If you want to know more about Kilkenny, step off the high street and wind your way along the 400-year-old Butterslip Lane, the birthplace of Kilkenny, where an enchanting glimpse into its medieval history awaits. As you continue beneath the archways, slip away from the busy tourist trail for a bite to eat at Petronella’s Restaurant, where you can be guaranteed to satisfy your hunger for history as well – and Kilkenny’s history is in the very fabric of this building.

Named after Petronella de Meath, the first woman to be burned at the stake in Europe, owner Frank Currane will talk you through the fascinating history while serving up a host of tasty and imaginative dishes. An after-dinner stroll around the corner will take you to the exact spot where Petronella met her end on the site of Kilkenny’s town hall.

From the 400-year-old beams to the modernity of the menu, Petronella is a perfect blend of old and new Kilkenny and the best place to kick-start your visit.


Where to stay in Kilkenny

We stayed at the modern and accessible Pembroke hotel, right on the doorstep of Kilkenny and a fantastic spot from which to explore the city. From the comfortable and modern bedrooms with welcome touches such as a Nespresso machine and robes, settle down and soak up Kilkenny’s skyline from the comfort of your room.

A massive plus after a busy day exploring is the Pembroke’s Spa, Mint. We were treated to a facial and a massage by the talented team that left us on cloud nine.

If you’re looking to find out more about Kilkenny, ask a member of staff and they will be happy to arrange a Pembroke rooftop tour from which you can spy the top sites as you learn more about Kilkenny’s impressive history. Back on the ground, it’s fair to say that the staff at the Pembroke are what make it that little bit more special; friendly and attentive, they all went above and beyond.

For offers, visit www.pembrokekilkenny.com and http://www.mintkilkenny.com/

The Pembrook hotel is right on the doorstep of Kilkenny and a fantastic spot from which to explore the city.

Jerpoint Abbey

Dating back to the 12th century, Jerpoint is a stunning Cistercian abbey with a magnificently sculptured cloister arcade. In the transept chapels, visitors can see 13th and 15th century tomb sculptures as your knowledgeable guide talks you through what life would have been like for monks of that time.

Adult: €5.00 | Group/Senior: €4.00 |

Child/Student: €3.00 | Family: €13.00


Jerpoint Abbey dates back to the 12th century.

Mount Juliet

After exploring Jerpoint Abbey, head up the road for lunch at Mount Juliet. It’s easy to see why this stunning country estate, which was a family home until 1989, was voted one of the top 20 resorts in Europe by Condé Nast Traveler. The estate offers stunning accommodation and boasts its own Michelin-starred restaurant. From on-site fishing, horse riding, golfing, archery and falconry, to the indulgent spa, there is something for everyone.We enjoyed a sumptuous meal and settled down for a cuppa with Des, guest relations manager, to find out all about the story behind the estate. Make sure to ask for his history tour when you visit.


One of the bedrooms at Mount Juliet.

Butler house serves up a gorgeous afternoon tea overlooking the stunning gardens.

Butler House

Butler House is the Dower House of Kilkenny Castle and has been associated with the Butler family for 500 years. Lady Eleanor Butler lived there after the death of her husband in 1783, along with her daughter Eleanor, one of the famous “ladies of Langollen”. A soup kitchen was even run from the site during the cholera epidemic of 1832. The state agency Kilkenny Design restored the house in 1972 and today it’s open to the public as a guesthouse and for weddings. We enjoyed one of their famed afternoon teas overlooking the stunning gardens, which we explored afterwards. History and amazing food; the perfect Kilkenny combination.

Afternoon tea starts from €29 per person / €35 per person with Prosecco. Visit www.butler.ie

Butler house serves up a gorgeous afternoon tea overlooking the stunning gardens.

Highbank Orchard was a real highlight of the trip
Highbank Orchard

Highbank Orchard was one of the highlights of our trip. The current owners, Julie and Rod Calder-Potts, restored the 17th century family farm to an organic system in 1994 and set about making it more environmentally friendly. Today, Highbank houses its own distillery. The result is a range of delicious products, from apple cider vinegar and treacle to a range of spirits and ciders to name just some. What’s so lovely is that Julie and Rod really take the time to talk you through their farming methods and how, as a small-scale producer, they’ve added value to their product. The orchard is a must-see so make sure to take the tractor train tour and don’t forget to stop by and stock up at the shop. Trust us, you’ll be back for more!


Food trail

During our three-day trip to Kilkenny we were blown away by the quality of food on offer. We enjoyed lunches at Zuni Restaurant, which was right across the road from the Pembroke (www.zuni.ie), and Rive Guache, situated in the heart of Kilkenny and offering dishes to die for (www.rivegauch.com). Dinners at Petronella’s (see top) and Paris Texas Bar & Steakhouse, the perfect spot for a cocktail and a quick bite as you head out to explore Kilkenny’s nightlife (www.paristexas.ie), along with all the other spots mentioned.

So whether it’s history, art and design, food, nightlife or a family break that you’re after, Kilkenny has it all and more. Check out visitkilkenny.ie to start planning your trip today.