Tourist Attractions

Using Newlands Country House as a base will open up the all the attractions of the area to you in Kilkenny and the south east region

KELLS PRIORY ( The hidden secret just 5mins drive from Newlands Country House and best of all it is free of charge)

The Augustine priory of Kells is situated alongside King's River beside the village of Kells, about 15km south of the medieval city of Kilkenny. One of its most striking features is a collection of medieval tower houses spaced at intervals along and within walls which enclose a site of just over 3 acres. These give the priory the appearance more of a fortress than of a place of worship and from them comes its local name of 'Seven Castles'.

Kells Priory was founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert in 1193. FitzRobert was brother-in-law to Strongbow and the priory succeeded an earlier church which was dedicated to St Mary, the Blessed Virgin and served as parish church to nearby Kells village. During its first century and a half the priory was attacked and burned on three occasions. It seems likely then that the walls and fortifications date back to this period of unrest.

In 1324 the Bishop of Ossory Richard de Ledrede paid a lenten visit to the priory. Following an inquisition into a Kilkenny sect of heretics, Alice Kyteler and William Outlawe were ordered to appear before the Bishop to answer charges of witchcraft. Outlaw was supported by Arnold de Paor, Lord of Kells who arrested the Bishop and had him imprisoned in Kilkenny Castle for 17 days. This caused great scandal and on his release the Bishop successfully prosecuted the heretics. Alice Kyteler fled to England and remained there.
Dissolution of Kells Priory finally took place in March 1540 and the church and property were surrendered to James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormonde.
The existing extensive ruin mostly dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. It consists of a church, a chapel, prior's residence or sacristy and a number of domestic buildings, all standing on an enclosed site of some 4 acres.

This superb castle is located on elevated ground beside the river at the south-eastern end of the city. The castle was built in the thirteenth century on the site of an earlier fort. However, the present building is vastly different from the stronghold erected by Strongbow in the middle ages. Despite this, the present structure retains the architectural lines of a medieval castle. The building forms three sides of a quadrangle, with three of the four original round towers intact. The Butlers, the Earls of Ormonde (an Hibernicised Norman clan), occupied the castle from the fourteenth century onwards. In modern times, the castle has been restored to its former glory by the state, and was officially open to the public in 1976. There is an exhibition hall open to the public in the Old Castle Stables.

Kilkenny Castle provides guided tours, an art gallery, a café during summer, extensive grounds and a childrens play area.

JERPOINT ABBEY, Thomastown,Co. Kilkenny
An outstanding Cistercian abbey founded in the second half of the 12th century. The church with its Romanesque details dates from this period. In the transept chapels the visitor can see 13th and 16th century tomb sculpture. The tower and cloister date from the 15th century. The chief delight of the Abbey is the sculptured cloister arcade with unique carvings. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting exhibition. Access for visitors with disabilities. Guided tours available.

The National Crafts Gallery is located in Castle Yard directly across from Kilkenny Castle. This gallery was initiated by the Crafts Council of Ireland with the objective of stimulating an innovative and quality design ethos in the Irish crafts sector. The gallery boasts an impressive range of craft exhibitions that successfully communicate and showcase the cultural and commercial attributes of the craft sector in Ireland.

Shee Alms House is situated in Rose Inn Street and was founded in 1582 by Sir Richard Shee. The purpose of these institutions was to take care of the poor, and this Tudor Alms House is one of the last remaining buildings of its type still in existence in Ireland. The building has been recently restored and now accommodates the Kilkenny Tourist Office.

This central Kilkenny landmark dates from 1761. Erected by Alderman William Colles, the Thosel served as the market for the city (the word 'thosel' means literally a marketplace). Architecturally, the building has a double length arcade with an impressive Georgian Council Chamber room positioned above the arcade. There is a clock tower on the steeply pitched roof, and the southern wall contains the Kilkenny coat of arms. The original building was badly damaged after a fire in 1987, but has since been completely restored, and now serves as the City Hall.

This magnificent sixteenth century Tudor town house is situated on Parliament Street. Built in 1594 by John Rothe, the building consists of three houses with courtyards. Rothe House currently houses the museum and library of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. Within the museum there are a number of exhibits including period costume displays and a genealogical centre.

The cathedral is situated on James's Street, and dates from the mid nineteenth century. The building is accessible from the Black Abbey via Black Mill Street. St. Mary's boasts a 200ft high tower and superbly carved altars

William Marshall (Earl of Pembroke) founded the Black Abbey in 1225 for the Dominicans. This impressive building is situated on Abbey Street, and features a tower and some magnificent windows dating from the original the original structure. The Dominican abbey was dissolved in the sixteenth century and subsequently became a courthouse. Fortunately, the abbey was restored to its former glory in the nineteenth century enabling it to be reopened as a church. At the Abbey entrance, one can find a series of monumental slabs and stone coffins dating from the middle ages.

Black Freren Gate is located in close proximity to the Black Abbey on Abbey Street. This landmark is the sole existing remnant of the entrance gates in the medieval city walls.

William Marshall (Earl of Pembroke) founded St. Francis's Abbey in the thirteenth century. In recent years, the Abbey has been the oratory of Smithwick's Brewery, famous for 'Smithwicks' and 'Kilkenny' ales. The building features a bell tower, a Chancel, and the superb east window. In the sixteenth century the Abbey was possessed by the state and given to the corporation. Fortunately, the building has been completely renovated in recent years.

MOUNT JULIET, Thomastown,Co. Kilkenny
Deep amid the rolling hill of Ireland's beautiful south east, lies Mount Juliet, Twelfth Century origins. A leisurely pace of life and a traditionally generous hospitality combine with world-class sporting amenities and conference facilities, making Mount Juliet a place of contrast and surprises, unique in its combination of old and new. A sporting Paradise, rich in history and tradition. Nothing can prepare you for the warmth of its welcome. Enjoy golf, horse riding, shooting, tennis and the spa and leisure centre. Or simply relax in the most idyllic surroundings imaginable.

St. Canice's was erected in the thirteenth century, and is accessible from Irishtown via St. Canice's Steps. The cathedral features a magnificent tower that offers impressive views of the city. The cathedral evolved over the centuries and was unfortunately damaged by Oliver Cromwell's troops in the seventeenth century. This Kilkenny landmark features a fascinating collection of monuments and tombs dating from the Tudor era.

KILKENNY COURTHOUSE (formerly Grace's Castle)
Kilkenny Courthouse formerly known as Grace's Castle is presently used for sittings of the Circuit and District Courts.The site was originally a town house of the wealthy Grace family who leased the building to the crown in 1566. Used as a jail from 1566, it was transformed into a courthouse around the end of the 18th century.

Set in the former gardens and stableyards of the Wandesforde Estate, visitors to the Discovery Park can enjoy both indoor and outdoor experiences;
Outdoors, soak up the beautiful nature & wildlife of the 80 acres of mature woodlands which has over 6km of walking pathways; relax & enjoy the thrill of catching rainbow trout on restored fly and bait angling lakes.

Children can enjoy the rare animals who reside in the former walled gardens as well as the fun-filled playground designed especially to reflect the natural beauty of the park.

Indoors, in the interactive multimedia exhibition ‘Footprints in Coal’ learn about the Castlecomer Coalmining Heritage which stretches back four centuries, and was one of Irelands foremost coalmines.

Relax in the beautifully restored stable yard which, boasts a wealth of local crafts-people; Silversmiths, Goldsmiths, Potters, Stone-carvers, furniture restorers & artists who produce and display and sell their inspiring crafts. The Park offers group packages, educational packages for schools as well as training in a range of crafts.

The beautiful Woodstock Gardens and Arboretum are located overlooking the River Nore Valley and the picturesque village of Inistioge. The gardens date to the 1740's with the main development taking place in the 1800's. A period of disrepair followed during the 1900's following the burning of Woodstock House, however in 1999, Kilkenny County Council undertook an ambitious programme of garden restoration which is now well advanced. Features include a walled garden, rose garden, rockery garden, a recreated Turner Conservatory, a collection of rare and exotic trees in the arboretum and much more including many tranquil woodland walks. Group tours by request.

The Hidden Treasure just Five minutes drive from Newlands. An Augustinian Priory founded in 1193. Adjacent is an old mill recently restored with original features and structures  open as a visitor centre and crafted area. Round Tower originally protected a wooden church.  The Celtic cross dates from the 9th century and stands over the burial site of Niall Caille, High King of Ireland.


Some useful contact details to enhance your travelling experience;

Warrington top Flight Equestrian     00353-56-7722682

Kiltorcan Raceway Karting Circuit     00353-56-7768914

Kilkenny Golf Club     00353-56-7765400

Gowran Park Golf Club     00353-56-7726699

Mount Juliet Golf Club     00353-56-7773000