Why not take a stroll along the river, in the woods and valleys of Co Kilkenny? These are some of the best walks in the county.

With its winding cobbled streets, its castles, churches and markets around every corner, Kilkenny is a spot we’d happily wander around for a few days. While you’re there make sure to do more than shop and party, there is an abundance of great walks and hikes to discover. You’ll discover quickly that there is much more to Kilkenny than just hurlers and stag/hen parties.

Short Distance Walks in Kilkenny

1. Castlemorris Wood Walk

Distance: 7km

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For an easy going amble, opt for this stunning woodland walk. It will take you roughly 2-2.5hrs to get around the forestry roads. The route is one of a range of scenic walks developed by Trail Kilkenny that opens up Kilkenny’s wonderful countryside to those willing to explore on foot.

More info: Trail Kilkenny

2. Nore Valley Walk

Distance: 23km

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This is without a doubt one of the best river walks in the country. If you’re not up for a 23km distance, the Nore Valley walk can easily be split in two. The Kilkenny to Bennettsbridge section is 12km long. It follows the river as it meanders through the very best of the county.

Nore Vally’s Thomastown to Inistioge stretch is 10.9kms long. It takes you along the river and through the countryside where hopefully you will spot some jumping salmon, otters and Daubenton bats.

More info: Trail Kilkenny

3. The Islands Walk, Urlingford

Distance: 8km

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This 8km looped walk starts in Urlingford town centre. It is one for both history and nature lovers. You will pass such treasures as the restored quadrangular church and the 15th-century castle built by Celtic chieftains on the banks of the River Goul. When you enter the forest you will be greeted by a cacophony of trees and in the summer, a host of wildflowers.

More info: Walking Routes

Things to Do in Kilkenny: The Complete Guide for Outdoor Lovers

4. Tory Hill, Mullinavat

Distance: 4km

There is a choice of two loops in Tory Hill, both equally as splendid as the other. The first is the Sliabh Greine Loop. The second is Frochans loop. Both are 4km stretches following forestry roads and woodland tracks in Carrickinane Woods that bring you up Tory hill for some great views.

More info: Discover Ireland – Loop 1 & Loop 2

5. Jenkinstown Walk

Distance: 3km

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Just outside Kilkenny City is this lovely 3km Jenkinstown Walk. Along this walled garden loop, there is a small garden to commemorate the Irish poet Thomas Moore. The park is brimming with greenery, wild flowers and wildlife. This loop is one of a network of trails being developed by Coillte.

More info: Discover Ireland

Long Distance Walks in Kilkenny

6. The Barrow Way

Distance: 113km

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Walking the entire Barrow Way is something everyone who is into walking should spend a few days doing. At 113km in length, this walkway follows Ireland’s second longest river, the River Barrow. The journey can easily be broken into sections. It is one of our favourite riverside walks.

More info: Barrow Valley

50 of the Best Walks in Ireland

7. South Leinster Way

Distance: 104km

For a long distance walk, there is the 104km South Leinster Way. It begins in the village of Kildavin, Co Carlow, runs through Co Kilkenny and finishes up in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. The route encompasses the peaks of Mount Leinster (796m) and Brandon Hill (515m) and of course a riverside stretch on the River Barrow. Them quaint towns of Borris, Inistoige and Graiguenamanagh are particular highlights.

More info: Irish Trails

For a guided walk, the Paddy Lawlor from Hidden Trails will create tailored walks to suit your requirements.

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By Orla O'Muiri

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