Written by Green Dragon on 13 Nov, 2008
Tuesday, July 4th: Sheep caca!Happy Independence Day! Not here in Ireland! Just another day here (well, aside from World Cup games, of course). We had our first real rainy day today. So far all the days have been either bright, cool and sunny, or overcast…Read More
Tuesday, July 4th: Sheep caca!Happy Independence Day! Not here in Ireland! Just another day here (well, aside from World Cup games, of course). We had our first real rainy day today. So far all the days have been either bright, cool and sunny, or overcast with brief periods of mist and sun. Today it was just plain raining, lead skies grey above us. The night had rung with the sounds of thunder and barking dogs. One of the other couples at breakfast were all set to go hiking to Inistioge in this. Poor souls!I wasn't feeling well again (never was perfectly well all trip, but usually well enough to sightsee). K and T went into town for the morning while I slept. They went to the internet café and made more photo CDs, got some smoothies, and then came for me.Our first stop was Kells Priory. It was raining, but not too hard. Which was good, as the place was a virtual caca minefield! There were a couple hundred sheep and goats running around the grounds, and the ground was fairly covered with their gifts. The rain made it more dangerous, slippery and slimy. There was some construction work going on in the priory itself, so we went to explore the other parts. It was a huge complex, with dozens of rooms and areas. Most of it was in ruins, so we could only imagine what this place had been like in its heyday. We started back after our explorations, and just as we did it started coming down harder. However, by the time we got to Knocktopher, it had pretty much lightened again. We went into the Abbey (where I had stayed 4 years ago) and tried to eat at the Bistro there (it was housed in a circular tunnel in the abbey itself) but they weren't serving lunch, only dinner later that day.On to Jerpoint! Jerpoint is a Cisterian Abbey near Thomastown, where we got a very nice, informative tour by Amy. I've been here before, but liked it just as much this time around. The carvings on the sarcophagi are incredibly detailed, and the gallery was impressive.We were getting hungry, but there was little in Thomastown to eat, so we went on to Inistioge, the town where Circle of Friends was filmed. In fact, the restaurant we ate at was called Circle of Friends, and was on the main square in the center of town. The lunch was very good, and presided over by two Jack Russells looking out from a window above us on the patio (their names, per the chef, were Troy and Lucy). T had the pizza with chicken, tomato and sweet corn, while K and I had the steak and mushroom special. We had a starter of garlic bread with cheese, which was like a white pizza and was fabulous!We saw what might have been the store used for the film (as the main character's father's shop), and a tower up on the hill that was supposed to be a watchtower. We tried to find something signposted 'Swiss Cottage Ruin and Falls' but failed horribly. Instead, we came across a little road to Coolhill Castle, which turned out to be on private property. A nice old gentleman directed us there, but it was all locked up behind fences. We drove up to a town called Gramenamagh and then back to Kilkenny, across several very beautiful and picturesque bridges (like Bennetsbridge). Unlike out west, there were no signs warning of 'dangerous bridges' so we lost our fear of being attacked by such bridges.We went back to the internet café where we copied photos again and went to the B&B, packing up for tomorrow's checking out. Close
Monday, July 3rd: Expensive laundry, impressive churchesWe got going at our normal 7am, and had a wonderful breakfast. Brigit does Full Irish Breakfast right - complete with homemade Gooseberry Jam, stewed plums, prunes and apricots, grapefruit and cereals. She had fresh-squeezed juice (very important to…Read More
Monday, July 3rd: Expensive laundry, impressive churchesWe got going at our normal 7am, and had a wonderful breakfast. Brigit does Full Irish Breakfast right - complete with homemade Gooseberry Jam, stewed plums, prunes and apricots, grapefruit and cereals. She had fresh-squeezed juice (very important to we spoiled Floridians!) poached eggs, wonderful tea, and the normal fare - black & white puddings, sausage, bacon, and homemade biscuits! Our company for breakfast included two couples from California.We went to find the one laundrette in town. My it was expensive! E15 a load - E14 if we did it ourselves, so we just went ahead and left it with the lady at Brett's, and went to Kilkenny Castle for some touristy fun. The long gallery, with over 150 paintings in it, was very impressive, as were the beautiful Italianate gardens. The lovely odor outside the toilets was less impressive.We went to pick up our laundry and headed to St. Canice's Church and Cathedral. The Church itself was very pretty, but the Cathedral was more impressive. Again, it was crawling with Italian school children, all laughing and swinging on the gravestones. There was a concert going on inside at the time (choral) and it was lovely to hear. We drove to the mall parking lot inside city centre and found (by accident) a small museum called the Roche House. It is set up as a demonstration of how a local merchant had lived in medieval times, very interesting. The upstairs gallery was beautiful, with carved wood furniture. There are several levels in the house, and it has many displays of old coins, costumes, and such. Definitely worth it!We found lunch at a pub called the Widow McGrath's, where the publican was young and cute - I had the steak sandwich while T and K had the BLT. None were great, but they weren't awful either.We went to the Black Abbey next, a Dominican Abbey that was gorgeous inside and out. The stained glass was beautiful, with flame-like designs behind the main altar. The abbey was built early on, and there was one statue of Jesus from the 1240s near the back. On to St. Mary's Cathedral. This was a real treat, and was the most reverent place of worship we visited on our visit. This was a beautiful place, though not more or less than others. It was the sheer hush of the place, the quiet and solitude that distinguished it. Simply stunning. I questioned why there were two cathedrals in one city, and evidently St. Mary's was Catholic, while St. Canice's was Church of Ireland. After our heavy dose of churches we went to the mall and walked around, people watching. We saw a lesbian couple making out in one corner, (very young) and several Indian families with babies around. We went into a music store and got a couple CDs of local stuff, and then went down to find a converter. I discovered (having relied upon it working) that my car converter did not fit (was too small) for the cars here. It worked fine in English cars, so I figured it would work here. I needed it to recharge my video camera batteries. Found one at Sherwoods (after going to Agus and Ryan's first) and we went back to the B&B to sort our laundry out.We complained to each other a bit about the poor folding job the laundress did (for that much money, she could have taken more care). And we rested a bit and then went out to dinner. Brigit recommended Kyteler's Inn, the oldest pub in town (est. 1342); it was named after Dame Alice Kyteler, a local witch. Kyteler's menu looked good, but they stopped serving at 8:30pm, and it was 9 - so we went across the street to Marble City, which Brigit had also recommended.The recommendation was much deserved - the food was delicious and the staff very friendly. K had quiche while T and I had pannini sandwiches with chicken, brie and garlic mayo. It had to have been one of the better sandwiches I've ever had! After dinner (they were closing down as we finished, but never rushed us) we went across to Kyteler's again, as we saw some musicians setting up. K had a pint of cider while T and I had some Bailey's. I tried to open the window, as it was very hot inside; the guy at the table near it tried to help (he climbed to it like a monkey) but no luck. The band, Caladh (which means Safe Harbor) was great. They played traditional music with a banjo, believe it or not. www.caladh.com is their website, and we got CDs of their music. They played jigs, Kerry polkas, The Entertainer (which melded into Irish music near the end, very strange), the Man who Drank the Farm, Banish Misfortune, etc. The lead singer, Liam, also told a very bad joke about Connor Carney, who was always very cold. You know, he was a Chilly Con Carney.Brigit had left some tea out for us when we got back from the B&B so we relaxed downstairs and read for a while. Coming back in to our room we had a visitor, a result of leaving those windows open - a mosquito-eating mosquito. We got it to go it's merry way, and off we went to dreamland. Close
Sunday, July 2nd: Castles and CottagesThis morning we got up early, finished the last of our snacky-food (such as the smoked salmon and some little fruit pies). Our first stop was Cahir Castle, on the way to Kilkenny.We drove through Mallow and found Cahir with…Read More
Sunday, July 2nd: Castles and CottagesThis morning we got up early, finished the last of our snacky-food (such as the smoked salmon and some little fruit pies). Our first stop was Cahir Castle, on the way to Kilkenny.We drove through Mallow and found Cahir with no problem. Indeed, it was right next to the road through town, it would have been very hard to miss! The castle itself is very intact, and the interiors are set up as they would have been several hundred years ago. The 'open' stairs on the side of the wall were a bit agoraphobic (no railings on either side, just wall on one side) but doable. I wandered up to the third floor of the main building. It was nice and spacious, with very little furniture, but incredibly stifling hot. There were tours going around in English and Italian. Yes, more Italian tourists everywhere. Some (about 30) were having a picnic on the interior courtyard grounds.Next we went to the Swiss Cottage, which was adorable. No, it's not really Swiss. Yes, it is really cute and looked like something out of a fairy tale. It wasn't meant for anything more than a day trip stay, so as the guide mentioned, it was impractical for overnight stays. But charming nonetheless - with beautiful painted wallpapers and latticework. There are no photos allowed inside, but the outside is fine.We had lunch at a place called Ladywells, which was down the street from the incredibly crowded (with Norwegian tourists) The Rock Café. K had chicken liver pate with mushroom and thyme soup, while T and I tried the pasta carbonara. I think we'll pass on that again - it was rather bland and didn't sit right with either of us. I didn't even finish it, which for me is sacrilege. We had just sat down in the window (where a tree molested K) when a horde of Ohio students settled upon the place.On to the Rock of Cashel, seat of Irish kings such as Brian Boru and the Church for many hundreds of years. This is, and has always been, a most impressive edifice. We wandered around a bit, and waited for the German version of the AV presentation to finish; English was next. I tried several times to get a great shot of a doorway in a doorway to a cross, but hordes of tourists kept getting in the way. Finally, I noticed it was clear, and scooted over to take the shot. Took several, in fact! I also got a really cute shot of an older couple sitting together in a decorated alcove. I'm going to call it 'Till Death do we Part.'If anyone is thinking of skipping the Rock of Cashel, I'll ask you to reconsider. It really is a marvelous example of castle-turned-church, and cannot fail to impress in it's location and sheer size. Despite the crowds of crawling tourists, I was once again struck (have been there before) by the beauty of the place.After we were awed by Cashel, we went on to Kilkenny, which wasn't far away. We found City Centre, and after I found the castle, I got my bearings; we found Alcantra with little trouble. Brigit Holohan, our host, was delightful, and settled us into a triple room - a double bed and a single. It was very hot, but by the time we returned in the evening, the open windows cooled it down considerably.We went into town for dinner, after getting a recommendation for Langstons from Brigit. I had been there before 4 years ago, and it had been very smoky (we left quickly that time). However, no more smoking is allowed in pubs, so it was just the 1970's tacky furniture that looked funny. However, we did eat there, after checking into the local internet café. T had the club sandwich, I had steak ciabatta sandwich with portobella mushrooms, and K had the chicken roast. We had a starter of deep fried brie with berry compote, and it was absolutely delicious! I really enjoyed my steak sandwich, though it was definitely the type you ate with a knife and fork. I tried the lemon cheesecake for dessert, but didn't care for it at all - very dry and almost no flavor to it.We went for some pints and tried to find Cleere's for some traditional music, but couldn't find it anywhere, though we kept passing by the silly place. Frustrated by our poor navigation, we gave up and went back to the B&B. There was no TV in the room or downstairs, so we read a bit. I cleared my photo cards onto my 30G memory storage with no problems. The traffic along the road behind the B&B wound down to almost nothing around midnight, and I slept rather well. Close
Written by ladyanne47 on 13 Jun, 2006
This was my second visit to Kilkenny, the first was a whirlwind tour while passing through and onto Cashel. It impressed me then with it's dark and ancient buildings and even more so now that I got to see it again. I especially like the…Read More
This was my second visit to Kilkenny, the first was a whirlwind tour while passing through and onto Cashel. It impressed me then with it's dark and ancient buildings and even more so now that I got to see it again. I especially like the business of the town and even though it is a favorite tourist attraction, they seem to mingle well in and among the locals. County Kilkenny can be seen to compose of two areas around the City of Kilkenny: North Kilkenny the limestone plains in the North are doted with many historical and monastic sites including St. Kierans Church near Johnstown and Glashere Castle near Urlingford which in the 16th and 17th century belonged to the Ormond Butlers.South Kilkenny attracts many tourists each year with its wonderful monastic ruins like Jerpoint Abbey. The Abbey is regarded as one of the most famous Cistercian settlement in Ireland. Close to Thomastown is the Mount Juliet Estate part of which has been turned into a Championship Golf Course and has been host to the top players in the world.Kilkenny City the Medieval Capital of Ireland has its history dating back to the Norman era. The majestic 12th-century Ormonde Kilkenny Castle overlooks the two fords of the River Nore. The castle has a tunnel which leads to the stables which now houses the Kilkenny Design Centre, where Irish Arts and Crafts are displayed.Information from:www.irelandview.com/countykilkenny Close
Written by beckyt on 21 Oct, 2003
Arriving in Kilkenny from the north, it's hard to think much of the place. The approach to the town centre is down a long road lined with terraced housing and small, typically Irish bars. I'd been to Kilkenny 3 years before, and this road was…Read More
Arriving in Kilkenny from the north, it's hard to think much of the place. The approach to the town centre is down a long road lined with terraced housing and small, typically Irish bars. I'd been to Kilkenny 3 years before, and this road was one of the two things I'd remembered clearly, the reason for that being that the Bus Eireann bus station is at one end and the town centre at the other, and the distance in between stretches on forever when carrying a huge backpack. The other clear memory I had of Kilkenny was of the pub, Matt the Millers, and God only knows how I remembered this place with the amount of partying that me and my backpacking mate had done that week, 3 years ago.
This time, though, I arrived in Kilkenny in style....well, in a car and not by bus. Every year, the company I work for has a 3-day conference (alcoholic binging session) somewhere in Ireland, and this year it was Kilkenny. When I'd heard this, I was over the moon, because although the rest of my memories of Kilkenny were hazy, to say the least, they were still good.
So anyway, we all arrived at the hotel we were due to stay at, and before long, the evening had arrived and the hotel bar filled with people easing into a holiday-like atmosphere. At this stage, I have to add that we weren't the only alcoholics in the bar that night; there were two weddings on as well. Around 12-ish, a tipsy me and some workmates headed off into town to find a different watering hole.
Matt the Millers, the big pink bar situated right on the bridge in the centre of Kilkenny, called to us. Arriving there at a time later than the usual closing time for an Irish pub on a Monday night, we opened the door to find half the local population of Kilkenny county stuffed inside. After some issues with the doormen about paying a 5-euro entry fee, we found ourselves at the bar with drinks in hand.
The pub itself is quite big, although it doesn't seem it, and is split into about five different levels. For this reason (and the fact that the toilets were down some steep steps in the basement), I wouldn't recommend it for people in wheelchairs.
The bar is very much a young persons' pub, especially on the weekends (and random Monday nights!), although on the weeknights, they often get traditional Irish bands to play, apparently.
As it happened, we'd stumbled into the coming-home party of the under-21's All Ireland Hurling Champions after their win over Galway. This was the source of great amusement in our group, as we were all from Galway, and since there were six of us, we were outnumbered by about 100 to 1. That didn't matter, though, as the drink started flying (literally) and the band and then the DJ started cranking out some of the cheesiest music ever.
The night got wilder and wilder and the dancing more and more drunken as the night went on, and at 3- or 4-ish, we staggered back to the hotel, where everyone else was still drinking in the hotel bar (boring!).
It was one of the best nights out I've had in a long while, and the funniest thing about it was that it really was deja vu to the first time I was in Matts, also on a Monday night, all that time ago. This tells me that either 3 years ago, I walked into a similar celebration and never realised...or that the people of Kilkenny party like that on a Monday night all the time!
Either way, I highly recommend a visit to Matt the Millers on whatever night it happens to be, and I daresay that it will be as memorable an experience as my two times were.