Inistioge is a beautiful and historic village on the river Nore in South County Kilkenny. Its special character has made it one of the most visited places in the South East of Ireland for many decades. It is even called the “Pearl of the South East of Ireland”.
The village is located exactly halfway between Kilkenny and New Ross.
Inistioge has been the scene for a number of films, including: Widow’s Peak (1994), Circle of Friends (1995) and The Secret Scripture (2016). All films had an all-star cast (Minnie Driver, Mia Farrow, Chris O’Donnell, Adrian Dunbar, Joan Plymouth, Vanessa Redgrave, Rooney Mara, Eric Bana) and made the village famous. In 2013, Romantic Road was filmed here – a German production based on the script of the famous contemporary writer Cecelia Ahern.
The village situated by the river, among the hills, is a favorite, very romantic place of many Irish people, and those who discover this unique place once again often return here.
It is a small village with winding streets, lots of “little houses”, the so-called Cottage with small gardens decorated with plants and figurines. Some of them have very original decorations, such as flower beds made of old shoes (a house on Poyntz Rd).
Inistioge gives the impression of a place where the time has stopped and little has changed for generations, and the modern world seems to be very far away.
There are many attractions in the area: you can take a walk along the banks of the River Nore, which is lined with a 10-arch stone bridge from the 18th century.
On the northern bank of the river there is the Woodstock estate, the seat of the Tighe family, its proximity for over 200 years has had a great impact on the development of the village and its surroundings. The remains of Woodstock House are reminiscent of a rather disgraceful period in Irish history when many fine old houses were burned down during and after the Irish Civil War. Woodstock House is still in ruins, but the 19th century gardens have been restored by Kilkenny County Council and are open to the public. The best views of the river and valley are from the Woodstock Estate, high on the hill above the village.
St. Mary’s Church in Inistioge is a church in the centre of the village, part of which comes from the remains of an Augustinian monastery from the 13th century. The ruins of a 14th-century merchant’s house overlook a tree-lined square with a small park where you can sit and admire the surroundings. On the rock above the river are the remains of the Norman mottos and Bailey Castle.
And when you get tired of hiking and sightseeing, you can stop, eat and drink in one of the restaurants / cafes (including Circle of Friends, The Otter Bar, Old Schoolhouse Cafe) or in one of the atmospheric pubs (The Woodstock Arms, Lenihan’s and O’Donnell’s).
A walking tour of the village will take around 40 minutes, or maybe an hour without rushing.
I stopped for a coffee and scone at Circle of Friends (named after the movie Circle of Friends) which is a cafe by day and a bakery by night, serving home-cooked food in cozy dining rooms in a charming old house.
Visit official website: www.inistioge.ie
Location of Inistioge: