Walking the streets of Kilkenny felt so much like home. It's really all centered around the intersection of three streets: Patrick Street, High Street, and the Parade. The city sprawls out around it a bit of course, but all of the action happens in the clustered, comfortable downtown.
While I was visiting, the Kilkenny Arts Festival (takes place in August) filled the streets with artists, musicians, and tourists from at least seven different countries.
Enjoyable restaurants, streets with sidewalks, and shops ranging from modern cell phones and fashion to the more traditional Kilkenny Design Centre offer days' worth of enjoyment.
From High Street you can cut through to the cobbled, car-less St. Kieran's Street via the Butter Slip, a covered alley which was populated by street musicians when I went through. St. Kieran's Street is the home of the famous Kyteler's Inn, which claims lineage somewhere around 700 years old and still serves a hearty meal and a fine pint of Guinness.
I took the time to explore the castle, the castle grounds (a free-access park during the day) and just to revel in the friendliness and charm of this place, especially during the Arts festival, as I think the locals were already expecting tourists. Everyone was very friendly!
You really can't go wrong spending a few days in Kilkenny. If you're into beer, the Smithwick's Brewery is also in Kilkenny, but unfortunately I didn't have enough time to visit it on this trip. Next time!