Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ireland, Part 2: Kilkenny

Continued from Ireland, Part 1: Dublin.

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.

River Nore

Eventually, we make it into the heart of town, and we find their tourist office to get some help booking a hotel in Cork City for the night, as we were only planning to stick around Kilkenny for the day. We took care of everything, and we learned that due to the May Day bank holiday, the main tourist attractions had limited hours, but they didn't prevent us from being able to check them out.

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.

Ladbrokes Bookmaker

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.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle Close-up

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 - Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Langton's - Panini

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.

Paris, Texas

Okay, after we walked past Texas, we headed over to the 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.

Portrait of a Rothe House Resident
(I Can't Recall His Name)

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.

Commodities News from Long Ago

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.

Rothe House Garden on an Ugly Day

Some Grafitti in Kilkenny

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.

Some Street in Kilkenny

Stay tuned for the next installment.

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