The riverside medieval city of Kilkenny is just 80 miles (129 km) from Dublin, and the route between the two is quick and easy. The most convenient way to make the journey is by rental car or private transfer, which takes about 1.5 hours. The cities are connected by major highways, so the drive is fairly straightforward.
Public transportation is another option. Ireland’s regional trains are quick and direct, departing from Dublin’s city center for a trip of about 1.5 hours.
If you prefer the bus, private companies are your best bet. They tend to have shorter travel times, at around two hours, while regional buses can take up to three.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 1.5 hours
The most convenient way to get from Dublin to Kilkenny is by car—rental or private transfer. You’ll leave Dublin from the west and connect to the N7/M7 highway. If you’re lucky with the weather, you’ll catch glimpses of the Wicklow Mountains to the east as you begin your drive. Eventually, the road splits and you’ll follow the M9 highway south until you meet with highway N10 to Kilkenny.
The town of Kildare is a 10-minute detour from the highway and a great stopping point if you’re interested in experiencing some of Ireland’s famous horse racing. The Brownshill Dolmen—an impressive prehistoric portal tomb—is a 2-minute detour and near the town of Carlow, a great place to grab lunch or a coffee.
Duration: 1.5 hours
The train is an excellent alternative to driving. Direct trains leave regularly from Dublin’s Heuston station—on the west end of the city center—and arrive in Kilkenny in about 1.5 hours. The route curves northwest around the Wicklow Mountains, passing through the towns of Kildare and Carlow. Grab a seat on the left side of the train to catch a glimpse of the hills, if the weather allows.
Duration: 1.5 - 3 hours
You can also take the bus, although most routes are longer than driving or taking the train. Private companies—such as Dublin Coach—offer the quickest option, arriving in Kilkenny in about 1.5 hours. Other private buses, as well as Bus Éireann—Ireland’s regional bus service—take a bit longer and/or require connections.