Founded in 1710, the place itself is an historical landmark. Once you step inside, you’ll be treated to a journey of discovery and get a true taste of Kilkenny heritage as you uncover the history behind the iconic red-ale’s flavour.