Hours of admission are different depending on what time you visit, so make sure to check the website for opening hours.
Good to know
If you travel to Kilkenny Castle by car (like we did), take note that there is not a designated parking lot and street parking is very limited. You can park in the car park at the Market-Cross Shopping Centre on Parliament Street for €1.50 per hour.
Recommended time of the year
End of April to early May is a good time to go, as the heavy tourist season hasn't begun. Plus, opening hours are longer than in the winter.
About This Day
If you are planning a family vacation to Ireland, do not miss going to Kilkenny Castle with your kids. With its rich history and architectural beauty, as well as a fun playground, Kilkenny Castle will surely be a hit for everyone in the family. And as a special treat, top off the day at Murphy's Ice Cream for some of the best ice cream you'll ever taste!
Blaa Blaa Blaa Sandwiches is the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall establishment. No more than one or two people fit downstairs at one time. But what it lacks in space, it makes up for in selection. I highly recommend the Mediterranean sandwich. Though there isn't a kids menu, there are some kid-friendly options on the regular menu. If sandwiches aren't your thing, you can also purchase coffee, tea, ice cream and even waffles. There are picnic benches along the Canal Walk where you can sit while eating your food and people watching. And, what's not to love about eating in the shadow of a medieval fortress?
DIRECTIONS Blaa Blaa Blaa Sandwiches is located right on the river Nore Canal Walk in Kilkenny. When coming from out of town, you'll cross the river on R887. Street parking is slim, so the best place to park is at the Kilkenny Market-Cross Car Park. To get there, you'll actually pass Blaa Blaa Blaa Sandwiches on R887 until you get to High Street. Turn right on High Street and continue on until it turns into Parliament Street. Look for the public parking sign on the street. Once you exit the car park by foot, follow the sidewalk back to Parliament Street and turn right. Walk straight until you get to The Parade grounds. Cross the street and turn left, until you get to the Canal Walk. Do not cross the bridge. Blaa Blaa Blaa Sandwiches is the bright blue shop.
TIP Stop in at Blaa Blaa Blaa Sandwiches for lunch before you head over to Kilkenny Castle around the corner. If it's raining, there is some seating up the stairs. But the open spaces of the Canal Walk allows kids some space to run around while you finish your lunch. You can even take your food around the corner and have a picnic on the grounds of the castle.
Kilkenny Castle is a medieval castle that was originally built in the 12th century. The castle that stands today has been renovated to reflect a more modern look. Depending on when you visit, you can choose to do a guided or self-guided tour. Plan to spend about an hour inside the castle to explore the family rooms, gallery and common rooms. At the end of your visit, you can stop in at the Tea Room for a treat. Our family loved the fresh-squeezed orange juice - it was some of the best I've had. Once you're done inside the castle, make sure you take a stroll around the grounds. Don't leave the castle until you let your kids blow off some steam at the playground on the castle grounds.
DIRECTIONS From Blaa Blaa Blaa Sandwiches, turn left on R887 and walk up to The Parade. Turn left and continue walking until you get to the entrance to the castle grounds.
After an afternoon exploring the castle grounds and playing at the playground, an ice cream break is definitely in order, and there's no other place than Murphy's Ice Cream. This ice cream shop came highly recommended to us by multiple Kilkenny locals, and it did not disappoint. It was some of the best ice cream I've tasted. Murphy's originated in Dingle, but there are a few different locations around Ireland. My daughter and I both loved the Dingle sea salt flavor. You're allowed to sample however many flavors you want before selecting the one you want to order. The people working there were so friendly and very mindful of the kids despite the busy shop.
DIRECTIONS Murphy's Ice Cream is right across the street from the Kilkenny Castle grounds.
TIP Murphy's can get quite busy and the line is often long. However, the wait is worth it, as the ice cream really is amazing. To ease some of the congestion, one parent can wait in line while the other waits off to the side of the shop with the kids.