By Ann Cronin
The great outdoors
While staying in Kilkenny it is essential to absorb as much of its outdoor beauty as possible. Take a bike ride along the North, South, East or West Cycle Route for unbeatable scenery. See this county from a whole new angle though a canoeing trip by Go with the Flow River Adventures. Your family can dare to attempt the thrilling zip line or tree-top adventure walk in the Castlecomer Discovery Park, among other exciting outdoor activities like archery and orienteering. For information on canoeing trips, see gowiththeflow.ie. See packages, prices information and a full list of activity options for Castlecomer Discovery Park on discoverypark.ie.
Kilkenny has no shortage of castle structures rich in ancient architectural history. You can partake in interior tours of the restored 12th century Kilkenny Castle which is handily located within the city. Over the eight centuries of the castle’s existence, various additions have been made which makes this structure a combination of various eras and architectural styles, and is sure to make for a wondrous day out. For more information see kilkennycastle.ie
Kilkenny Activity Centre
A day of adventure and thrills is guaranteed in the Kilkenny Adventure Centre. Try your hand at archery, splat ball, foot darts and more unique and exciting outdoor activities. Bubble Soccer and Body Bowling are a must, as these unique experiences place you in a giant inflatable ball and allow you to play both sports in a totally authentic way. See kilkennyactivitycentre.ie for more information.
The show cave at the Dunmore caves is sure to make for any eerie but educational day out for both you and your children. This unique hybrid of history and geology will give visitors an insight into one of Kilkenny’s most unique natural landmarks. Consisting of a series of chambers, this cave is a unique and impressive Irish landmark, especially when one learns about the cave’s exciting Viking history. Dunmore Cave, Castlecomer Rd, Co. Kilkenny. Access to cave by guided tour only. Entrance fees are €5.00 for adults, €3.00 for students or children and €4.00 for seniors. Family rate is €13. For more information contact at (056) 776 7726.
The National Reptile Zoo
Kilkenny is home to Ireland’s only dedicated reptile zoo and there are plenty of exotic creatures here for your little ones to get up close and personal with. Alligators, tortoises, tarantulas and lizards are just some of the creepy residents of this tropical centre. One of the centre’s most famous inhabitants is Ireland’s biggest snake, the 17ft python Pearl. The best thing about this zoo is it is entirely indoors meaning it can be experienced at any time of the year. The National Reptile Zoo, Demesne Road, Gowran, Co. Kilkenny. Entrance fees for adults is €9.90 and for children €7.50. Special rates apply for families. See nationalreptilezoo.ie for more information.
Ensure you visit every corner of the city through one of many tour options available. The Kilkenny city road trains are a fun option for young kids but double as being very educational. These train rides commence from Kilkenny Castle and bring you by all of the significant historical landmarks the city. For something a bit spookier, opt for the incredible Kilkenny Ghost Tour. This haunting experience is unique in that each eerie aspect of the tour is based on totally factual disasters from the past. For information on road train tours, see kikennyroadtraintours.com. For other tours see kilkennycitytours.com. For information on the Kilkenny ghost tour, see kilkennyghosttours.com