Kilkenny etc.

To finish the story in Dublin – we got talking and didn’t make it out to O’Donoghue’s like we had planned. We did drop by to take a look the next day and the bar portion where the music is played is postage-stamp-sized. Next door is a nicer pub named after an Irish revolutionary by the name of Napper Tandy. We went there instead and listened to some Irish music.

During the day, we went to the Dublin Castle. Back in the 8th century, the location was the site of a Viking Village. Over the centuries, the castle was transformed from being a stone fortification to more of an administration office for the British and when Ireland became independent – a place for state functions (somewhat like the Governor General’s residence).

The name Dublin comes from the Gaelic dubs linn which means black pool where the river Poddle and the river Liffey met to form a deep pool at Dublin Castle.

The chapel associated with the castle (below) looks like it has stone columns but that’s an illusion; the columns and the inner roof are in fact hollow and made of wood. The architects realized that with all that stone, the building would sink so they had to fake it.

Finally we picked up our car and headed out to the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens. The grounds are fabulous – Italian Gardens, Rhododendrons, a Japanese Garden.

If you love your pets, then why not have a pet graveyard like the one below:

After Powerscourt Gardens, we drove to our new place in the village of Inistioge. The following day we headed out for a hike near the village of St. Mullins. On the way out of our village, we stopped by the river and had a long chat with a man who was fly fishing. He chatted with us for quite a long time, telling us the history of salmon fishing in the area as well as all sorts of other information. As we have begun to learn, the Irish do love to talk and tell stories.

By the time we had arrived at our hiking spot it was noon so we had lunch before heading out for a hike along the river and back via St Mullins village. During our lunch the owner of the cafe sat down and talked for quite some time and said at the end “you know the Irish like to talk”.

St Mullins was the site of a 7th century monastery founded by Saint Moling. The monastery was plundered by the Vikings in the 10th century. Then an Abbey was built on the same site. All that is left now are the unused Abbey, some of the walls from the monastery, a graveyard and a stone cross from the 9th century.

Saturday, June 1 we drove over to Kilkenny. Crossing one of the bridges across the river Nore on the way.

In town we went to a laundromat – the woman (very friendly) did the laundry – same price as doing it yourself. Then we took a walk into the centre of town with the idea of taking a walking tour.

Above is Kilkenny Castle and below is a monument to hurling – the most popular sport in Ireland.

While waiting for the tour (2 pm) we had lunch at one of the oldest pubs in Ireland.

The pub was started by Dame Alice de Kyteler in the 13th century. She was born in 1263, the daughter of a Norman banker. She started the pub after accumulating the wealth of 4 husbands (who all somehow died). Petty jealousies resulted in her being charged with witchcraft. She went to trial in 1324 and was condemned to be whipped through the streets and burned at the stake. However, she had friends in high places and managed to escape her fate and is thought to have set off on a ship to England. No one knows exactly what happened to her. Her maid however did not escape. According to our guide, this was one the only case of someone being burned at the stake in Ireland.

Our guide took us around the downtown area.

Smithwick’s Brewery (below) was founded by John Smithwick in 1710 on the site of a Franciscan Abbey where the monks had brewed ale since the 14th century until they were disbanded in the 17th century due to the reformation. The Abbey is still on the grounds. That brewery is no longer in use, however. Smithwick’s was bought out by Guinness and the brewery location in Kilkenny has been taken over by the city. They plan to revamp it into a business park but will maintain the Abbey.

Our last day at Inistioge, we went down to Waterford on a tour of Waterford Crystal.

They showed us some of their special pieces – gifts to Barack Obama, the NBA trophy, etc and the various stages of glass-blowing etc.

We had lunch and wandered around the Viking Triangle which is a area dedicated to Waterfords Viking roots.

Playing chess below can sometimes also be good physical exercise.

Some interesting window ornaments below.

We seem to get on a lot of back roads (our village is very small – 260 people) so you never know what you will meet.

While in Waterford, a woman opened up the gate to a Franciscan abbey. Talking to her we found out about an old estate up the hill from where we were staying in Inistioge so we went up and looked around. The gardens of the estate were massive somewhat like Powerscourt but neglected over the years – now being restored.

One last look at Inistioge before we head off to Kenmare on the west side of the island.

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