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Your summer in Ireland: 5 must-see sites in Kilkenny

Take our challenge and tick off as many glorious sites this summer as recommended by heritage officers around Ireland.

EVERY CORNER OF Ireland has something unique to showcase – but how much of it have you seen? has been chatting to heritage officers in every part of the country to compile their top five picks that they think you might enjoy visiting this summer.

Heritage includes monuments, archaeological or architectural objects, seascapes, wrecks, geology, inland waterways, gardens and parks.

We are publishing recommendations for every local authority area over the course of a fortnight, along with the details you need to know to plan your visit.

Get motoring!


1. Woodstock gardens, Inistioge

This 18th century country house was built in 1745-47 for Sir William Fownes.

The main house was burnt in 1922 after the building had been occupied by Black and Tan troops and some further deterioration occurred following this.

Today the gardens are open for the public to explore and guided tours can be arranged in advance; there is a monkey puzzle adventure for children.

Amenities: There is wheelchair access on request and there are toilet facilities, tea rooms, a playground and car parking available.

Opening hours and costs: Entry to the gardens is €4 per car and they are open 9am-7.30pm daily.

shutterstock_1105836791 (1) Woodstock House Source: Shutterstock/Andrzej Bartyzel

2. St Mary’s Collegiate church, Gowran

Built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier monastery, clerics who lived on site did not abide by the rules of the monastery.

Today the church holds a vast amount of medieval carvings, some in the form of masks throughout the building.

Guided tours are available and there is an audio-visual presentation on site.

Amenities: There is restricted access to wheelchair users and there are toilet facilities as well as a car park.

Opening hours and costs: Entry to the site is FREE and it is open daily from 10am-5.30pm.

St. Marys Collegiate Church Gowran 2 St Mary's collegiate church

3. St Lachtain’s church, Freshford

St Lachtain was from West Cork and his forebears conquered the area here in the fifth century.

Built in 1731 the church incorporates a portal from 1100 at the main entrance.

During recent excavation, human bones were found at the entrance tracing back to 19 burials.

Amenities: There is full access to wheelchair users and there is a visitors centre and craft shop.

Opening hours and costs: The site is FREE to visit and is open daily, donations are welcome.

St. Lachtains Church Freshford St Lachtain's church

4. Windgap

Windgap contains a large number of items of archaeological interest, such as high crosses and ogham stones.

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In the Windgap grotto, visitors can explore mosaic features originally given as a gift by James Edward William Theobald Butler, third Marquess of Ormonde in 1915.

Tours of Windgap can be arranged in advanced with the local Tidy Towns group.

Amenities: There is a playground, picnic area and parking. Some areas of Windgap are unsuitable for wheelchair users as works are ongoing.

Opening hours and costs: All sites at Windgap are FREE to visit and open daily.

5. Talbot’s Tower

The medieval walls here at Talbot’s Tower were a symbol of power during the ninth to 17th centuries.

Talbots Tower was one of nine towers on the city walls and during the Middle Ages soldiers were stationed here to defend the city.

Visitors can explore the park area below which has seven interactive  below or book tour of Talbot’s Tower by appointment.

Amenities: There is wheelchair access to the park but as there are steep stone steps to the tower, access for those with mobility issues is restricted. There are no toilet facilities.

Opening hours and costs: The site is FREE and open daily from 8am-6pm.

Talbots Tower 1 Talbot's Tower

Thanks to Kilkenny County Council heritage office for recommendations.

LATER TODAY: Top 5 must-sees in Laois.

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