Day Six – Kilkenny and Cashel
Out of bed early to get out of town before some big “mini-marathon” race started right outside our rooms. We won’t miss the Fitzwilliam Guest House. Rooms were fine, but the heat came on every night, so we had to sleep with the windows on the street side openq. It certainly was interesting to hear people walking home from the pubs, singing, laughing and talking. One group at one, one group at three, one group at five.
We have always prided ourselves in navigational and map reading skills. However, after a day of driving, our first stop was at the car rental place to pick up a SatNav (European for GPS). We had finally decided the stress reduction of not having to look for street signs that usually weren’t there would be worth it. Improved family harmony and driver sanity for only $100 !!
Castles and Cathedrals
Off to Kilkenny and Cashel. First stop a gas station for coffee. Unbelievable. Good coffee at a gas station. I love this country.
It is clearly going to rain today. Good thing we had low expectations for weather on this trip !!
First site seeing stop was a medievel town called Kilkenny. It looks quite nice in the rain. We visited Kilkenny castle. This was a 1500’s castle that had the south wall destroyed by good old Cromwell in the 1600’s. Various improvements made over the years and was occupied by the British Butler family for over 300 years as their “Ireland residence”. They sold the castle to the Irish government 1935 and auctioned all the contents. Including the fabulous long hall with paintings and sculptures. They moved back to England.
Next stop was to the Cathedral St. Canices Beautiful medievel church with a typical tall narrow round tower for defence. Aaron was extremely disappointed that is was closed due to rain.
Off just after noon to a small town west of Kilkenny that is home to the famous Rock of Cashel. This was a castle that became a key religious center. To get the full story go <a href=http://www.sacred-destinations.com/ireland/rock-of-cashel>here</a>. The weather wind to the rain here, so we headed south looking for lodging, soon after the organized tour.
Short cutting through the countryside toward one of our key destinations (the Jameson Heritage Center) we spotted a likely looking B and B. The Bluebell bed and breakfast owners were at that very moment unpacking their car from their holidays. They were a bit flustered, but excited to have guests. The 19th century Farmhouse had been empty for 20 years before they recently repurposed it as a B and B. Brian and Bernie are the owners. Brian is a carpenter and a whiskey drinker. Jameson is his favorite. So friends, remember, don’t be an oddity, most people prefer Jameson.
On host Brian’s recommendation, we headed into the small village of Fornoy for dinner. Brian recommended the Chinese place above a market. It was quite good. We are noticing that dishes of all ethnic types are much less sweet than their American counterparts. However, Shannon doesn’t think sweet American food is a problem at all.
We had a quiet nights sleep in the country.