Hey Guys, happy Wednesday!
I headed to Kilkenny for a press trip to experience just some of what the city has to offer. The focus of this trip was to explore the city’s boutiques, as Kilkenny is known as a top shopping destination.
Some of you might be surprised to hear that it was actually my first time in Kilkenny and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
In this blog post, I will include everything, from my accommodation to tours to what I wore.
My sister and I stayed in the Pembroke Hotel which is situated on Patrick Street, Kilkenny’s most exclusive street, right in the centre of a city rich in medieval heritage, just minutes from the main shopping areas, entertainment, tourist attractions and Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile. We spent the weekend sightseeing and visiting the fabulous boutiques so it was just perfect for us!
Our room was really spacious and had all the essential amenities, such as ironing board, hair dryer, coffee machine and complementary Wi-Fi. The staff were also friendly and happy to help and answer any questions that we had throughout our stay. We had a yummy breakfast in the hotel each morning and we were spoilt for choice. It was a really pleasant two nights and would definitely consider this hotel for my next stay in Kilkenny.
On the first day to Kilkenny, I hit the ground running and went straight for a coffee, in the ever so cute Mocha Vintage Tea Rooms. The Mocha’s Vintage Tea rooms is set amongst charming surroundings of French vintage decor offering a relaxing ambiance to enjoy freshly made baked goods, a healthy lunch or delicious dinner. I opted for a scrumptious homemade lemon drizzle scone and an Americano and it was exactly what the doctor ordered after my long drive.
After my little break I headed off again to tour the grounds of Kilkenny castle, I opted for the self-tour of the castle and I really enjoyed it. Kilkenny Castle stands dramatically on a strategic height that commands a crossing on the River Nore and dominates the ‘High Town’ of Kilkenny City. Over the eight centuries of its existence, many additions and alterations have been made to the fabric of the building, making Kilkenny Castle today a complex structure of various architectural styles. A tour of the castle and its grounds are definitely must.
I then hopped on the train tour of Kilkenny, this was very sweet and I learned lots about the city while driving around the little narrow streets, listening to our audio tour guide and some traditional Irish music. The whole tour only lasted about 30 mins but it was definitely worth doing as there was lots to hear and see, from Canices Cathedral, St Francis Abbey Brewery and the Old Court House,. If you have kids this would also be a great one to do and I think they would really enjoy the experience. This little tour costs only €7.50.
On day two of our stay we did the Smithwicks Experience. This one I had heard so much about and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The price of a standard ticket (approx. €15) includes a fully guided tour of Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny. A local guide gives the tour, which lasts approximately 1 hour, we enjoyed an interactive surprising experiences along the way! At the end of your tour, we were treated to three glasses of the different types of Smithwick’s Ale. I must say this tour was a really enjoyable one and one in which I would highly recommend.
On the same day, I also visited the Kilkenny Design Centre, where we were surprised with a lovely afternoon tea, with a delightful selection of sweet cakes. The Kilkenny Design Centre is part of Kilkenny’s Castle Yard, built in the 1780s by the Butlers, Earls of Ormonde, as the coach houses and stables of historic Kilkenny Castle. After our yummy tea we got a tour by the lovely Roisin, who showed us around the beautiful grounds and design centre. I was even kindly gifted with some of the lovely gifts available in the Kilkenny design centre.. Lucky me!
Shops & Boutiques
If you follow me on Instagram and snapchat you will have seen that I visited a number of shops and boutiques.I was absolutely delighted by the variety of amazing boutiques there were in Kilkenny. I was spoilt for choice. Every boutique had its own unique style with an amazing array of dressy and casual pieces to suit everyone. I was blown away by the variety. Not only was the stock fabulous but the owners were so friendly, helpful and obliging.
My most favourite thing to do is search for endless hours around boutiques and finding those hidden little gems especially as I’m always on the lookout for something that little bit different. Kilkenny City has plenty of this; the fashion boutiques are dotted along many of the side streets, but specifically on St. Kieran Street which is dubbed by many “The boutique street”. I visited four incredible stores, all run by lovely ladies.
I tried on many looks from all the boutiques and you will see below what I mean when I say they really are brilliant!
Here are some of the boutiques and shops I visited.
This boutique, run by the lovely Cathy O’Connor, hence the name of her boutique (38 Kieran St – Cathy O’Connor) is one of the newest boutiques on the street, offering customers a cool, vintage inspired looks. Cathy stocks a remarkable collection of handbags, jewellery and accessories that include Rebekah Millinery and Cathy’s own brand 38CO. Cathy has years of experience as a fashion buyer and with her eclectic eye she hand picks her own pieces to make this boutique very quirky and unique.
At the bottom of St. Kieran’s Street on the corner of High Street is Lady Lorna Designer Emporium, when you walk in you are instantly hit with the beautiful monochrome décor. The boutique is run by the lovely Lorna, which is a haven of unique pieces and is particularly popular by those who are in need of a special something for the races, weddings and special occasions, as well as some lovely casual dressy pieces. I had such a lovely time getting to know Lorna while playing dress up in her store. When I was leaving after my one hour visit, I felt I knew her a lifetime! Lorna also stocks a large range of fabulous Irish millinery pieces and a huge array of jewellery.
Spotted in the middle of St Kieran Street is the ever so elegant MiMi Boutique. Edel the owner has great eye and has a large collection of evening wear to casual classics, elegant, comfortable and affordable designs, whatever the occasion. I was in my element here spotting brands I had never come across before and even bought myself a very pretty dress for the summer racing season!
A very pretty shop spotted on the top of St Kieran Street and stands out with its pink shop front. Andrea the boutique owner was very friendly and helpful. This stunning boutique is a one stop shop to suit all occasions from casual chic to the special occasion and I particularly fell in love with one brand which you will see from my pictures below!
Not only does Kilkenny have a beautiful array of boutiques but they also have some remarkable little trinket shops and a really charming perfumery.
Butterslip is owned by a lovely lady called Anne and is situated on a bright and sunny corner of Rose Inn Street. Butterslip stocks an assortment of many brilliant fun and exciting possessions, such as cute note books, fabulous jewellery, party accessories, pretty umbrella’s. It is certainly a one stop shop if you are looking for that perfect gift or somethings that little bit different. I could have browsed around Butterslip all day!
The Valley of Roses visit was certainly something a little different for me but I really enjoyed the experience. This is a unique place where you create your own signature scent and find the perfect perfume in the huge collection; including the hottest brands on the high street. Andriana explained all about what she had to offer and even created beautiful signature scents for both myself and my sister. I cannot wait to use them!
I was fortune enough to try on many of Kilkenny’s fabulous eateries. Such as;
- Petronella Restaurant which is located on Butterslip lane and it is quite the hidden gem. Expect a relaxed dining experience seeped in history and charm. Their menu has a lot of choice from of Irish, European and Vegetarian cuisine. I opted for the early bird menu, with salmon to start, staying with my roots I had the Silverhill duck as a main and the homemade sticky toffee pudding for dessert, all washed down with a lovely bottle of bubbly. I know how bold of me!! Frank the proprietor was most welcoming and even gave me a little bit of insight into how the restaurant got its name. If you are visiting Kilkenny any time soon, I would certainly recommend dropping by, you won’t be disappointed.
- Kilkenny River Court Hotel is overlooking the city’s 12-century castle. It is the ideal setting for a lunch break whilst enjoying the views of Kilkenny castle and the River Nore. My sister and I enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch here during the sunny weather and were able to sit out on the terrace area, which is located on the water’s edge. For lunch we both opted for a nice light ceaser salad and a cheeky glass of prosecco before heading off on the Smithwicks experience.
- Truffles Restaurant nestled in the heart of Kilkenny which prepares a delightful mix of European cuisine. It is prepared using modern French cooking techniques with an Italian hint. Truffles also provides an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu. For my meal I selected the crab salad to start, the roast duck for main (again I know!) and the delicious chocolate marquise for dessert. Yet again another fabulous restaurant for you guys to try out.
- Harpers Restaurant is located in the heart of Kilkenny City and Harpers brings casual urban dining and a stylish urban dining to Kilkenny’s thriving culinary landscape. Harpers is where we had lunch on our last day and when we entered we were welcomed with warm professional staff. Before hitting the long 3.5 hour journey home, I opted for a hearty beef burger which was served with caramelised onion, smoked Bacon, white Cheddar, brioche bun and of course some home cut chips. What more could a girl ask for!
- To finish the trip we popped into Murphy’s ice cream for a little treat in the sun.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about my little trip to Kilkenny, as much as I enjoyed the experience. A huge thank you to Kilkenny Tourism for making this trip on to remember. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Kilkenny!
I will be doing a follow on post which will include all the details and links to what I wore.
Thanks for reading,
Rebecca Rose Xx
** This Trip was sponsored by Kilkenny Tourism **