The medieval Irish town of Kilkenny is on the River Nore, about a 60-mi/100-km drive southwest of Dublin. There you'll find interesting architecture, several abbeys and arguably the best pub in Ireland. Start at the tourist information center to see an audiovisual presentation of the town's rich history.

Kilkenny Castle is one of the finest castles in the country, and St. Canice's Cathedral, one of the largest in the country, is equally impressive. You can also visit the Dominican and Franciscan friaries and buildings from Tudor times, ending up for a bite of lunch and a pint of stout at Langton's Restaurant and Bar, voted Pub of the Year by various outlets so many times that it no longer participates in the competition.

Nearby, outside Thomastown, are the well-preserved ruins of Jerpoint Abbey.

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