As parents we know how expensive it can be to entertain the kids, so we thought we would put together a list of things to do for free with the children. Yes, the things that are completely free of charge! Here’s our suggestions for the best free things to do in Kilkenny with kids:
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Some of our ideas for free things to do in Kilkenny include getting out and about for everything from cycling to orienteering, as well as culture and history to discover with the kids. You could also pick a different town, village or area to explore, compile a list of interesting places to visit beforehand and then have fun!
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Visit Gairdin An Ghorta
Visit Gairdin an Ghorta in Newmarket. This is a garden of remembrance dedicated to the victims of the famine, and every single inch has been thoughtfully and carefully designed and selected.
You can give your family a self-guided tour using one of the brochures available at the Garden, or call ahead for a really informative tour by Criostoir O’Tuama. I recommend the latter, as Criostoir is a wealth of knowledge, and as a retired primary school teacher he will tailor the information to keep the interest of all your children.
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Take a Walk
Put on your walking shoes (or hiking boots), pack a picnic and head out for a walk. From strolling through a park or garden, to hiking through the woods, forests or hills – there is something to suit every family in Kilkenny.
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There are some great playgrounds in Kilkenny. Why not aim to visit a different one each week? It’s an activity that is both free and good fun – plus the kids are running around and getting plenty of fresh air! Bring some snacks and drinks, or pack a picnic lunch and have a great time.
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The Butler Gallery at Kilkenny Castle
Inspiring culture seekers since 1943, the Butler Gallery is located in the former kitchens of Kilkenny Castle, which is situated in the heart of Kilkenny City.
The gallery is free of charge and open to the public seven days a week, all year round. They run a Children’s Programme and a Youth Programme with monthly events, so check before you visit.
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Festivals and Events
Keep an eye on our monthly round-up of what’s on around the country to find free family events worth visiting. From festivals to family fun days, you never know what will pop up in your area!
Parks in Kilkenny
Spend an afternoon in the park. There are many parks throughout Kilkenny city and county in which you can walk, play ball, picnic, and maybe even stop at the playground for a while.
Cycling in Kilkenny
Take out your bicycles and get active. Follow an established cycle trail or find an off-road route.
We like to bring our bikes to the Bishop’s Meadows or down the Canal Walk as there’s a playground in the Castle Park en route.
You can find other places to go on Trail Kilkenny or the Coillte Outdoors Website.
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Visit your local library and find out what classes and events they run throughout the year. Your local library branch is a wonderful, free, resource for families.
All libraries host very popular, annual summer reading programmes while many of the branches run or host parent and toddler groups, storytelling sessions, arts and crafts classes, book clubs, games and activities sessions, exhibitions and so on.
Not to mention the fact that there is free computer access and the option to borrow books, music and DVDs! For a change of scenery, why not visit a different branch?
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National Design & Craft Gallery
The National Design & Craft Gallery is located in the former stable yard of Kilkenny Castle, in the centre of the medieval city of Kilkenny. The Gallery is free to visit and they run workshops so check their website before you go to see what’s on. There are a number of craft-based shops to browse or watch work being made. There’s also a Restaurant, Cafe and Food Court.
The gallery is situated in the Castle Yard, across the road from Kilkenny Castle. It is wheelchair accessible and close to the heart of Kilkenny City, within minutes of Kilkenny’s coach parking bays. There are also specific disabled parking bays. Pay and Display parking is found along the Castle Road, or in the nearby Ormonde Street Car Park.
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Kilkenny Castle has orienteering with three distances: short (1.8km), medium (2.4km) and long (3.5km), available for FREE to download.
The orienteering course is open to all families, individuals, clubs, schools and is a great way to explore the flora and fauna of Kilkenny Castle Park, whilst enjoying the exercise in beautiful surroundings. There is also a small area of the Canal Walk involved in the courses.
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St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower
St Canice’s Cathedral is Ireland’s second-largest medieval cathedral (after St Patrick’s in Dublin). This ecclesiastical site was founded in the 6th century and named after St Canice. Cill Channigh is the Gaelic for the Church of Canice, the church that originally stood on the site in the 6th century.
St Canice’s Round Tower is one of only two Round Towers that people can climb in Ireland. The Round Tower is the oldest standing structure in Kilkenny City. Tourists can enjoy climbing the Round Tower capturing great views of the city (weather permitting).
History & Heritage in Kilkenny
Visit one of Kilkenny’s historic and heritage sites like Kilkenny Castle (free on first Wednesday of every month), Aghaviller Church and Round Tower, Killamery Church and High Cross, and Kells Priory to name just a few.
A number of Heritage Ireland Sites have FREE admission on the first Wednesday of every month so why not take advantage and visit?
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What other free things to do in Kilkenny would you recommend doing with kids? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!