Kilkenny audio tour: Medieval Kilkenny: A Sightseeing Tour from the Castle to St. Canice's Cathedral

Medieval Kilkenny: A Sightseeing Tour from the Castle to St. Canice's Cathedral

Walking Tour

90 mins

About the Tour

Meander through Kilkenny, one of the most important inland towns in Ireland, on a walking tour retracing its history. We’ll begin at the castle gates, where you’ll hear about the turbulent life of Dermot McMurrough, the King of Leinster, and his daughter Aoife, as well as the kings, warriors and knights who helped established Kilkenny in the 1100s.

I’ll show you around the city’s most significant medieval sites, such as the Tholsel, Kytler's Inn, and St. Canice's Cathedral. I’ll tell you stories about the real people of the time, including merchants, witches, bishops and abbots, which I’m sure will fascinate and enthral you until the very end of the tour.

Highlights on our walk include:

• Tracing parts of the city’s Medieval Mile
• A quick tour around the Black Abbey
• Learning about a castle that was built on top of a medieval jail

Along the way you’ll also discover:

• Why Kilkenny is known as the Marble City
• The food regulations that existed in medieval Kilkenny’s markets
• What the Liber Primus Kilkenniensis is, and why it’s so important

The tour ends a short walk from the centre of town, where you’ll find other interesting sights to see, great shopping opportunities, and a whole host of places to enjoy a meal, snack, or drink.

Tour Producer


Amanda Pitcairn

History has been an absolute passion of mine since childhood when I was brought up on the stories of some noble, and less than noble, ancestors, from the reckless and rascally Colonel Thomas Blood who stole the crown jewels to the midshipman who sighted and named Pitcairn Island, and Major John Pitcairn who fired the first shot of the American War of Independence, to one of the greatest English architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens, I simply could not help being enthralled by history. I became more interested in the Medieval Period and have a Master's Degree in Public History and Cultural Heritage from Trinity College Dublin. I happen to live in one of the richest towns in Ireland in terms of extant Medieval built heritage, and and I truly delight in bringing Kilkenny's Medieval history to life with stories of those who founded, lived and thrived there. Sharing history is always a two way street and because I gain so much enjoyment from engaging with the public, I set up my own tour guiding business, Touch The Past Ireland,, and conduct walking tours of Kilkenny City and historic sites such as Clonmacnoise and Holycross Abbey among many others. Should you require a personal, live tour, please contact me on +353(0)872776107 or by email at [email protected] or visit my website for more information.

Major Landmarks

  • Kilkenny Castle

  • The Shee House

  • The Tholsel

  • Kytler's Inn

  • Grace's Castle

  • Rothe House

  • The Black Abbey

  • St. Canice's Cathedral

Directions to Starting Point

The starting point is the Gates of Kilkenny Castle. It is situated at the top of The Parade, a broad and open pedestrian space in the centre of the town. It is also opposite The Kilkenny Design Centre, a great place to shop for quality Irish craft, and kick off the day with a coffee or lunch in their restaurant. The simplest way to get to Kilkenny is by car and the best place to park is the multistory carpark on Ormond Street. However there is also a train line which goes from Dublin to Waterford via Kilkenny and Kilkenny Castle can be accessed on foot from the station in about 12 minutes. Busses also go from Waterford and Dublin to Kilkenny and stop near the train station and also Ormond Road which is close to the Castle.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Places to stop along the way are: The Kilkenny Design Centre for shopping and eating, Kilkenny Castle, Talbot's Tower, Rothe House and St. Canice's Cathedral for Medieval site seeing, and Kieran Street for general shopping, boutiques, bars, cafes and restaurants. Petronella's a great restaurant, with a renowned vegan section, in the Butter Slip.

Best time of day

The best time of day to do this walk is early to mid morning or early afternoon. Dress for the weather! Ireland is known for it's rainy weather but we also get glorious sunny days! Saturdays are usually more crowded than week days and high season can be very busy but generally this adds positively to the atmosphere of the town. It is a good idea to check the mass times in the Black Abbey so as not to interrupt a service as it is a working church. Generally mass is held daily at 10:30 am and 13:00pm. and on Sundays at 6:10 and 9:00am, 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm. Of course, those who are interested can pause the tour and join the mass. It would still be best to check on line as there are variations according to the ecclesiastical calendar.


There are no particular safety concerns other than the normal ones for anywhere in the world. Keep personal belongings safe, in hot weather remember to hydrate, and even when cloudy sunblock is recommended. There are not many public rest rooms in the town. Generally one has to use those found in pubs and restaurants although there are public facilities on The Parade and in the Market Cross Shopping Centre.


Really enjoyed the tour! The app was easy to download with easy instructions to follow. Was great to do the tour on our on own but still get all the information. Would definitely recommend! Áine

Posted by Aine , 8 months ago

We had a really great time doing this. The tour was really easy to follow and fill of info. I live in the centre and never knew any if this, plus it's a great walk. Would definitly recommend it.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 8 months ago

Brilliant Tour! Really easy to follow around the beautiful town of Kilkenny. Amanda is extremely knowledgable and passionate about history. We learned a lot and would highly recommend the tour. Thanks Amanda! Claudia

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 8 months ago

If you want to be directed around the beautiful city of Kilkenny and learn about the rich medieval history of the Kilkenny this tour is for you. Great tour, really informative, would highly recommend!!

Posted by Andrew , 8 months ago
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Medieval Kilkenny: A Sightseeing Tour from the Castle to St. Canice's Cathedral