Kilkenny answers the call for 'authentic tourism experiences'

From falconry to glassblowing, knitting tours to cookery classes - we have the perfect staycation spot here

Kilkenny People

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Kilkenny People

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY

Plan your Kilkenny staycation www.visitkilkenny.ie

Kilkenny is the perfect staycation destination this year, with countless authentic experiences abundant in the city and county.

As tourism reopens all over the country, the tourism experience is constantly evolving to adapt to the ‘new world.’ Now more than ever, visitors are seeking to engage with local traditions and culture and to discover ‘authentic experiences’ that are part of a county’s history. Here,Visit Kilkenny has identified some of its top ‘authentic experiences’ for visitors to enjoy:

Jerpoint Glass Tour

Learn the art of glassblowing at Jerpoint Glass, an Irish handmade glass company and a true family business. Established in 1979 by Keith and Kathleen Leadbetter, together with their small team of glass blowers, they have built Jerpoint into an internationally recognised name. Here you can learn all about their glass makers’ studio, the gallery shop and about a day and a day in the life of an Irish handmade glass company!  Visitors to the studio and shop are welcome to view the glassblowing free of charge during working hours. www.jerpointglass.com 

Falconry at Lyrath Estate

Even before recorded history, our ancestors flew birds of prey. From the steppes of Asia to medieval Europe, from 5000 years ago to the present day, falconry has become a way of life for falconers around the world. A Hawkeye falconry experience will teach you how to fly a trained raptor on the grounds of the Lyrath Estate Kilkenny. The falconry experience is one of the most hands on experiences in Ireland's ancient East. You will have the opportunity to hold and examine these exquisite creatures up close and learn how to beckon the hawk to return to you after it has departed for the trees. You will set off for your Hawk Walk with a Falconer. Here, you will take primary control of the hawk, calling it to your gloved forearm. www.lyrath.com

Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum

The restored Victorian Woodstock Gardens are located in the south east of Kilkenny just outside the picturesque village of Inistioge and are one of Ireland’s finest. The gardens, overlooking the River Nore Valley, offer visitors a wide variety of attractions and are a relaxing and beautiful environment in which to spend a day with a picnic! The gardens are home to a mix of formal and informal gardens with an arboretum, walled garden, terraced garden, yew walk and rose garden. The kids will love the Monkey Puzzle Avenue and Noble Fir Avenue. Also, of interest is a rustic summer house constructed from materials from the garden. Explore Woodstock Gardens this summer! www.woodstock.ie

Cushendale Woollen Mills

Cushendale Woollen Mills is one of the few remaining Irish woollen mills continuing to create quality authentic textiles from the fleece of Irish sheep. Set on the millrace of the River Duiske, since the 1700s the Cushen family have continued to produce high quality Irish-made textile products at their mill in Graiguenamanagh. Cushendale Woollen Mills offer a unique experience to see one of Ireland’s oldest working woollen mills where you will learn about Graiguenamanagh’s link with wool since 1204, Their family history since early 1800s, Their unique process and see an 1900s spinning mule still in operation. Mill Tours are run weekly. Price is €7 per person and must be pre-booked.www.cushendale.ie

Castlecomer Craft Village

Just 20 minutes outside Kilkenny City, situated in Castlecomer Discovery Park the Castlecomer Craft Yard, is an entire hub of creativity and home to a growing number of crafts people and resident artisans helping to preserve Ireland’s heritage. Lovingly making and selling authentic, handmade goods, enjoy watching traditional techniques in glass-blowing, pottery, stone chiselling and jewellery making, before picking up some unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to bring home. www.discoverypark.ie

Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience

For all GAA lovers, immerse yourself in the history of Ireland's oldest sport at the Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience. A ticket to the experience includes learning the basic skills of hurling and a chance to watch the craftsmanship of hurley making. www.kilkennyway.com

Fred Malzard Pub & Hurling Experience

A great pub located in Stoneyford, Kilkenny that offers the best craic and great music. Fred Malzards offers a traditional Irish Pub experience, with traditional Irish instruments available for you to play, or sing along with the local musicians in the bar. Learn how to hurl: in a relaxed, fun environment, learn all about Ireland’s ancient Gaelic game of hurling with neighbours, young and old. www.malzards.com

Zwartables Knitting Tours

Zwartables Ireland is a sheep farm in County Kilkenny run by Suzanna Crampton. Suzanna cares for her flock of Zwartbles sheep on the family farm’s small green fields in the River Nore Valley. This modest acreage has been in her mother’s family for 7 generations. Zwartbles are elegant tall black sheep that have unique white blazes from poll to muzzle, two to four short white socks and white-tipped tails. By appointment only; you can visit the farm by the banks of the river Nore, meeting the Zwartbles sheep and Alpaca that guard the flock, that provide the wool and fleece which is spun into yarn. They also have a small farm shop selling Zwartbles and Alpaca yarn and Zwartbles blankets.zwartblesireland.com

Cookery Class with Edward Hayden

Foodies can’t go past mouth-watering treats, cookery demonstrations, hands on tuition, private dining functions and workshops with Kilkenny’s array of Cookery schools. Celebrity Chef Edward Hayden is at the helm of his new Cookery School in Graiguenamanagh. The courses range in theme and will suit all levels of culinary proficiency. All of the courses will include new and fresh ideas, for you to re-create at home, using easy to source ingredients. Starting in September so ideal for an off peak break in Kilkenny. www.edwardentertains.com

Cake Face Picnic Baskets

Kilkenny’s Cake Face patisserie offers a unique and quirky range of artisan breads, gourmet sambos, sweet treats and desserts. The brainchild of pastry chef duo Laura & Rory Gannon, their creations specialise in the unexpected, and are sure to delight and impress the foodie in you. And now, for just €30, a gourmet picnic basket allows you to take a selection of their finest edibles to make the most of Kilkenny’s idyllic picnic spots! www.cakeface.ie

“Visitors are now searching for authentic experiences and the ability to immerse themselves in the local culture," says Brian Tyrrell, Chairperson of Kilkenny Tourism.

"They are looking to combine the traditional tourism experience with something special that takes them off the beaten track. From crafts, cooking to sporting experiences, Kilkenny offers a huge variety of authentic experiences for the culturally curious and those wanting a genuine way of engaging with local Kilkenny people and our traditions.”

Plan your Kilkenny staycation www.visitkilkenny.ie