So, we took off for Kilkenny from Dublin in the morning. This decision more or less established our itinerary, as we'd be taking a clockwise path circling the South and West of Ireland. The drive to Kilkenny was a short one, perhaps an hour and a half or so. One thing to mention about the roads/highways in Ireland is that they are in amazingly good shape. And, based on some of the warning signs, it seems that their drivers must be accustomed to their pristine condition. There would be signs that would inform you of hidden dips that were forthcoming. Moments later you would basically pass over the slightest unevenness in the pavement... and, that's the dip. Crazy.
Well, we get to Kilkenny, and we find parking in a lot somewhere along the River Nore. Oops, I mean, we found parking in a car park, which is the term used in a number of countries including Ireland. We walk along the river a bit and notice that there are signs warning you that stealing a lifesaver is tantamount to stealing a life. Maybe drowning is a common problem there, I don't know.
We walk around the city to pass the time, and we notice that Ireland sure has a lot of bookmakers. I think we saw several in Kilkenny, and we saw a crapton of them in Dublin. It's just not something I'm used to, but from conversations with locals during my trip, I hear they love to bet on sports. At some point, we end up at ... to have a drink as we wait for our first tourist spot, the Kilkenny Castle, to open its doors.
So, we get there and sure enough, it's a castle. That's a relief, I was thinking it was going to be another pseudo-castle experience. I thought the castle was pretty cool and worth checking out. Unfortunately, they did not allow any photography, and my recollection sucks. I do remember there was a giant room full of portraits, and if I recall, you could also observe an art restoration person at work in the back of the room. Of the many rooms, some of them had their own unique style, such as the Chinese Bedroom and the Blue Bedroom.
Afterward, we went off to grab some grub at Langton's, which was a restaurant within a pub. That's what it felt like anyway. I was not all that impressed. My food wasn't bad, but it was not anything remarkable. JC, however, really enjoyed her panini. Overall, the price wasn't too bad, so value-wise it was acceptable. To drink, we had some beer and also Bulmer's Irish Cider (exactly the same as Magner's, but branded under a different name in Ireland).
Here are a few pictures of food at Langton's.
Langton's - Lamb and Cabbage
After the meal, we walked around some more, and we saw a restaurant called Paris, Texas. Maybe it's not that funny, but I thought it was worth taking a picture.
Rothe House and Garden. This was another important tourist attraction in the city. It was a house and garden owned by the very wealthy Rothe family back in the 1600's. Inside the home were an assortment of artifacts that were unearthed on the property as well as old pieces of the original structure.
It was interesting to see everything... they even had some old newspaper clippings from way back (17th or 18th century). Here's one picture I took of commodities news.
The garden was accessible from a different part of the property, so you actually had to walk for a little bit to get to it. The weather kind of sucked, so pictures were not so nice. But, on the way to the garden, we did manage to see some Irish graffiti.
Once we were done poking around the garden, we walked around the city some more, and then we left for Cork, the second largest city in Ireland.
Stay tuned for the next installment.