Visitors can now follow a route that lets them experience the music, food, theatre, art and even sporting highlights of Kilkenny City, one of the great Irish destinations, all in one go in the day time to early evening and well into the night.
Mixing Norman castles, ancient monasteries, pubs, hotels, craft studios and galleries, farmer’s markets, top restaurants and innovative theatres, the trail has every interest covered.
Each stop along the way includes a chat with the people involved; traditional musicians, master craftsmen, chefs and food producers.
Followers of Irish music wanting something more ‘hands on’ than listening to a pub session, can have a go at Ireland’s iconic percussion instrument through The Bodhran Experience, or follow the Trad Trail in the company of local musicians.
The 3,000-year-old sport of hurling is an obsession in Kilkenny and anyone who has ever marvelled at the world’s fastest field game can ‘give it a lash’ and appreciate the skill and power involved in The Ultimate Hurling Experience.
Trailing is thirsty work, and the St Francis Abbey tour of 300-year-old Smithwick’s Brewery makes a refreshing stop.
The Trail is not complete without a tour of its grand centrepiece, Kilkenny Castle. Its former stable yards are now a Design Centre, Kilkenny Design, of international stature where silversmiths, weavers and potters can be viewed creating distinctive works of art.
The Culture Trail dovetails with Kilkenny’s Blasta Taste Trail, an invitation to sample local foods, fresh produce, seafood, artisan cheeses and breads.
Blasta’s concept is simple: meander from spot to spot to savour tapas-style delicacies at some of Kilkenny’s best eateries, stopping along the way to view the sights and taking shortcuts through the ancient ‘slips’ (cobbled laneways) that add to Kilkenny’s charm.
Kilkenny’s famous hostelries span the centuries from medieval ale houses steeped in legends of witchcraft, to traditional Irish pubs, intimate inns tucked in laneways, and contemporary café bars and gastro pubs showcasing local, seasonal cuisine.
This diversity of venues within one compact place makes Kilkenny a-buzz with live music and entertainment every night of the week.
The round tower beside St Canice’s Cathedral provides a birds-eye-view of the Culture Trail highlights, while the stunning interior of the 13th century Cathedral reveals why Kilkenny is called the Marble City.
More intrepid trailblazers can venture further and follow the county’s celebrated craft trails.