Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland as well as a weekend getaway for many Irish citizens. Well regarded for its vibrant nightlife, it has become increasingly popular in recent years. The city is also famous for its many mediæval buildings and is referred to as the Marble City after the black polished limestone ['marble'] that was quarried around the city. Despite its small population, it holds ancient city status due to having a cathedral and an old royal charter dating from 1609. The locals do not take kindly to the city being referred to as a "town". In the mid 1960's various arts and craft enterprises were set up in what was the stables for Kilkenny Castle. These still exist in various forms and in the county particularly Thomastown. The city plays host to three festivals which bring large crowds from all over Ireland. In May the Rhythm and Roots music festival take place in pubs and other venues around the city. On the June bank holiday weekend the Cat Laughs comedy festival take place. In August the Kilkenny Arts Festival, second only to its Galway equivalent, takes place. Venues for this last festival include the Castle and St Canice's Cathedral. The city centre is bookended by it's two primary tourist attractions. St Canice's Cathedral to the north in Irishtown and Kilkenny Castle at the opposite end located on the Parade. The city has the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the country. Indeed on the occasion of the State purchasing St Mary's Hall Ireland's paper of record, The Irish Times, stated that "St Mary's Hall in located halfway along the trail of the most significant medieval urban landscape in Ireland". All year round the coaches which line the Parade underline the popularity of Kilkenny as a tourist destination. The lower end of the Parade, from the Castle to the traffic lights at the beginning of High Street has recently been redesigned. It has created a pleasant pedestrian zone and also permits a nice vista of the Castle from High Street. It is currently the location of the only public toilets in the city. This new crude structure has had its appearance softened somewhat by the placing of tourist information boards across the front. These are well worth reading and will aid your enjoyment of our historic city. The tourist office, open all year round, is in Shee Alms House, on Rose Inn Street. This is five minutes walk from the Castle. As a rule Kilkenny is a white collar city with one notable exception. Smithwicks which is still brewed at St Francis Brewery on Parliament Street. Glanbia formerly Avonmore, a giant in food production, has its administration headquarters on the edge of the city having being founded twelve miles away in Ballyraggett, Co. Kilkenny. The main venue for performing arts is the art deco Watergate Theatre located between Parliament Street and Irishtown. The predominant sport in Kilkenny is hurling. Hurling is one of two codes in the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Hurling is played with a wooden stick called a hurley. Using the hurley you hit a cork ball called a sliotar. Kilkenny as a county is the most successful team in terms of All-Ireland titles in the country. The local GAA stadium is Nowlan Park located ten minutes walk from the train station. The nickname for the team is the Cats. If Kilkenny are playing in the All-Ireland Final on the first Sunday of September, the city and county is decked out in the team colours of black and amber. It will be the talk of the town if they reach the Final. The Final is played in Croke Park, Dublin. As a matter of curiosity I believe Kilkenny maybe the only place in Ireland with a street called The Parade. Only in Kilkenny and Dublin is there a Parliament Street.
Sightseeing, partying or a spot of shopping in Kilkenny's array of excellent shops, this city is certain to have it all for everyone.
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