It’s that time of the year again! Beautiful Christmas decoration enlightens the streets of Kilkenny and the shops are full of lovely gifts and sweet treats for the festive days. While it’s getting colder and colder outside, our hostel gets even more warm and cozy everyday. As it’s finally the time to use our fireplace again, it’s no surprise that our sitting room is the most favorite place in our hostel of every guest these days. There is nothing better than sitting down with a cup of coffee by the fireplace and having a chat with all the other travelers and guests in our hostel.
It’s the first weekend of December and with that the Christmas time has officially begun. Next to the castle which is glowing in beautiful lights right now, there is another attraction in Kilkenny that is being visited by Christmas fans from all over the world: the Butler House Christmas Garden! It transforms in the afternoon as light installations come to life. Enjoy a nice walk with magical atmosphere while discovering for example beautiful reindeer, a skating snowman and Santa’s magic postbox.
And if it’s too cold for you – no worries, there is free tea in our kitchen to warm you up after a walk through Kilkenny’s Winter Wonderland.
Sullivan’s Brewing Company opened their doors in 1702 on James Street and began brewing a red ale that is characteristic of Kilkenny. They were in effect Kilkenny’s first real commercial brewery and considered the forerunners of the world famous Smithwicks. However, the Sullivan’s brewery had a few hiccups along the way.
There was a fire at the brewery site in October 1880 that proved far too much for the volunteer fire brigade at the time. It was only by the community rallying together and carrying water in whatever they had that the brewery saved.
Then, in August 1918, the then Master Sullivan made a bet with a rival Venetian Count at a racecourse in Deauville, France. After his horse lost spectacularly Master Sullivan was forced to pay up and the brewery went bust in the space of a year.
With the last working brewery closing its doors in 2013 there was an empty space in Kilkenny waiting to be filled with independent craft breweries. In 2016, the Smithwick family and the direct descendents of the Sullivan family came together to reopen the Sullivan’s brewery here in Kilkenny.
Sullivan’s Taproom is on John street Kilkenny and is open everyday at midday. They serve ale and excellent wood fired pizzas. Sullivan’s Maltings Red Ale is described as “A classic ruby ale with deep malt combining rich biscuit and gentle caramel notes”. It was awarded ‘The Best Ale in The World” award at The International Brewing Awards.
For more info check Sullivan’s out here
And if you fancy a pizza and a pint after hiring a bike and cycling around the gorgeous Kilkenny countryside then http://kilkennycyclingtours.com are right next door to Sullivan’s. Special bike hire rate for Hostel Guests is 15 Euro per day 🙂
Brilliant news!!! All children U12 now enjoy free entry to some of the most amazing heritage sites in Ireland. Bring the kids to Kilkenny Castle, Dunmore Caves and Jerpoint Abbey and pay no admission fee.
Plus there are loads of other OPW sites all over Ireland for the kids to enjoy for free like Newgrange, The Rock of Cashel, and Killmainham Goal. Check them all out here.
A visit to Kells Priory is great at anytime of the year but especially in the summer when guided tours are available Wednesday – Sunday inclusive
09.30 – 17.00
Not to be confused with Kells in Meath where the famous “Book of Kells” was kept for centuries, Kilkenny’s Kells is still a very impressive medieval monument. It is a National Monument and is in the guardianship of the Office of Public Works. A priory originally built by the Augustine monks in 1193, Kells lies 15km south of Kilkenny City and encompasses a site just over 3 acres. At first glance one could be forgiven for thinking that Kells looks more like a fortress than a church. This was due to it being attacked and burned three times in its early days (1252, 1326 & 1327).
In 1324 the Bishop of Ossory made a Lenten visit to the priory. During his visit Alice Kyteler and William Outlawe were ordered to stand before the bishop and answer charges of witchcraft. The Lord of Kells was a friend of Outlawe and imprisoned the Bishop in Kilkenny Castle for 17 days. This caused a great scandal and, upon the Bishop’s release, the servant girl of Dame Alice Kyteler (Petronella de Meath) was burned at the stake. Alice Kyteler herself escaped to England and never returned to Kilkenny. This was Ireland’s first ever witch hunt.
There were over 20,000 archaeological finds discovered at Kells ranging from stone carvings and metal objects to painted glass windows. Kell’s Priory remains one of the best examples of a medieval priory in Ireland today and is a must see for any visitor to county Kilkenny.
Rothe House is a merchant townhouse built in the English Renaissance style by John Rothe Fitz-Piers between 1594 and 1610. It is one of Kilkenny’s top tourist attractions with three seperate houses, three courtyards and a rear garden and orchard. Rothe House is the only remaining example of its type in Ireland and considered a wonderful relic of post-medieval Ireland. Its condition is perfect as its been virtually unaltered since its original construction.
The Rothe Family were merchants who were also involved in the politics of Kilkenny. The wife of John Rothe was from another powerful family called “The Archers” who built “The Hole in the Wall” Tudor house. Rothe house was confiscated after Charles I defeat in England due to the family’s involvement in the confederation of Kilkenny. It was returned to the Rothe family following the restoration of Charles II.
The museum at Rothe House contains many important artefacts and hitorical records pertaining to the city of Kilkenny and its history. Its rear garden was reconstructed to reflect a typical 17thcentury garden. Rothe House is on Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile and is a must see for any visitor to the city. It also happens to be right across the road from the Kilkenny Tourist Hostel 😉
The Hole in the Wall is Kilkenny’s oldest surviving townhouse. It is actually the inner house of what was once a much bigger Tudor mansion. Built in 1582 it has a long and interesting history. For its first few years of existence it was the home of the Archer family (after whom the upper room of the tavern is now named) but that changed in 1654 after the invasion of Oliver Cromwell. The Archer family lost everything they owned and the house became part of the estate of the Duke of Ormonde in 1660. At around this time the inner house was separated from the High Street mansion and both were let independent of one another. In order to gain access to the High Street from the inner house a hole had to be made in the wall hence the name.
Turn to the late 1700s and The Hole in the Wall has achieved a fine reputation as a supper-house. It was frequented by many famous people of the time including The Earl of Ormonde, Henry Grattan, Sir Jonah Barrington and Captain Arthur Wesley (who would eventually become the Duke of Wellington). Sadly, it later developed a bad reputation due to highwaymen, duels, etc and this led to its downturn and eventual demise.
Restoration work began in 1999 and took 10 years to complete. It contains original flagstones, 16th century oak floors, oak rafters, a wonderful fireplace and many other delightful features. Its downstairs tavern is rustic and definitely something to experience. The Archer Room upstairs houses small concerts, poetry and theater.
For more info please visit www.holeinthewall.ie
An awful lot of people are unaware (even local Kilkenians) that on the 1st Wednesday of every month The office of Public Work (OPW) offer free entry to their sites for everyone. These includes Kilkenny Castle, Dunmore caves, and Jerpoint Abbey in Thomasown.
Jerpoint Abbey is a beautifully kept and well aged example of a typical Irish 12th century monastery. So well aged it was declared a national monument in 1880. It was constructed in 1180 by the King of Ossory and belonged to the Cistercian order of monks. The ruins are very extensive and contain beautiful stone carvings dating from the 12th century right through to the 16th century.
Jerpoint Abbey is perfect place to visit in the lovely county Kilkenny countryside. Why not make a day trip out of it and explore the villages of Bennettsbridge and Inistioge too.
And if you’re not going to be in Kilkenny on the 1st Wednesday of the month here’s a heads up as to the other great sites you can visit for free all over Ireland www.heritageireland.ie
Everyone knows Kilkenny is famous for its ale and its distinctive brewing style. The Smithwick’s Experience has become one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions. People love seeing the original brewery site that pumped out the red stuff from 1706 to 2014. Smithwicks is now brewed at St. James’ Gate in Dublin but still remains a household name in most of Ireland.
However, not everyone has heard of Costello’s. Costello’s is an up and coming name among ale drinkers in Kilkenny and in the rest of Ireland too. They’re an independent, small craft brewery started in 2014 by Gerald Costello. Their ethos is very much built around supporting local industry and keeping local craft brewing alive.
For those who are curious; “Costello’s is a bright, easy drinking red ale with notes of caramel sweetness and traditional bittering hops brewed for a slightly dry finish to leave the taste buds asking for more”. That’s according to the folks down at Costello’s who had the grand opening of their new brewery last Saturday 27th of May. Not bad for a small company who were renting a brewery in Kildare when they started off.
For more information please visit http://www.costellosbrewco.ie
Every year the June bank holiday weekend brings yet another festival to Kilkenny, the Cat Laughs festival is filled with not just Irish Comedians but a huge line up of Internationally well-known acts.
The festival has grown from small beginnings to what is now one of Europes largest comedy festivals. This years line up has huge ages like Dara O’Briain, Tommy Tiernan, Rich Hall and loads more. The festival is on through out pubs, hotels, and venues here. If the weather stays well it really will be the perfect weekend in Kilkenny!
Tickets are available here.
We all love music here in Kilkenny and once again this April we were in for a treat. The Kilkenny Rosts Festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary, over 5 days we were treated to more than 100 gigs through out different genres, 75 of these were free! (Who doesn’t love a free concert?) The atmosphere of Kilkenny was incredible for the 5 days, the lineup this year left no one unhappy with the likes of David Kitt, Yola Carter and Chip Taylor staying.
Over the years we have had impressive artists like Ryan Adams and Ray LaMontagne, and we only imagine its going to get better, so if your looking for a good music festival in a medieval town, you know where to go next time around!
We love our customized mural of Kilkenny that’s painted on the wall at our Reception and so do all our guests judging by how many photos are taken of it and all the comments made about how cool it is . So that got us thinking..why don’t we print postcards and give them out free to our lovely guests. Some people keep them as a souvenir and others send them back home to their friends and family. The unique thing about this postcard is that it is customized according to all our favourite things to see and do in Kilkenny. It has great little depictions of our best liked places to eat, drink and party plus all the great attractions on offer in our medieval city. Chances are if you stayed with us you’ll have visited loads of these places! Did you check out The Hole in the Wall for instance..well it’s there on the map! Did you climb the Round Tower at St Canice’s Cathedral..it’s there too. How about the Monday night Traditional Music session in Cleeres pub..check it out just opposite the Hostel.
Want your very own Postcard of all the great things Kilkenny has to offer, one that’s illustrated in a cool quirky style by artist Fuchsia MacAree? Then pick one up for free here at the Hostel Reception and send it on it’s journey around the world #WishYouWereHere!
Do you know we have Free Tea and Coffee in the Hostel Kitchen for you to enjoy anytime of the day (or night)?
There’s tasty Irish Tea, Instant Coffee (if you’re in a hurry!) or best of all there’s delicious Ground Coffee to use in the stovetop Expresso Maker or Cafetiere. That way you can start the day with a rich, strong, full bodied caffeine shot to put a pep in your step and set you up right for a day of sightseeing. Or you can relax in the sitting room with a good book by the open fire and a lovely warm cup of Irish Tea. There’s nothing like it! Of course there’s sugar too if you want it sweet and cold milk in the fridge.
Now we know Coffee lovers are Expresso making aficionados and they know their way around using the tools of the trade. For others however the Stovetop Expresso maker is a puzzling thing. How does it work? Where do you put the ground coffee? What do you do with it then? Check this little video for the low down on how to get a great cup of coffee:
There are all kinds of people who stay in Hostels, backgrounds vary as do nationality, age and reason for being in a particular place at a particular time. We thought it would be nice to give a snapshot of the people who are staying with us, why they are here and how they have found the Hostel experience.
First up is Conor who is 21 years old and from Dublin and is studying zoology at University College Cork. Conor is staying for 7 weeks while he works as an intern at the Reptile Village in the lovely little village of Gowran in County Kilkenny. He cycles the 30km round trip each day and his work placement involves feeding the animals, cleaning cages, giving tours, handling animals and more cleaning! On the day we chatted he was getting the snakes ready to be taken on a road trip to be filmed by an Irish TV station. This involved packing into boxes 2 Burmese Pythons, 3 Boa Constrictors, a Carpet Python that tried to bite and a slippery Anna Conda. One of the highlights of his placement has been giving tours to kids.
Conor describes The Reptile Village as 6000 square feet of teeth and claws! In their own words here’s the low down on what the Reptile Village do:
We are Ireland’s only Reptile Zoo, displaying snakes, lizards, tortoise, turtles, crocodiles, alligators, caiman, spiders, scorpions, frogs, salamanders and more. Reptile Village offers an interactive experience where you can get a little closer and even handle some of our animals!
Be sure to visit when you come to Kilkenny.
Check them out here www.reptilevillage.net
And how has Conor found the Hostel Experience?
In his own words “excellent” Aww thanks Conor! He said he’s enjoyed meeting people hanging out with some French Canadians in particular and having great chats with Missy, one of our American guests who lived in Cuba for years.
And what next for Conor once the work placement is finished? He would love love love to secure a full time job at the Reptile Village after he finishes his final year in college. Hopefully we will see him back in Kilkenny very soon.
So delighted to be announced as one of the winners of this years IEDR Optimise fund and to be awarded 10,000 Euros worth of professional consultancy, training and website development courtesy of the good people at IEDR (Irish Domain Name Registry).
According to the announcement by IEDR each of the 15 winners:
will receive tailored e-commerce advice, strategies and practical support to begin upgrading their online presence or e-commerce functionality. The winning companies will be better placed to utilise the Internet’s 24 hour sales and marketing channel to gain a competitive advantage in today’s online marketplace.
We are super excited to start working with IEDR and to develop a new website and have a fantastic online presence
Congratulating this year’s OPTIMISE winners, Mr. David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry, said: “Ireland has a terrific brand in the .ie domain name and it’s imperative that Irish businesses use it to fulfil their potential online, which means embracing e-commerce technologies. With the OPTIMISE Fund, IEDR wants to help Irish small businesses achieve growth online. We know that companies in Ireland remain slow to capitalise on the Internet as a sales channel, and that small companies often need a helping hand to do so. I congratulate this year’s winners and look forward to helping them fulfil their enormous online potential with the OPTIMISE Fund.”
I am Astrid de Nogaret from France and I am an intern in Kilkenny Tourist Hostel. I am doing communication and promotion of Kilkenny Tourist Hostel.
Today, I would like to talk to you about my experience in Kilkenny City and in Kilkenny Tourist Hostel for 2 months now. Kikenny City is a very brilliant city to live a cultural experience, and meet a lot of people.
Indeed, in Kilkenny City you will discover a lot of interesting places. Kilkenny City is a medevial city where you will able to visit, among others, her famous castle, her famous St Canice’s cathedral, her many churchs, and her famous Smithwicks Brewery.
In the evening, there are many pubs in Kilkenny City to spend a really good time, listening to traditionnal irish music, watching an irish dance demonstration, tasting famous Smithwicks beer with an irish meal, and meeting Irish people so proud of their country and their traditions.
Kilkenny Tourist Hostel is a really nice place for meeting a lot of travellers from different countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany, USA, Australia, Canada … You could discuss together in living room to share your different experiences of your trip in Ireland, and discover Kilkenny City together as well.
Don’t be afraid of opening the Kilkenny Tourist Hostel’s door, you will leave Kilkenny City with a lot of memories.
This view of Smithwicks Brewery from Kilkenny Tourist Hostel is soon to be a thing of the past. After 300 years of making Smithwicks in Kilkenny the brewing of this rudy red ale has been relocated to Dublin.
Not all is lost however as the Smithwick’s Experience has opened in Parliament street (just a few doors up from us!) Promising to immerse the visitor in the brewing experience, recount the brewing tradition from its medieval monastic origins to the arrival of the Smithwicks family and the ensuing 300+ years, and of course provide a taste of Kilkenny’s finest pint.
Brewery Tours operate 7 days a week, are over an hour in duration and run regularly throughout the day. There’s loads of interactive elements to the tour so even the kids should be entertained. Brought to you by the same good people who run The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin we are really looking forward to the Smithwick’s Experience being an authentic, enjoyable and exciting look at Kilkenny proud brewing tradition.
If you also want to see how an arts collective are marking the end of brewing Smithwicks in Kilkenny check “The Brewery Project” on facebook.
Happy Feet host a Swing Dance Club in Kilkenny every Wednesday evening at the Left Bank Bar on the High street in Kilkenny
If you fancy learning how to swing, jive, lindy hop and jitterbug then it’s the place to be. You can go on your own or with friends, you can be a complete beginner or an experienced dancer. The music is great too and the atmopshere is fun and relaxed.
Here’s what Happy Feet have to say about the night:
Learn the fun and exciting vintage dances of the jazz age, socialise exercise and enjoy the music.
Dance classes followed by social dancing to dj’s and live bands
9 pm : Beginners class, the no partner required drop in beginners class is a relaxed and fun introduction to swing dancing. we will take you from never danced before to social dancing with anyone in one class
10 pm : Social dancing, practice your moves or just come an enjoy the live music from swingin bluecats
8 Pm : Improvers class, learn the secrets to lindy hop, balboa, blues and east coast swing and prepare for the dance trance.
Check this for inspiration:
We think it’s a brilliant way to spend an evening in Kilkenny. Why not come back for the Kilkenny Roots Festival every May Bank Holiday weekend and show off your moves on the dance floor
The painters have been hard at work giving the exterior of Kilkenny Tourist Hostel a new look. We’ve changed the colour to a lovely soft grey which we think looks amazing with the red windows and the big red door. Of course we wouldn’t ever change the colour of the entrance as all the locals in Kilkenny know us as the Hostel with the red door. It makes it handy if any guests get a little bit lost when looking for us and ask the advice of someone they happen to meet along the way
Our big red door definitely stands out. Indeed it’s a feature of Georgian architecture (mid 18th to mid 19th century) that these doors were painted bold colours and adorned with brass fixtures, knobs and knockers. The fanlights overhead also let sunlight in to illuminate the hallways of these grand houses. There are lots of examples of grand Georgian houses with brightly coloured doors in Kilkenny as well as places like Merrion Square in Dublin. Why not come see for yourself?
We know it’s important when you’re travelling to have somewhere safe to keep all your valuables so you can leave your stuff in the Hostel and go out and about exploring the town. Different Hostels have different set ups when it comes to where you can do this and how much it’s going to cost you.
Our Hostel Lockers are shiny and brand new and come in different sizes so you can put things like documents or phones in the small ones, laptops or daypacks in the medium sized ones or bigger bags in the larger ones.
And best of all they are free to use!! You just need to bring your own padlock with you or you can purchase or hire one from our Reception.
What an amazing ariel photograph of Kilkenny Castle and park in all its glory. You can really get a feel for the scale of this majestic building and how it sits above the river Nore and occupies such an commanding position in the ancient city of Kilkenny. The Castle dates back to the 12th Century and looking at the photograph you trace the different architectural styles employed in the Castle’s remodelling and extensions since the 1300s. These changes marked the Castle’s transformation from a medieval fortress to a grand and lavish home.
Surrounding Kilkenny Castle is the Castle Park which is 50 acres of formal gardens, parkland, walking tracks, woodland, ponds and playgrounds. It’s a really nice place to wander around on a sunny day or to sit and read, lay around or eat lunch.
In the forefront of the photograph you can see a glimpse of the old Castle stables that are now known as The Design Centre, and house craft workshops, a lovely emporium selling Irish crafts and wares, a cafe and the National Craft Gallery of Ireland.
It’s Record Store day this coming Saturday April 19th and that means heading down to your favourite music shop to buy limited editions, new releases or classics, and join in the fun with fellow music lovers. Here in Kilkenny Rollercoaster Records on Kieran street is flying the flag for independent Record Stores and has some great live music lined up to add to the celebratory atmosphere. With the promise of limited edition vinyl in store we can’t wait to get there early and check it out.
Yay! There’s a new kid on the block when it comes to Summer Festivals in Ireland and this one is looking decidedly brilliant.
Situated in the picturesque surrounds of Shankill Castle in Paulstown County Kilkenny the Light Colour Sound Festival promises quality music from loads of amazing Irish musicians, bands and Djs plus a few international acts thrown in for good measure. The vibe looks relaxed, friendly and very welcoming. What could be better on a lazy Irish summer weekend than strolling through beautiful Castle grounds, hanging out with friends, eating delicious food, having a few drinks and listening to great sounds! And whilst there is camping available onsite it’s also an an easy peasy commute from Kilkenny city to Paulstown if you wanna sleep comfy in a bed in our cosy Hostel.
Here’s what the Festival organisers have to say about the Light Colur Sound Festival and why you should come:
What’s your dream of summer?
Dancing under dappled green, great music pumping up your tempo, old friends, new faces, Irish, wellie-stomping weather, campfires fueling wild conversation?
Or something more refined maybe?
Strolls through formal gardens, fine seasonal dining, literature, craft workshops, open debate,campfires settling to embers warming the days’ memories?
Light Colour Sound is a brand new festival. Set amongst the beautiful grounds of Shankill castle in Co Kilkenny we are aiming to select the best of entertainment for you.
Check out all the details here:
Here’s some of our favourite words to describe Kilkenny and why we think its such a great place to visit
Cleeres is definitely one of our favourite pubs in Kilkenny.
It’s cosy, comfortable, has an old school vibe and is a great place to relax and have a pint or 3… plus Cleeres is just across the road from us in Parliament street..you can’t get more local than that!
Every Monday night there is a mighty Traditional Music Session beloved by locals and visitors alike. This is the longest running Traditional Music Session in Kilkenny taking place every Monday night for over 20 years and there’s always plenty of stories, tunes, songs and sing alongs. There is also an open Traditional session on Wednesday nights where anyone can join in and play a few tunes.
Cleeres recognise great music and the intimate little venue out the back has played host to some amazing world class musicians from home and abroad and some top quality gigs and Theatre. Your friendly Hostel Staff have been there many nights and enjoyed the music, the atmosphere and the friendly crowds.
Last but not least Cleeres do an Amazing daytime Soup and Sandwich menu that hands down is the best in Kilkenny. There are always 6 or 7 delicious Soups to choose from that definitely keep everyone happy (especially the vegetarians)..think Mushroom and Port, Broccoli Pear & Bluecheese, Parsnip Cumin & Almond, Cajun Red Bean Stewp to name but a few. Plus there are delicious Doorstep Sandwiches with tasty fillings and a basket full of condiments to choose from. ♥
And the Pints are pretty good too!
If you fancy a night out in Kilkenny that doesn’t involve going to a Pub then attending a screening of one of Kilkenny Film Club’s quality offerings might be just perfect for you.
Kilkenny Film Club is a non profit organisation that aims to bring independent, art house, foreign and not on general release films to audiences in Kilkenny and offer an alternative to mainstream cinema viewing. There is a good mix of Classic and newer films all expertly chosen and diverse in subject matter.
The Set Theatre is the venue for the film screenings and it offers plush comfy seats, drinks, a state of the art sound system and a massive big screen that really enhances the viewing experience.
Films run fortnightly on Tuesdays at 8pm and a single admission for non members is 8 Euro.
Next week’s offering is the excellent Beasts of the Southern Wild much beloved by your friendly Hostel Staff.
Here’s what Kilkenny Film Club have to say about it:
In a forgotten bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, six-year-old Hushpuppy (Wallis) lives a semi-feral life of freedom. When a storm floods the area she sets off with her sick father on a mission to reclaim their land. Beasts of the Southern Wild is an extraordinary film, a wondrously weird slice of Cajun magic realism, exploding with energy and colour. One of the cinematic highlights of 2012, beautiful, funny and tender
It’s safe to say we’re expecting great things this year from Kilkenny Roots our favourite little festival in Kilkenny and if past years are anything to go by we’re sure we won’t be disappointed. The music has always been so great, the vibe nice and relaxed, and the fellow music lovers chilled out and friendly.
If you’re looking to spend a relaxed weekend in Kilkenny wandering from pub to pub and venue to venue taking in some of the best in Americana, low fi, and Roots music then make sure to visit us on May 3rd to 5th.
You’ll be treated to John Grant, Phosphorescent, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Chuck Prophet, Ha Ha Tonka and Angel Olsen among many others. And..there’s loads of free gigs too..it doesn’t get any better than this
Here’s a preview..tickets are on sale now!
Stretching up to the heavens these 3 amazing churches in Kilkenny have been places of worship for centuries.
The first picture shows expertly crafted stained glass windows diffusing colourful light into the quiet and peaceful surrounds of the Black Abbey church in Abbey street.
The middle photo is of St Marys Church from the vantage point of Rose Inn street in Kilkenny just by Sid Harkins Pub. We think it’s a particularly beautiful shot.
The last photo shows the vaulted ceilings and carved stone interiors of Kilkenny’s magnificent St Canices Cathedral. No visit to Kilkenny is complete without a visit to this amazing place.
Fancy learning the fine Art of pre Christmas Shopping?
December 1st is the day the Kilkenny Arts Office hosts an indoor Art and Craft Market where talented local artists sell unique and interesting creations at affordable prices in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
It’s a perfect place to get some one off Christmas presents for loved ones..anything from ceramics, printed t shirts, jewellery, fine Art prints and ornaments, and the best part is you’ll be helping to foster local talent! Wanna be a mini Medici and be a patron of the Arts..well you can be!
Plus there’ll be tasty treats on sale to munch on while you wander around or to take home and enjoy later.
The last Market held a few years back was a thoroughly enjoyable day and your friendly Hostel staff even bagged themselves some gorgeous pressies to give to family and friends on Christmas day.
Here’s the heads up from the Arts Office:
On Saturday 1st December Kilkenny County Council Arts Office will host THE market, an event certainly not to be missed. For one day only Kilkenny County Council Arts Office will play host to a number of amazing artists, illustrators and makers who will be selling exceptional, original, unique, quirky, and exquisite creations. Our range will include jewellery, ceramics, paintings and drawings, t-shirts, fine art prints, origami accessories, pill boxes, crocheted collars, hats and vintage inspired headbands and plenty more besides. Of course no market would be complete without offering sustenance to our valued customers so we will also have artisan foods including brownies, mince pies, breads and cakes to keep our visitors energies up.
Now, how can you resist, please join us on the 1st December
Date: Saturday 1st December 2012
Times: 10.30am – 6.30pm
Venue: no. 76 John Street, Kilkenny
Sounds like a great day out don’t you think
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to:
Visit the Long Room in Kilkenny Castle?
Take a tour around Thomastown County Kilkenny and meet some locals?
Pop into a Traditional Irish Music Session in a great old pub?
Wander around the Farmer’s Market in Kilkenny then have a picnic in Kells Priory with all the goodies?
A picture paints a thousand words so check out this video..it’s a upbeat and alternative look at what it’s like to spend the day in Kilkenny.
Here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel we have a good mix of Dorm Room and Private Room accommodation available so everyone is catered for . If you want cheap and social then we have 3 to 8 bed dorm rooms that are either mixed or Female only.
Dorms are a great way to meet up with other travelers from all over the world, have a chat, go out for a drink or explore the city together. You’ll have fun, you never know who you’ll meet and you’ll never be lonely!
If you want something a little more private then why not check out our 4 bed Family rooms, Triple Rooms, Twins and Doubles. We even do Doubles for Single use when we have the availability.
You’ll still get that social buzz in the Sitting Room and Kitchen but you wont have to share and when you’ve been on the road for a while you definitely need a treat now and then!
Sometimes we are super lucky here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel to have talented musicians as guests and even luckier when these guests decide to put on a little show of live music in our Sitting Room. We just love Hostel jam sessions!
The other day members of the “Speech Project” crew who were performing next door in the Watergate Theatre did an impromptu performance for our other guests and it was the loveliest music we’ve heard in a longtime. Declan played fiddle, Colman played the flute and Tommy played the dulcimer and as you can imagine everyone really loved it .
Later that evening the boys played another impromptu gig in that most special of venues “The Hole in the Wall” and apparently it went down a storm. What’s not to love about celtic, tango and Iranian sounds!
If you’re staying with us and can put on a little performance speak up and let us know.. we’d be delighted to have you!
Summer may be over but there’s still loads of Festivals in Kilkenny to look forward to over the next few months.
On the weekend before Halloween Thrillkilkenny will be hitting the streets on October 27th and 28th with a Zombie walk, street performances and themed events in bars and clubs. Kilkenny will also make a contribution to ‘Thrill the World,’ the annual worldwide synchronised dance to Michael Jackson’s thriller.
Plus Kilkenny’s talented Devious Theatre crew will be screening their performance of Night of the Living Dead and following that up with a dead disco club at our favourite little bar Cleeres just across the road from Kilkenny Tourist Hostel.
During the October Bank Holiday weekend (October 25th to 29th) Kilkenny becomes a mecca for foodies and artisan producers alike.
Now in its 6th year the Savour Food festival showcases tasty local produce, cooking demonstrations from Ireland’s top chefs, talks on topics such as foraging and growing your own, and tasting menus from lots of the lovely cafes and restaurants in the city.
If rock, country, folk, blues, Americana, Trad, Pop or Djs are more your thing then you can check out over 70 acts playing in pubs and venues across Kilkenny during the October Bank Holiday weekend all in support of the charity Enable Ireland.
It’s the 24th Rockfall Festival and offers something for every music lover, plus if you fancy yourself as a bit of a busking superstar then enter the Busking competition and bag yourself a 250 Euro prize!!
”The best way to rob a bank is to own one”
Hear this and other similar great insights into the current states of world financial affairs from November 1st to 4th at Europe’s first Economics Festival ‘Kilkenomics.’
Academics, commentators, professors, authors, critics and pundits join forces with whip smart, sharp witted comic talents to get the low down on what’s really up with the Global Economic situation.
Making its debut this November 19th to 25th Subtitle is the newest Festival on the Kilkenny calender and promises a jam packed week screening some of Europes best loved and most interesting films from the past decade.
There’s an opportunity to meet the film makers and special progammes such as Icelandic New Wave and Remake.
We’re super excited about this Festival so why not check it out.
At 17.59 on September 27th Guinness lovers all over the world raise a glass and toast Arthur Guinness in recognition of the year he established the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. The first event took place in 2009 celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of the ‘Black Stuff’ and now each year there are festivities all over Ireland and further afield to mark the day.
So if you fancy free Guinness, free food, a great party atmosphere in the pubs and live music then why not raise a glass to the man himself and get out and about at 17.59.
In Kilkenny one of the highlights is a gig in our favourite little venue Cleeres Bar by the acclaimed Irish musician Liam O’Maonlai, lead singer wit the HotHouse flowers. And best of all it’s free and just across the road from the Hostel Langtons also get in the party mood with live Irish music plus complimentary Guinness, oysters and finger food.
Guinness is good for you!!
It’s easy to just visit a new place, do the Touristy things and get on the bus or in the car and go off to the next destination and do the same again. But how about meeting the locals, getting off the beaten track a little bit and getting a real feel for a city or a town.
Here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel your friendly staff were either born and raised in Kilkenny or have lived here for years and years and are so happy to give you our advice on the best places to go and the little hidden gems you’re not going to read about in a guide book. It’s these insider tips that make visiting a place really special.
You can check out our Blackboard at the Reception where we chalk up all our favourite must sees or you can ask us where we like to go and what we like to do. Some people travelling through here have even loved Kilkenny so much they’ve stayed. Maybe you’ll be next!
There’s loads going on at the moment so here’s our top 5 reasons you should come and visit Kilkenny right now:
The city is awash with all things cultural, visual and engaging. The brilliant Kilkenny Arts Festival offers exhibitions, opera, theater, music, literature street performance and lots more until August 19th and there really is something for everyone to enjoy. Your friendly Hostel Staff loved the Archie Bronson Outfit in the Set Theatre last night and are really looking forward to the 1920s horror filmDe Golem with live score in St Canices Cathedral on Wednesday and Josh T Pearson in Billy Byrnes pub on Saturday. We also want to check out the Electron Cloud installation, the Flea Market at the little Ghost gallery as well as the Patrick O’connor exhibition at the Arts Office. Of course we love the yarn bombing of the library, benches near Kilkenny Castle and the Tholsel carried out with aplomb by the lovely Ita, one of you friendly Hostel Staff.
This is a gorgeous national monument built in 1582 that relies on funds generated from its theatre and performances for the upkeep and restoration of the building. The cultural events, music, lectures, and theatre staged here are varied, interesting and engaging and the Hole in the Wall is one of Kilkenny hidden gems.
The Summer programme consists of lunchtime performances on behalf of Kilkenny Arts Festival, Japanese week with lectures and acting workshops in the Noh theatre techniques, and Arts Exhibitions of pencil and charcoal drawings. There are also Musical Evenings with performances of ‘Being Edith Piaff’ in the intimate setting of the Archer Room, ‘Mostly Bach’ and ‘In the shadow of the mines’ detailing the rich history of coalmining in Castelcomer county Kilkenny. You can also just pop in for a glass of wine in the evenings and a chat to Michael, the Hole in the Wall’s consummate host.
Enjoy a gig in Kilkenny’s very own outdoor auditorium which is located beneath Ballykeefe wood and nature reserve in a old quarry. The setting is really amazing and offers brilliant acoustics and an unforgettable summertime experience. On August 18th see Maria Doyle Kennedy, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Rónán Ó Snodaigh, three bastions of Irish music, join forces to entertain the crowds. Fingerscrossed for great weather!!
Only open to the public during the summer you can tour this 13th century church that was built on a site of an earlier monastery. Located in the lovely village of Gowran a short drive from Kilkenny City, St Mary’s also contains some fine effigies including two 16th century Butler Tombs, and a cross inscribed Ogham stone. An informative guided tour is available until August 29th and it’s free!
Running from August 18th to 26th National Heritage Week celebrates the richness, quality and diversity of Ireland’s heritage, and there’s loads of events taking place in Kilkenny city and county. Fancy visiting a historical House not normally open to the public, attending a family tree masterclass, re enacting 17th century Kilkenny in the lovely Rothe House and gardens just across the road from us here at the Hostel, Free admission to Kilkenny Castle, a medieval tavern tour of Kilkenny, Free tour of Dunmore Caves or a guided riverside nature walk plus loads more activities then Kilkenny’s the place to be. There are so many amazing things happening in Kilkenny during National Heritage Week and we’re really looking forward to it.
Iarla OLionaird is a master performer of Irish Sean- nos singing meaning he sings in the old style way and gives a voice to hundreds years of Irish culture and tradition. He grew up in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region) in West Cork and now calls the lovely village of Inistioge in county Kilkenny home.
Invisible Fileds highlights Iarla’s shimmering beautiful voice and is rich in the mysteries of the Irish language. You don’t have to understand Irish to be able to rejoice in the gorgeous sounds.
According to Iarla
‘The album is among other things a love song to the Irish language. I’m infinitely proud of this language. It has a beautiful, poetic sound. When I write in Irish it brings out a way of looking at things that I don’t have in the English-speaking world.’
You can see Iarla live at this years Kilkenny Arts Festival on August 15th where together with 3epkano he will perform a live score to the 1920s horror film De Golem in the magnificent surrounds of St Canices Catherdral. Oooh can’t wait for that one!
As you know Kilkenny is a vibrant city with a fantastic arts,music, sporting, craft and cultural heritage.
Check this video to see just why you should visit Ireland’s medieval capital.
Ever wanted to know the difference between a jig and a reel?
Well every Friday and Saturday evening during Summer The Traditional Irish Music Trail offers visitors a fantastic night of craic agus ceol..fun times and music in Kilkenny and an insight into the heritage and history of Traditional music !
You can accompany two talented, passionate musicians on tour of some of Kilkenny best loved pubs and enjoy a Traditional music session in each pub. You’ll hear music and see professional musicians at work but best of all there’s an insight into the history, traditions and culture of Irish music.
Want to learn about the different instruments being played and the stories and background to the songs?
Check out the Kilkenny Traditional Trail and You’ll get a greater appreciation of all things Traditional. Plus its perfect for families as it’s fun as well as informative..and kids under 12 go free!!
You can pick up the Trail at one of our favourite old bars, Bollards, in Kieran street, at 7pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Adults tickets normally cost 12 Euro but for Kilkenny Tourist Hostel guests they’re 10 Euro per person. Yay we love a discount
This photo of the pubs opposite Kilkenny Tourist Hostel is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Traditional Irish pubs have an international reputation for being comfortable, social, welcoming, lively and great fun. You can settle into a seat at the bar and have a chat to the barman while he or she serves you the perfect pint of Guinness and fills you in on all the local gossip or you can relax with a cup or tea or coffee and read the daily paper. If you want food there’s stews, soups, sandwiches and chips aplenty or for some crunchy snacks with your pint you can’t go far wrong with a packet of cheese and onion Tayto, Ireland’s favourite crisps.
Of course if Traditional Irish Music is your thing then there are always loads of quality gigs taking place where you can either sit back and take it all in or grab your tin whistle, guitar or banjo and join right in. If banter with the locals is what you’re looking for then you might just discover that the old boy at the bar knows your long lost second cousin’s girlfriend’s mother’s brother!
Across the road from Kilkenny Tourist Hostel you’ll find a great example of what makes Traditional Irish pubs so well loved. There’s the old style O’Riadas Bar a real little local gem serving a creamy pint of the black stuff and where the regulars gather round the telly to cheer Kilkenny on in the Hurling Finals and reply the wins weeks and weeks after the All Ireland is done and dusted. There’s the PumpHouse which attracts a loyal crowd of music lovers and visitors alike and has a laid back relaxed vibe. There’s Cleeres Pub a huge favourite with your friendly staff here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel as there’s always a friendly chat with Johnny the barman, great gigs, tasty lunches and an open fire to warm yourself by on those cold winter evenings. You could even venture into Phelans bar an often overlooked old mans pub established in 1873 with old style decor and a regular clientele.
If you stay with us here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel all these great bars are literally right on your doorstep..handy don’t you think!
You could hop, skip and jump across the road to the Pumphouse pub and come back to the Hostel a Set Dancing aficionado! There are Free Set Dancing Lessons on offer at the Pumphouse every Monday and Tuesday and the promise is that you’ll have great fun and take home something unique..a real Irish experience..a ceili in Kilkenny so get ya dancing shoes on!
According to Bill Lynch from County Clare on his website www.setdancingnews.net
“Irish set dancing is the type of traditional social dancing done strictly for pleasure in rural communities in Ireland for a couple hundred years or more. ‘Sets’ came from quadrilles, the eighteenth and nineteenth century court dances of France which spread across Europe. Irish peasants learned the quadrilles from British landlords and soldiers and took them home to their cottages where they became the uniquely Irish sets when traditional music and steps were applied to them.
Four couples arrange themselves in a square to dance—the term ‘set’ refers both to the eight people in formation and to the dance itself. When the music begins they dance a variety of intricate moves and steps. One set can last from ten minutes to half an hour. The dancing is divided into separate sections called figures—when a figure is finished the music stops and the dancers remain in place waiting for it to resume. A set usually has from three to six figures, each one different but always danced in the same sequence. After the last figure the dancers thank one another and leave the floor.
Teachers have collected and taught sets from all over the country so that now dancers generally know about a dozen of the most popular ones. The top favourites are the Clare Plain Set, the Clare Lancers, Corofin Plain Set, the Caledonian Set, the Connemara Set and the Cashel Set. All but the last two are from County Clare, which is perceived as the home of set dancing, though it is strong in most areas.”
The easy to follow workshops in the Pumphouse are followed by Traditional Irish Music sessions so after you’ve learned how to dance you can sit back and relax with a drink and listen to some professional musicians belt out the tunes, jigs and reels.
To partake in your very own hooley get to the Pumphouse at 8pm..lots of our guests have tried it and loved it!
In the ensuing years the church fell into disrepair and was rebuilt in the 1700s incorporating elements of the original medieval building and in the 1950s it was deconsecrated and used as a community hall. The church was purchased by the Kilkenny borough council in 2009 and there is hope to develop it into a new civic museum.
St Marys church graveyard is of particular interest for the beautifully carved and ornate effigies and tombstones of some of the wealthiest merchant families in Kilkenny during the ages. It is now fully accessible to visitors and tours are available. Sounds really great don’t you think.
For three days in June there is a chance to be on site and witness a live archaelogical dig in the grounds of the Bishops Palace in Kilkenny. You will see first hand the medieval excavation works taking place around the Bishop’s robing room plus have the chance to talk to the Archaeologists and maybe even see a historical treasure uneatherned right at your feet. And it’s Free!!
The Bishops Palace is now the headquarters of the Heritage council of Ireland and sits in the shadows of St Canices Cathedral. The Palace dates back to 1350 when it was built under Bishop Ledred, the Bishop who lead the persecution of Dame Alice Kyteler and accused her of witchcraft, but that’s another story! Since then it has undergone renovations, remodels and additions in the 16th and 17th centuries and today presents a Georgian facade containing 800+ years of history.
The most recent archaeological excavations at the site concentrated on the Bishop’s robing room built around 1750 and featuring limestone walls, ornate windows and heated benches for the Bishops to sit on! The dig even unearthed deer antlers thought to be the remnants of a medieval comb making enterprise.
To experience this living history first hand get down to the Bishops Palace on June 27th to 29th at 2.30pm and see what the Archaeologists are digging up. Best of all it’s free and there’s tea available in the Bishop’s Robing Room.
As you know if you make use of the Hostel Kitchen you’ll save money, take turns cooking with your friends, have a better shot of eating healthily, maybe bag a free dinner and best of all meet loads of people and get to interact with them while cooking and eating.
Yes it can be busy especially in the summer when everyone wants to get in, get fed and get out to the pub! There are usually 5 or 6 big pots of pasta on the go at anyone time and there’s sometimes a scramble for that last stove top! People are chopping, washing, boiling, tasting, frying, stirring… it can get a little frantic but that’s all part of the buzz!
1.Label your food..that way others wont ‘accidently’ use it and we wont throw it out or put it on the free food shelf.
2.Clean up after yourself..wash and dry your dishes and put them away. It makes everyone happy!
3.Make use of the Free Food shelf..there are loads of ingredients just waiting to be turned into something delicious.
4.Recycle. There are bins for paper, plastic, cans and bottles..use them! It makes us when there are glass bottles in the ordinary rubbish.
5.Share. If you need some oil, salt, butter, milk why not ask..It makes for happier campers than just taking.
We love Backpacklife.com’s rundown on the stereotypes that inhabit the Hostel Kitchen..which one are you?
1. The Culinary Genius. These people annoyingly seem to have it all sussed out. Just as you are marvelling at your own ability to boil water, these people are casually serving up a mouth-watering dish. It makes you even more hungry and your pasta dish suddenly seems inedible. How they manage it with the limited facilities is baffling. Form a mental note to make friends with these people and make sure you’re invited to dinner tomorrow!
2. The Two-minute-noodler. Time as they say is money, and so is food. Why waste good time and money on a meal when it could be spent down the bar! To these people food is just something to keep the hunger pangs away. These two minute noodles cost nearly nothing and require the cooking ability of a chimp. Unfortunately, they taste like something you scraped off the floor.
3. Carb-Captains. A more developed form of the ‘two-minute-noodler’. This group encompasses the majority of backpackers. Pasta travels and keeps well, and it’s cheap. The rest is up to you, add a few veggies or just some sauce and “voila!”, a meal is yours. It’s a common site to see rows of travellers sitting down chowing down to huge piles of the stuff.
4. The Socialite. These people are only in the kitchen for social reasons. Somehow, be it a healthy bank or a bulging credit card – they always eat out and never cook. They will sit and sip a beer with the rest of the gang, make some snide remark about washing up – then bugger off to get a kebab.
After playing a storming set at the Kilkenny Roots Festival weekend back in May, Alabama Shakes endeared themselves to audiences in Kilkenny and were definitely one of the highlights of an action packed music weekend. Hailing from Athens Alabama and comprising three friends, Alabama Shakes rock classic R&B with raw, high octane soul. Lead singer Brittany Howard is a magnetic presence on stage and has a voice not easily forgotten. The debut album Boys and Girls caused a stir and is well loved here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel. Plus we got to see them live back in the Set Theatre in May and we were pretty excited about that gig. So just to relive the vibe tonight we’re playing Boys and Girls and smiling and singing along quietly! Here’s a little of why they are so good:
The June Bank Holiday weekend is almost upon us and that means one thing here in Kilkenny..Festivals!!
The Cat Laughs is in its 19th year and attracts big name Irish and International acts to pubs, clubs and venues throughout the city and showcases a world class lineup. It’s laughs all round as thousands of visitors descend on Kilkenny for all kinds of merriment. There’s always a great buzz in the streets as punters wander from gig to gig enjoying all the delights of this charming city. In addition to the stand up there’s a table quizz, a soccer match pitting Irish comedians against those from the rest of the world, a humorous look at Irish mothers and loads more stuff on offer to tickle your funny bone. Ooh let’s hope there’s sunshine too!!
The Pub Music Trail is all about live music in pubs throughout the city and offers a great alternative to the Cat Laughs. And all the gigs are free, free, free! With Thirty two pubs taking part there’s something for everyone so if you want to hark back to the early 80s and catch some quality ska music then head across the road from the Hostel to Cleeres pub on Saturday night. If you’re into high octane jump around rockabilly then local outfit Tv Jones and the Tomahawks will be ripping it up in Ryans on Friary street on Sunday. There’s also Traditional Irish music sessions in Bollards and Kytelers. Sounds great don’t you think?
The Happy Valley Festival is a self professed ‘Music and Arts Festival for all the Family’ taking place in the picturesque village of Thomastown in county Kilkenny. It kicks off on Friday with Traditional Irish Music in Carrolls bar and Blues in The Bridgebrook Arms pub. There’s an Arts and Crafts Market and Farmers Stalls on Saturday then 15 Acts take the stage in The BridgeBrook promising great music throughout the day. On Sunday another 15 Acts rock Murphys Bar and beergarden and if that wasn’t enough there are more gigs on Monday. There’s always a great atmosphere in Thomastown and it’s a favourite haunt of ours so we think we will definitely be happy in the valley!
Fancy walking through the trees and getting a bird’s eye view of the surrounding countryside through the canopy? Are you up for an adventure? Well then the Tree Top walk is for you. It’s a brand new activity just launched at the Castlecomer Discovery Park in County Kilkenny and it looks pretty exciting. Plus it’s only a 20 minute drive from Kilkenny Tourist Hostel.
You start at a timber gazebo before progressing to a climbing frame ascent point then up, up, up and away 10 metres in the air to start your walk. Then it’s a meander through the canopy for 140 metres where you’ll have a great vantage point over the town of Castlecomer, the Wandesforde Estate and the river Dean. The walk takes approximately 60 minutes to complete and of course you’ll be well taken care of with harnesses and safety instructions. There are also extra little challenges along the way if you’re up for them.
The Tree Top Adventure is open Fridays from 2.30pm and Saturday/Sunday from 10.30am to 5.30pm and min/max height and weight restrictions apply. Cost is 12.50.
When you want to come back down to earth there are also lovely walks through the woods in the Discovery Park plus fishing, exhibitions, a visitors centre with lots of information on Castlecomer’s coalmining heritage, handmade crafts in the Estate Yard and a cafe serving delicious food.
Here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel your friendly staff are partial to the odd glass of Baileys Irish Cream, a slice of Baileys Cheesecake or a delicious cup of Baileys Coffee served all warm, sweet and creamy. Sound good? It’s easy to make and perfect for a treat now and again. Bollards Pub in Kieran street Kilkenny make a lovely Baileys Coffee and some of the guests here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel have enjoyed the atmosphere there sitting by the open fire and sipping away. If it’s a Friday night then quality Traditional Irish Music is also in the offering..what better way to while away an evening in the Marble City!
If it sound like something you’d like to do then why not visit us here in Kilkenny and in the meantime here’s a little recipe to keep you going.
Baileys Coffee recipe
1.Add a 25ml/1foz of Baileys Irish Cream to a warmed coffee glass
2.Add coffee, approx. 1 double espresso with some hot water, it should almost fill the glass but be sure to leave room for the cream. Stir well.
3.Use the back of a spoon to pour lightly whipped cream onto the coffee so it floats on top. One heaped tablespoon of cream should be enough to fill up the glass.
4.Drink and Enjoy!
You could walk through the streets of Kilkenny in the afternoon enjoying the sunshine and do a bit of sightseeing ,then go out for a few hours this evening and come back to the Hostel an accomplished Drummer!! How you ask..well Kyteler’s Inn, a gorgeous old pub in Kieran street just a hop, skip and a jump from Kilkenny Tourist Hostel offers free Bodhran lessons during the summer. Another pub, Matt the Millers, just across the river in John street now also offers Bodhran lessons and the chance to join the circle and discover your rhythmic talent.
The Bodhran (Bow-Rawn) is the native Irish Drum, it ranges in size from 10 to 26 inches and is a ‘Frame Drum’, made from a circle of wood upon which a treated skin of a goat is stretched. The drum is hit with a stick or ‘tipper’ at almost right angles to the skin and produces the distinctive beat of the Bodhran. According to Kyteler’s Inn the “Kytelers Bodhrán Session” teaches any visitor to the pub how to play the bodhrán as well as giving some information about the history of the drum. Sounds great doesn’t it..and it’s free..and a chance to learn something truly Irish.
Kytelers Bodhran sessions are on Mondays and Tuesdays from 6.30pm and Matt the Millers are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays also at 6.30pm.
Did you know that here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel you can use our Fully Equipped Self Catering Kitchen to cook up something special to eat for yourself at anytime of the day. We of course have all the pots and pans, all the utensils, all the cookware, the plates, bowls, cutlery and everything else you need. And yes we even have bottle openers in case you want to crack open that lovely bottle of vino to have with your dinner!
The Hostel Kitchen is a great place to interact with other guests and meet people from all over the world, and along with the Sitting Room it’s definitely the social hub of most Hostels.
Now we know that pasta and sauce, microwave meals, toast and jam, pizza and soup and sandwiches all have their special place in Hostel Kitchens and whilst they may be cheap to buy and quick and easy to cook, sometimes it’s nice to have something a little tasty and delicious don’t you think.
Here’s one of our favourite vegetable curry recipes from the Leon eatery in London. It’s really yummy but just don’t take our word for it..get cooking!
This curry is all about the balance of spices, sweetness and making sure you time the veg right so it doesn’t all fall apart. The Gobi refers to the cauliflower.
It’s the addition of ground almonds that provides the wonderful consistency.
Gobi good for six
1 medium onion, halved and thickly sliced
1 carrot, thickly sliced
2 tbsp sunflower or peanut oil
1 red chilli (go for a bird’s-eye if you like it hot – some do)
2 thumb-sized pieces of root ginger, washed but not peeled
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large tsp Madras curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black onion seeds
1 medium sweet potato, washed and cut into 2.5cm dice
4 heaped tbsp ground almonds
A good handful of sultanas
½ a small cauliflower, broken into florets
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
150g frozen peas
Juice of ½ a lemon
A really big handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut, to serve
In a large saucepan, cook the onion and carrot over a medium to low heat in the oil for 15-20 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.
Blitz the chilli, ginger and garlic to a paste in a food processor. Stir the paste into the onions once they have begun to soften, along with the spices (including the onion seeds). After another five minutes, season with salt, add the sweet potato chunks and the almonds and mix well so that everything is well coated.
Turn the heat up a bit and stir in 500ml of water and the sultanas. Bring to a simmer and leave it to bubble gently for 10-15 minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally.
Add the cauliflower florets and the coconut milk and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, covered. Check that the sweet potato and cauliflower are both cooked, turn the heat off and stir in the peas.
It will need more salt, plus the lemon juice and chopped coriander to finish it off right. We serve it with a sprinkling of dried coconut on top.
And yes there are always dishes to do at the end of a meal but trust us it will be totally worth it!
Kilkenny Arts Festival is to bring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to Ireland for the very first time and we are super dooper excited about seeing ‘ As You Like it’ performed in the beautiful setting of the old Kilkenny Castle Stable yard from August 10th to 19th.
According to Kilkenny Arts Festival:
“The beautiful medieval city of Kilkenny is the perfect place for Shakespeare’s Globe to tour this lively outdoor production to Ireland. Using an Elizabethan-inspired stage, the production will be influenced by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare’s time, and be performed in the the original stables for Kilkenny Castle; The Castle Yard at Kilkenny Design.”
The Kilkenny Arts Festival is Ireland’s oldest Arts Festival and always showcases the very best in Irish and international visual art, classical music, theatre and dance, jazz, world & traditional Irish music, literature, film, indie music, craft, children’s and street events.
This touring production of As You Like it by the Globe Theatre should be a very special performance indeed so get your tickets now and book a bed in a cosy room at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel soon!
You could of course cook some delicious food for yourself in our fully equipped Self Catering Kitchen here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel or if you feel like eating out but not spending a fortune how about the cheap eats on offer at Billy Byrnes “Food for 5 Euro.”
It’s Tex Mex every Tuesday at Billy Byrnes bar in John street and every dish is only 5 Euro. They cater for vegetarians (woohoo) as well as meat eaters and offer up some tasty and tempting eats. The menu varies slightly from week to week and there’s always a nice crowd, good tunes, drinks specials and friendly staff.
Here’s what this weeks menu looks like:
“Dry Rubbed Chicken Tacos, Slow Cooked Beef Tacos and Blackened Tofu Tacos. All with lettuce cheese and pico de gallo salsa. The Blackened Tofu Tacos can be served vegan upon request.
Also, in anticipation of Cinco de Mayo, tonight along with the tacos we’re offering BURRITOS! A large flour wrap with chicken, beef or tofu, lettuce, cheese and pico de gallo tucked in. €5.”
Looks good don’t you think?
Fancy a guided walk through Kilkenny Castle Park this Sunday at 5am to hear the Dawn Chorus when sweet birdsongs fill the air? Yes it’s ridiculously early and we know a lot of Kilkenny Tourist Hostel guests like to enjoy their Saturday nights in Kilkenny’s pubs and clubs but why not just this once set the alarm ( or call in on your way back to the Hostel after your night out ;-)) and enjoy the music as dawn breaks…the early bird catches the worm!
So what is the Dawn Chorus?
Well according to the Kilkenny Walking Festival who are hosting this event:
“Between March and the beginning of July, in the twilight before sunrise, beautiful bird songs fill the air of forests, hedgerows, parks and gardens throughout Ireland. Bird calls can be heard at various times through the day. The sounds that create the internationally celebrated Dawn Chorus are different, these are called bird song.
Before the sun rises, birds cannot search for food as it is too dark. Instead they defend and mark out their territory, and attract female mates as it is the males who generally sing their unique bird songs. In parts of Ireland with a bit of careful listening you can pick out many different bird songs from a whole chorus.”
What better venue to enjoy this in than than the gorgeous Kilkenny Castle Park.
Last Friday night a couple of your friendly staff here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel headed over to Cleeres pub in Parliament street to see The Simone Felice Band play joyous, stomping rootsy music. Cleeres is our favourite live music venue in Kilkenny and always delivers quality gigs to an appreciative audience of music lovers. Simone Felice and his special guest Simi Stone both hail from The Catskill Mountains area in New York State and have been to Kilkenny before playing the Kilkenny Roots Festival a few years back with The Duke and The King, a raggle taggle bunch of talented musicians.
This time Simone and his new band debuted material from his recently released self titled Simone Felice record as well as some classic tunes and well chosen covers. As always the harmonies were gorgeous and the performance was fiery and authentic. We loved every minute of it!
You know we love our music here at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel so we can’t wait for Record Store Day on April 21st.
Record Store Day originated in the USA and celebrates the unique culture of over 700 independently owned Record Stores in the States and hundreds across the world, including Ireland, by bringing together fans, musicians and record store owners to rejoice in the art of music. On the day there are special vinyl and cd releases plus loads of in store performances.
Kilkenny’s own indie record store Rollercoaster Records in Kieran street is the self proclaimed ‘happiest little record shop in the world’ and is stocked with must have vinyl and cds. The owners are music aficionados and are happy to give advice to music lovers plus offer support to local musicians by stocking their cds.
To celebrate Record Store Day there will be Djs and live bands in Rollercoaster Records from 11am plus a Free cd of Rollercoaster songs of the day to the first 100 customers. Featuring in the live lineup are blues roots guitarist and singer Clive Barnes, high octane rockabilly heroes Tv Jones and the Tomahawks, Engine Alley legends Canice and Brian Kenealy and funk hip hop Dj The Kilo 1977 plus loads more. We’ll be recommending it to all our guests as a great way to kick off the weekend.
Here’s a little look at last year’s fun!
So you’re setting off on your holidays all excited, maybe it’s the first time you’ve embarked on a journey, maybe you’re backpacking around the world on your own or with friends and loved ones. You can get loads of great travel tips from people who have been there and done that, there are books and sites devoted to telling you how and where to travel, where to get off the beaten track, what to do once you’re there, where to stay and how to enjoy the destination. The staff at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel are still partial to picking up a Lonely Planet and checking out the tried and tested advice. We know things have gone digital but a hardcopy still feels right in our hands! Maybe you like Routard or Rick Steves’ guides. Maybe you enjoy traveldudes.org or any of the other brilliant travel blogs out there. It’s a big world, there’s lots and lots and lots of info and advice..here’s our favourite:
You could pop next door to the The Watergate Theatre at 8pm and catch the penultimate performance of Little Shop Of Horrors performed by Kilkenny Musical Society. The Theatre itself is an intimate and comfortable 328 seat theatre and it’s right next door to Kilkenny Tourist Hostel..handy!!
Little Shop of Horrors has received standing ovations form delighted audiences throughout the week and has amazing sets, great acting and singing, brilliant lighting and the innovative use of puppetry. Apparently the band has had the place rocking… a big shout out here goes to Alan and Brian who are staying with us this week at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel and playing in that band each night..good luck guys and hope the last two performances are brilliant.
The Kilkenny Farmers Market takes place every Thursday from 9am to 3pm on the Mayor’s walk in the shadows of Kilkenny Castle and just opposite Kilkenny Design Centre. If you’re lucky enough to be in Kilkenny on a Thursday then you should definitely stop by and wander around the 20 or so stalls selling everything from unusual plants to delicious home baked goodies and cakes, juices fresh from the orchard, pates, delicious bread, organic vegetables, artisan handmade chocolates, tasty pies and award winning cheeses.
The market has a lovely relaxed atmosphere and it’s great to see what’s on offer, chat to the stall holders and pick up some tasty fare for a picnic in the Castle Park next door or some delicious ingredients to make dinner back in our self catering kitchen at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel.
Here’s the lowdown on a couple of our favourite stall holders:
Mary Teehan makes decadent, sophisticated artisan chocolates including varieties such as chai expresso, cardomom and orange, and tequila salt lemon truffles. You can buy a lovely little gift box of truffles or fudge for loved ones back home or just for yourself! If you are visiting Thomastown in County Kilkenny then you can pop into Truffle Fairy chocolate shop and cafe and see where all the magic happens.
You really must try Helen Finnegans deliciously creamy and award winning selection of goat and cow’s milk cheeses. Helen has been making cheese at her farm in Stoneyford in County Kilkenny since 2004 where she now also runs a farm shop selling her own pestos, relishes and tapenades as well as other locally produced artisan goodies. If you want to try your hand at Cheese Making there are day courses on offer from only 60 Euro.
There’s nothing as tasty and tempting as a homemade pie and it’s the perfect on the go food to indulge in whilst wandering around Kilkenny Farmers Market. With choices such as Duck Pie, Chicken + Ham pie in parsley sauce, sausage rolls and yummy rosti with courgette + chedder there’s something for everyone’s tastes.
There are lots of crunchy, bright, fresh, organic and in season fruit and vegetables on offer at Kilkenny Farmers Market. Why not get a basket full of gorgeous veg and come back to the Hostel and cook up a storm. It’s so much better than dull and tasteless supermarket veg flown half way around the world don’t you think?
Whether you’re on an Around the World trip, a Summer Holiday, a City Break or a Weekend away here’s Kilkenny Tourist Hostel’s Top 5 Reasons to Stay at a Hostel:
If you want to meet new people from all over the world, find out a little bit about different cultures and make new friends then a Hostel is where it’s at. You’ll find it easy to chat to people in the kitchen while you’re cooking your dinner or introduce yourself to fellow travellers while relaxing in your dorm room. The social aspect of staying in a Hostel is not to be underestimated..no more lonely, boring days alone in a hotel room.. instead mingle in a Hostel’s common room and you’ll hook up with people to explore the city with plus have a few drinks and loads of laughs later in the evening. There are all sorts of people from every walk of life staying in Hostels..young, not so young, students, professionals, backpackers, families, groups of friends, solo travellers and married couples. Everyone is welcome at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel!
Get more bang for your buck by staying at a Hostel and make your budget stretch. You can travel slower and longer and see more by spending less on accommodation. This doesn’t mean you’ll forgo comfort or service though and the added bonus is you’ll be able to stay away for weeks or months instead of days and have more money to spend on more trips in the future. It’s a win win don’t you think? Prices at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel start at only 14 Euro a night!
There’s a certain charm about Hostels that you just don’t get in lots of other generic, soulless and impersonal accommodation alternatives. You can always be sure of a buzz and loads of banter in a Hostel, with people milling around, chatting, swapping stories and getting to know one another. Of course the other brilliant thing about Hostels is that the staff know the city or area inside out and back to front and are always willing and eager to tell guests about the best things to do and the coolest places to go. These insider tips and hidden gems mean guests experience the surroundings like a local and really get a feel for a place. If you’re staying at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel you can check out our Blackboard at Reception where every day we chalk up all the stuff to do in Kilkenny and our favourite places to go.
Hostels are definitely more than just a bed to sleep in. There are lots of Facilities to make your time away as easy going and enjoyable as possible. If you want to cook your own food and save loads of money plus eat right then then you can use the fully equipped Kitchens. There are Common Rooms to relax in and meet fellow guests. If you need your smelly socks washed then there are cheap Laundry Services available and if you want to stay in touch with family and friends back home or update your facebook status then there is Free WiFi and Computer Access.
You can’t beat Hostels for being in brilliant City Centre Locations right amongst the hustle and bustle and in walking distance to all the great sites and attractions. There are no 3 miles walks out of the city centre to some suburban location after a day of exploring or a night partying. Hostels are downtown and accessible and give you the chance to really immerse yourself in the culture of the city and its nightlife. Kilkenny Tourist Hostel has all the sites and charms of medieval Kilkenny right on its doorstep not to mention 5 pubs right across the road ..why not come and experience it for yourself?
The gorgeous voice and reflective lyrics of the Dublin singer songwriter James Vincent McMorrow is a favourite of ours at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel. His debut album ‘Early in the Morning’ is a collection of songs recorded over 5 months in an isolated house by the sea and had gained him a loyal fan base. His concert in St Canice’s Catheral in Kilkenny during the 2011 Kilkenny Arts Festival was a hushed and beautiful affair and the best thing we experienced during the whole 10 days!
Here he is performing at ‘Other Voices’ in St James’ Church in Dingle County Kerry..see for yourself why we love him:
It’s a gorgeous day in Kilkenny and the sun is shining, you might have been out and about seeing the sites and wandering around the city then returned to Kilkenny Tourist Hostel perhaps for an afternoon snooze or to cook some dinner in our self catering kitchen, use our computer to check your emails or have a beer and relax in the sitting room.
Now it’s time to think about what to do this evening and if you were staying at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel tonight you could check our blackboard at Reception to see what’s on then maybe head up to Billy Byrnes pub in John street for their cult/classic film night. There’s a nice laid back crowd, a big screen, comfy couches, popcorn and best of all its free, free , free! We know how much you ♥ free stuff!
Tonight at 8.30pm it’s William Friedkin’s 1977 suspense drama Sorcerer..here’s a little preview.
Great music is pretty important to us , it creates an atmosphere, it sets a mood and it gives us something to sing or hum along to! We nearly always have tunes playing at the Reception area at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel and these lovely sounds waft into the Sitting Room and make guests chilling out by the open fire pretty happy. We have eclectic taste..loads of things make us smile and we’re always delighted to let you know who we’re playing or lend you the cd to burn. We’re equally happy to know what you like as we’re always looking for new stuff to play. Cheers to Erik from Atlanta Georgia who gave us some tips last week on great music from his home town..we can’t wait to check out his recommendations!!
Tonight one of the things we’re listening to and loving is:
Toward the Low sun, the brand new offering from Dirty Three.
This epic release from the Australian instrumental trio combines whirling mournful violin with bass and drum rolls echoing their folky roots and resulting in beautiful evocative music. Here’s a little of what’s on offer.
Guests at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel love to amble down by the river Nore along the Lacken Boardwalk and out under the Ossary Bridge. Some walk the 5 mile ‘Nore Valley’ walk along the river to the little village of Bennettesbridge and others come back along the Canal walk and finish up in the shadows of Kilkenny Castle. It’s a really great way to spend a lazy afternoon in Kilkenny and it just got better with the addition of an impressive piece of Street Art under the Ossary Bridge by local artist Mick Minogue. Apparently Mick is doing a youth workshop in the coming weeks to clean up the area and make it look pretty for all those enjoying the delights Kilkenny has to offer. We say go Mick!
A night out in Kilkenny is always fun and if you were staying at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel tonight you could head up Parliament street to Ryan’s Pub in Friary street around 10pm and hear some brilliant Traditional Irish music.
This toe tapping session every Thursday features some great musicians: there’s Tommy Lanigan on the bodhran, Mick Mcauley on the accordian, Liam Moore on guitar, Paddy Cleere on banjo and Anthony Mcauley on fiddle. The mix of locals and visitors enjoying the craic always results in a mighty session and guests at Kilkenny Tourist Hostel love, love, love it.
Why not come and experience it first hand and until then check this out.
Ok ok we know Santa Claus is alive and well but St Nicholas ( the saint who inspired the legend of Santa Claus) is reputedly buried in Thomastown County Kilkenny in the old church to the west of Jerpoint Abbey.The legend is that the De Freynes, the Norman knights of Jerpoint when forced to evacuate the Holy Land, exhumed the remains of St Nicholas at Myra in Turkey, eventually laying them to rest at Jerpoint Co Kilkenny. Why not go out to Thomastown and have a look for youself.
The White House in Washington DC was designed by a Kilkenny architect James Hobon who won a competition to design this iconic structure way back in 1792 after he emigrated to America. Historians believe that James Hoban based his plan on Leinster House, the Georgian style home of the Dukes of Leinster in Ireland. Leinster House is now the seat of the Irish Parliament.
The Statues of Kilkenny were enacted into law in 1366 and were designed to halt the Norman assimilation into the Irish way of life because of the fear that people were becoming more Irish than the Irish themselves. Disobedience was punishable by death.
Thomas Fitzgerald was found guilty of high treason and executed in 1417..his only crime was to fall in love with an Irish woman and marry her. He broke the law set out in the statutes of Kilkenny that forbade Normans to intermarry with the Irish, or cut their hair in the Irish style, wear the Irish mode of dress, speak in the Irish tongue or play hurling or other games of the Irish.
In 1324 Kilkenny resident Dame Alice Kyteler came to public attention after 3 of her rich husbands died in quick succession and her 4th husband became ill with a mysterious wasting disease. The Bishop was called in to investigate complaints against her which included brewing evil potions made of worms, corpses’ nails and unbaptised babies in a beheaded thief’s skull and obtaining her wealth from demons. Some of the witnesses who testified against her were many of the nobles who were in debt to her.
Alice was convicted of sorcery but managed to escape to England and live out the rest of her life there. Her unfortunate servant girl Petronilla was burned alive at the stake on Kilkenny’s High street after confessing under torture to heresy and orgies. Guests of Kilkenny Tourist Hostel love a pint in Kyteler’s Inn the tavern established in the 13th century.
In 1888 Asa Griggs Candler, a pharmisist, bought the rights to the formula for Coca Cola from Dr John Permberton, and the ancestoral home of the Candler family was in Callan County Kilkenny. Asa’s ancestor William Candler went to Ireland from England as a Captain in Cromwell’s Irish campaign and was subsequently granted the Barony of Callan for meritorious service in 1653 and the family lived at Callan Castle in County Kilkenny.
Generations later Asa Griggs Candler recognised a good thing when he saw it and by using great business acumen made a fortune selling his fizzy drink and in doing so established one of the most valuable brands in the world. Coming full circle Asa Grigg Candler’s family home built in the Beaux Arts style in 1902 in Inman Park Atlanta Georgia is called Callan Castle.