Kilkenny is often called the medieval centre of Ireland, and the Medieval Mile Museum really encapsulates that spirit.
It’s a superb place to learn about Kilkenny’s rich history while examining relics and artefacts.
If you’re in the city, it’s a must, and don’t worry if you’re not exactly a history buff, there’s something for everyone.
Some quick need-to-knows about The Medieval Mile Museum
Before we delve in too deep, let’s take a look at the basics.
The Medieval Mile museum is housed in the former St. Mary’s Church, just a stone’s throw away from Kilkenny Castle, in the heart of the city. It marks the start point of the Medieval Mile Trail, a stretch of land that takes in a wealth of historic attractions along the way.
With both self-guided and guided tours available, there are several price brackets for the museum (prices may change):
- Entry with a self-guided, interactive audio tour costs €8 for adults, €6.50 for concessions, €3.50 for kids, and €22.50 for families
- Entry for a guided tour costs €12 for adults, €10.50 for concessions, €5.50 for kids, and €30.00 for families
- A guidede walking tour of the Medieval Mile costs €15 for adults, €13.50 for concessions, €7.50 for kids, and €40.00 for families.
3. Opening hours
The Medieval Mile Museum is open every day from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Guided tours typically run each hour, on the hour, but it’s best to double-check.
4. What it’s all about
The goal of the museum is to preserve Kilkenny’s civic treasures while enriching the cultural life of the city. It showcases exhibits and artifacts from across more than 800-years, using modern technology to allow visitors to immerse themselves in the history of Kilkenny.
About The Medieval Mile Museum
Kilkenny was once the medieval capital of Ireland and evidence of this is strewn across the city. From cobblestone alleyways to imposing castles, every nook and cranny is seemingly home to an exciting sight or attraction.
The bulk of these can be found along a mile-long stretch of the city, running through the centre and out again.
Castles, churches, and cathedrals abound, along with historic homes and streets. The Medieval Mile is packed full of things to see and do, with the museum acting as the starting point.
It’s from here that you can find guided tours of the mile, but there’s plenty more to check out inside as well.
The museum is home to an array of artefacts gathered throughout the city over the past 800-years. You’ll find ancient Celtic crosses, Victorian toys, and garments worn by the residents of centuries past.
With numerous interactive displays, you’ll soon be fully immersed in the history of Kilkenny.
Things to do at The Medieval Mile Museum
A visit to the Medieval Mile Museum is all about learning the stories behind the city and the artifacts on display.
The museum offers a number of ways to get involved.
1. The Medieval Mile Trail
The Medieval Mile Trail is a guided tour of the main attractions in Kilkenny. Along the way, expert storytellers will reveal the secrets of the various streets and lanes that criss-cross the city, while discussing the larger attractions and relaying anecdotes that bring them to life.
It’s a superb way to discover Kilkenny’s hidden gems and the fascinating stories behind them. The trail takes in a number of top sights, such as Kilkenny Castle and its grounds, St. Mary’s Church, the Black Abbey, and Rothe House.
The guided tour will also see you meandering down some of the oldest streets in the city. Tours typically take around an hour.
2. The guided tour
One of the best ways to get to grips with Kilkenny’s long history is to take a guided tour of the Medieval Mile Museum. Their expert tour guides will regale you with the curious stories linked to each exhibit and display.
In addition, you’ll be given an insight into the life of the everyday people who have called the city home over the years, while discovering facts and tales about some of the more notorious residents.
A guided tour is a superb way to gain an in-depth yet fun and easy-to-comprehend understanding of the history of Kilkenny.
3. The audio tour
If you can’t make a guided tour or prefer to take your time, a self-guided audio tour is the best way to enjoy the museum.
This immersive experience takes you on a journey through time as you delve into the rich history of each exhibition you come across.
Using your smartphone, you can scan a QR code to find out more about each item and artifact, while the audio guide reveals the stories behind them.
Available daily, there’s no time limit on the audio tour, allowing you to take your time and become fully immersed in the experience.
Things to do near The Medieval Mile Museum
One of the beauties of the museum is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Kilkenny.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Medieval Mile.
1. Butterslip Lane (3-minute walk)
Butterslip Lane is one of Kilkenny’s most iconic walkways. The historic alley slips off the main road into an almost magical world of quirky buildings, cobblestone streets, and intriguing shops. You’ll find some great places to eat and shop here, and since it’s pedestrianized, it’s an ideal place to relax for a little bit.
2. Kilkenny Castle (4-minute walk)
Kilkenny Castle serves as the beating heart of this historic city and it’s well worth dropping by to see what it’s all about. The grounds are free to visit, but it’s also worth grabbing a ticket and taking a peek inside, where you’ll discover immense dining halls, cosy drawing rooms, and much more.
3. Dominican Black Abbey (8-minute walk)
Built back in 1225, the Black Abbey has had a turbulent history, starting off life as a friary for the Dominican Blackfriars, before being conquered by the crown. After years of neglect, the blackfriars finally regained it, and the past couple of centuries have seen an incredible restoration project unfold. Now a public place of worship, visitors can enjoy a number of sights, such as the immense Rosary Window.
4. Great food + old-school pubs
There’s plenty more to Kilkenny than history, and its thriving hospitality scene stands as testament to this. The city is home to some fantastic pubs, with something for everyone. You’ll find old-fashioned talking pubs, bustling late bars, historic inns, and much more. Meanwhile, an array of restaurants and cafes serve dishes to suit every taste, from hearty breakfasts to Michelin Starred dinners.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.