Romantic Kilkenny: 10 things for loved-up couples to do on Valentine’s weekend
When it comes to looking for things to do on St Valentine’s weekend, you don’t have to look any further than the Marble City.
Kilkenny, with the breathtaking Castle, beautiful medieval streets and mounth-watering array of top restaurants, is Ireland’s most romantic city, full of things for loved-up couples to explore.
Whether it’s culture, shopping, romantic forest walks or exciting places for wine and food lovers, here are 10 of the top places to visit in the medieval city, which are romantic, relaxing and perfect for couples seeking to experience something different.
(1) KILKENNY CASTLE
No trip to Kilkenny is complete without a visit to its quintessential medieval castle which brings Kilkenny’s history to life in a 13th century architectural setting that takes your breath away. The restored castle, grounds, and views which dominate Kilkenny City are spectacular and worthwhile spending an afternoon meandering through, to absorb the grandeur of its former glory and the history of Irish aristocracy.
(2) SMITHWICKS EXPERIENCE
One of the most enjoyable tours in Ireland, Immerse yourself in the story of Smithwick’s, told as only a local knows how. Where 300 years of history combine with extraordinary brewing innovations, to create the Smithwick’s tour – an experience like no other. The tour includes a series of interactive and surprising experiences, and culminates in every guest savouring a Smithwick’s Ale whilst learning about the process behind its innovation which makes it so unique.
(3) JERPOINT ABBEY GUIDED TOUR
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, and will leave visitors feeling empowered and informed about the history and stories of the Cictersian monks who called the Abbey home in the 12th century.
(4) ST CANICE’S ROUND TOWER
A pillar site, on Ireland’s Medieval Mile, St. Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower is an essential part of the structural heritage of Kilkenny’s vibrant and medieval city. A climb to the top of the Tower is essential on a bright day, and rewarded with stunning views of Kilkenny and surrounding countryside.
(5) IRELAND’S MEDIEVAL MILE
Kilkenny is the embodiment of Medieval Ireland and the city is best discovered by foot. Take in the uniqueness of Kilkenny city’s medieval cobbled streets and landmarks. Ireland’s Medieval Mile in Kilkenny city stretches from two of the most iconic buildings, the 12th century Kilkenny Castle, a religious site since the 6th Century, with historic buildings like Rothe House in between. The Medieval Mile Museum is located in the city and offers an interactive tour into ancient Ireland.
Kilkenny’s countryside has many walking trails, river walks and woodland walks which is a great way to experience the stunning views of the countryside. There are many scenic villages such as Inistioge which have been the setting for three major films, The Secret Scripture, Widows; Peak and Circle of Friends.
(7) LUNCH AT MOCHA VINTAGE TEA ROOMS
One thing you’ll find in Kilkenny is lots of little cafe/tea rooms this is the one you need to seek out – Mocha Vintage Tea Rooms. Food is homemade daily on the premises, and the café offers a varied menu to meet all tastes. Once inside you’ll feel you have stepped back in time in their quirky, elegant surroundings.
(8) DINNER AT CAMPAGNE
Campagne Restaurant serves French-style food and is an award-winning restaurant, having been awarded a prestigious Michelin star every year since 2014. The owner of the restaurant, Garrett Byrne is a local Kilkenny man and his philosophy is to serve good Irish food in a modern setting, and he achieves just that. They also offer a variety of vegetarian options.
(9) RUDOLF HELTZEL JEWELLERS
With 15 jewellers, watch-makers and diamond specialists to choose from, Kilkenny city has a penchant for thousands of romantic proposals, engagements and weddings. But Rudolf Heltzel is a designer with a difference and an icon of Irish craft and design. The outstanding craftsmanship that goes into each and every piece is truly something to behold! Rudolf Heltzel has gained an international reputation for the originality and quality of his work, with each item meticulously crafted by hand using some of the world’s oldest jewellery techniques, and now, his son Christopher Heltzel has taken the helm of the business in Kilkenny, which features as part of the Made in Kilkenny Craft Trail.
(10) The Kilkenny Design Centre
Kilkenny Design Centre occupies a landmark building overlooking Kilkenny Castle in the heart of Kilkenny City. Offering an unrivalled selection of Irish handcrafted gifts, the centre specialises in handcrafted works of exceptional quality. Stocking a selection of jewellery, knitwear, celtic gifts, china and crystal, pottery and glass and stunning one-off contemporary design pieces. The centre is renowned for showcasing emerging Irish craftspeople and their unique work, respected and sought after all over the world. It is situated in what was once the stables of Kilkenny Castle and is fittingly located adjacent to the National Craft Gallery.