Kilkenny – The Marble City

KILKENNY. Historic buildings. A massive castle. Art everywhere you go. Is there any better way to kick off my Irish adventure?

Hey everybuuudy!

Picture the following situation: The sun is shining on your face, a cat is curled up in your lap – purring-, it smells like toasted scone with jam, and there’s someone playing the guitar close by. That’s me. Right now. Could it get any more Irish?

Let me give you some more details: Three weeks ago, I landed in Dublin early in the morning and took a bus towards Callan, a village close to Kilkenny. Here, I worked as a volunteer at Fennelly’s, a local art café, together with other volunteers.

I thought long about how to summarise my experiences and arrived at the conclusion that one a post isn’t enough! So, here’s the first impression of my stay, focusing on what to do and see in Kilkenny.

Kilkenny – My Personal Highlights

Kilkenny  (Irish: Cill Chainnigh, meaning “Church of Cainnech”) is literally how you imagine an Irish town. Its the perfect mix of historic buildings, narrow lanes and colourful storefronts. Kilkenny’s picturesque ‘Medieval Mile’ along the bank of the River Nore is one of the Southeast’s biggest tourists draws – for obvious reasons!

Kilkenny Voluteering Ireland
Kilkenny is definitely not short on shops and pubs.

My personal highlight, though: The castle. This 12th Century castle dominates the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny city. It was home of the powerful Butler family for almost 600 years and has just recently (1967) been sold back to ‘the people’ for a symbolical price of £50. As a student, you pay an admission fee of €4 to see the castle’s art gallery and historical exhibition. I think it’s worth it but I’m also a little castle fanatic.

Kilkenny Castle Voluteering Ireland
Castles are for dancing.

If you don’t feel like spending money, don’t worry! The castle gardens are free and absolutely stunning! Trust me, nothing beats a walk along the River Nore and through the massive gardens on a late summer afternoon.

Kilkenny Voluteering Ireland
Flower, ponds, and wildlife – you’ll find it all!

Most of the towns historic buildings and churches are built of dark-grey limestone flecked with fossil seashells, giving Kilkenny the nickname ‘the Marble city’. I, personally, was most impressed by the St. Mary’s Cathedral. The Gothic cathedral is built entirely out of limestone and its tower rises to a height of 186 feet (approx. 56 meters). But there’s also the ‘lack Abbey and the Church of St Canicewith its round tower, which are worth a visit!

Kilkeny Voluntering ireland
St. Mary’s Cathedral

However, ot only Kilkenny’s churches are impressive. Another favourite building of mine is St Kieran’s College. Founded in 1782, makes it the oldest Catholic college in Ireland.

Kilkenny Top Things Volunteering Ireland
Fun fact: Ralph Fiennes, the actor who plays Lord Voldemort, went to St Kieran’s College for a year.

Kilkenny is one of Ireland’s most creative hubs. I was lucky enough to arrive during the Kilkenny Art Festival, which takes place all across town. However, you can sense the creative soul of the city throughout the whole year. I’ll be back in Kilkenny at the end of November to attend the European Subtitle Film Festival – already super excited!

Kilkenny Volunteering Ireland
One of Kilkenny’s many art installations.

I hope you enjoyed my personal highlights of Kilkenny. The next post will be about what to do in the county of Kilkenny. There’re some pretty awesome places to visit! Would you like to know more about how to become a volunteer in Ireland? Let me know!

xx Lara

P.S. I’m off to Dublin now. So, if anyone has tips about where to eat, what to see or hidden gems of the capital, hit me up!


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