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Kilkenny all a buzz and bustle beneath clear autumn skies

Kilkenny all a buzz and bustle beneath clear autumn skies

In Kilkenny right now everything is not just autumn, but pretty awesome too, and the Vanhalla crew can’t wait to get back there and to Tree Grove Camping. After our weekend break, we were like the cats that drank the cream.

Amber, gold, copper, yellow, maple, mauve, orange, orangery, orangie, rust and brown; all the leaves are down. Everything is autumn, delightfully so, beneath brisk and bright clear autumn skies in buzzing and bustling Kilkenny City.

Not for the first time this year we fell on our feet when we hit on Tree Grove Camping and Caravan Park on the outskirts of Kilkenny on the Bennettsbridge Road.

This campsite is a revelation and perfectly located for a weekend break within an easy stroll of the city centre. No wonder it is more frequently referred to as Kilkenny Camping.

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Normally, we’re on the lookout for a coastal spot, preferably with the possibility of some surfing or outdoor action and the possibility of a few tunes in the evening.

On this occasion we were on a different mission. We were in Kilkenny for the launch of my new book for children, The Last Beekeeper, which was taking place in the Gardens & Orangerie of Butler House. Tree Grove proved an ideal base, and I couldn’t recommend it enough as a perfect place to set yourself up for a weekend getaway in Kilkenny City, with all its charms and attractions. Come festival time I’d imagine Tree Grove gets booked out fairly pronto.

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Once set up, we prefer to walk if at all possible and from Tree Grove you can stroll into the city at your leisure in about 20 minutes. For safety there’s a footpath the entire route with a pleasant option of detouring along the tree lined canal walk or through the Kilkenny Castle grounds.

Tree Grove itself is set on an old Georgian farm estate, Danville House, a working farm and livery with Connemara ponies and adorable Shetlands your neighbours in the next paddock. Mature tree form the backdrop to this sylvian setting and were it not for the faint noise of passing traffic, you’d never think you were within a stone’s throw of Kilkenny City.

The services and facilities at Tree Grove are excellent, well maintained, and clean with plenty of space. A new facility on site is impressive glamping pods (€70 to €90 per night). Tree Grove’s ample hard stands are ideal for touring motorhomes, campervans, and caravan. Each pitch has a convenient EHU and water point. It’s also good to see that they facilitate backpackers and tents.

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For two adults and our campervan with EHU we paid €30 per night. Tree Grove is pet friendly and there’s no extra charge or tokens required for the ample showers, and that’s always a hit with us.

Tree Grove worked exceptionally well for us as we wanted to stay over and celebrate after the book launch and hit the jackpot again with some resplendent weather, which defied the forecast and left the deluge of the previous few days behind. What a location in which to wake up on a nippy misty morning.

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If you’re interested in children’s books, traditional seanchaí style storytelling, nature, the birds and the bees, then you may like to read up about the new book on my other website,

After the launch in the magnificent Butler House Gardens (which are open to the public and are now in full festive Christmas mode, including a letterbox direct to the North Pole no less) we hit the town and let our hair down!!

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Taking the ball out of the clouds – a monument to Kilkenny hurling.

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An exquisite take on a hare in full flight, a sculpture in stainless steel by Ani Mollereau, Hare (2014)

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A view along the River Nore. Spot the swan?

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Kilkenny is some spot, and safe to say, it won’t be as long before we return after a fabulous weekend where we enjoyed the hospitality of The Left Bank, and Rinnucini Restaurant in particular. The overall ambience of the city as we ambled about was a pleasure, the Castle grounds, the Butler Gallery, the historic sites, the river walk, and the Cat Walk sculpture trail is a blast. After our short impromptu weekend break in the city we were indeed like the cats that drank the cream.

In Kilkenny right now everything is not just autumn, but pretty awesome too, and the Vanhalla crew can’t wait to get back there and to Tree Grove Camping, which has to be one of the best-appointed campsites for a city break in the country.

You can contact Tree Grove Camping and Caravan Park at or 00353 86 8308845.

SEE ALSO: The sensational Sadies bring me back to my roots in Kilkenny

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John Whelan aka Johnny Renko reading from his new book The Last Beekeeper for Robbie Essie Art and Kayla Photo by Kevin Byrne

Storytime in Kilkenny. The Last Beekeeper is proving a hit with children of all ages.

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About The Author

John Whelan

John Whelan is a vastly experienced midlands based journalist and editor who has contributed extensively to the country's leading national and regional titles, as well as broadcast outlets. He runs the media services company, Communicate Ireland John is a keen camping and campervan enthusiast with an interest in music, culture, heritage and outdoor pursuits. He has written for the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and the Woman's Way on these topics. He is also an author, and his latest book, The Last Beekeeper, reflects his love of nature, the landscape and our shared responsibility to protect the environment. The Last Beekeeper is available to preview and purchase at Safe travels...

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