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Exploring Kilkenny Through Creative Walking Tours


Trail Kilkenny is the award winning, non-profit company formed to handle the development, promotion and maintenance of Kilkenny trail routes. It launched Ireland’s first smartphone app to help walkers and hikers find and navigate walks in the county.



Trail Kilkenny was originally formed in 2007, as an outcome of the work of the Leader+ Rural Development support, and is now funded and supported through the Kilkenny Leader Partnership (KLP). The company identified a need to redefine walking developments in terms of the many attractions the region could offer: river valleys, other “water margins” and the use of the countryside for recreation.


The aim is for Trail Kilkenny to lead and facilitate the development, management and promotion of a range of high quality trails for the benefit of visitors and county residents. Their objective is to develop and maintain a suite of trails to cover all potential users: walking, cycling, craft, food, heritage and themed.Through marketing and promotion Trail Kilkenny wants to achieve an image as the one-stop-shop for all trails in the county.

Main activities

Development / management of: i) walking trails and cycle trails for walkers and cyclists of all levels of fitness; ii) producer trails, including non-physical trails such as the Craft Trail; “Made in Kilkenny” and the Food Trail; “Taste of Kilkenny”, made up of Kilkenny’s best craft and food producers; iii) Heritage Trails, including the best heritage sites in Kilkenny; iv) Themed Trails: ghost trail “Haunted Kilkenny” and a Kilkenny canoeing trail; v) Kilkenny Walking Festival (April).

Results & Benefits

Kilkenny now has 11 ‘looped walking trails’, developed to Fáilte (Welcome) Ireland standard. Two cycling trails are established, plus the “Made in Kilkenny” craft trail and “Taste of Kilkenny” food trail. Kilkenny’s first canoe trail and ghost trail are currently in development. Visitors and residents can also experience the beauty of Kilkenny’s rural environment with the trail "Kilkenny Walking Trail app" (Iphone/android), allowing users to download maps, photos and descriptions of the route.

Lessons learnt

Trail Kilkenny has the potential to be the key driver of rural tourism within the County by using the trails to promote its distinctive natural environment. The success and uptake of all Trail Suites has brought a greater awareness of County Kilkenny and the overall Kilkenny brand. This awareness in return creates more opportunities within the tourism sector such as the Kilkenny Walking Festival launched in April 2012.

Project location and other information

County Kilkenny.


South-East (IRL)

RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

254 606

EAFRD contribution (€)

109 831

National contribution (€)

89 862

Private contribution (€)

54 913

Contact name

Sharon Stone, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership


353 (0) 56 7752111

Languages for contact


At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Non-farm or non-forest entreprises, Public/local authorities, Local Action Group, Other, Non-governmental organisations

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Rural Quality of Life & Economic Diversification
• Rural economic diversification
• 313. Encouragement of tourism activities


Leader, Tourism, Management plan, Natural environment

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