Kilkenny, County Kilkenny

Ireland's most perfect medieval town is packed with fascinating sites. Best place to start is Kilkenny Castle, opposite the Kilkenny Design Centre. The castle was built over eight centuries ago. For 550 years, the Anglo-Norman Butler family lived here and their way of life in medieval times is recreated, together with life in the 19th-century when the castle became a Victorian country house. The drawing room is preserved as it was, as is the Long Gallery with its fine Carrara marble fireplace. Outside, the park has also been restored. Audio-visual presentation.

In Kilkenny's main Parliament Street, Rothe House, built between 1594 and 1610, is now a museum. The collection includes furniture, pictures, costumes, and many local curiosities, including old musical instruments and details of the first ever Irish aeronautical patent, taken out in 1856.

St Canice's Cathedral (Church of Ireland), at the foot of the Main Street, is one of Ireland's finest churches. Its library has about 3,000 books printed in the 16th and 17th centuries, while the top of the round tower, beside the cathedral, is the best vantage point for an overview of this historic city.

Kilkenny Castle: Admission charge.
Open daily.
Tea room.

Rothe House: Admission charge.

St Canice's Cathedral: Open daily, all year.