C-Jane is the ‘Go-To-Girl-for-Facts’ and I’ll happily link you to her blog here. I prefer to write about metaphysical experiences and pure speculation. The Wikipedia page on Kilkenny was soooo-boring, except for the weather, which made little sense to me because it was in metrics and Celsius. So, here we go, you’ve been fairly warned.
That picture above is of the Kilkenny Cathedral in the background. We tried to get there, but we were so tired. An uncountable number of hours earlier, we’d walked with our luggage to the train station one mile down the road from our home, we then rode said train to the airport, flew from Portland to Chicago where we waited six hours to get on another plane to Dublin, where we met our awesome travel group and Donny, the bus driver. We didn’t sleep at all. So when we got to Kilkenny, the first stop on our tour, we had very little energy.
Donny proved to be a wealth of information. On the road from Dublin to Kilkenny, Donny tried to teach us some of the ‘old language’ which the natives call ‘Irish.’ English is still the primary language due to the long occupation of the ‘English’ in Ireland. He taught us to say good morning, which was hopelessly lost on me. But he did mention that ‘Kil’ means ‘church,’ so Kilkenny and Kilarny are church towns. Catholicism is the National Religion in Ireland except Belfast, which is still part of the Commonweath and is largely Protestant. (This seems to be a sore topic for some Irish, I recommend not initiating this topic for conversation. The country’s division isn’t a taboo subject, but I advise letting the locals open dialogue. Southern Ireland seems to be a little less hot about the gulf than are the northern Irish.)
We should have eaten there. It felt like destiny, but C-Jane had another agenda. C-Jane’s traveling style is very different to mine, just as her writing style is completely opposite. She does research, then thinks about logistics, and decides in advance whether or not an adventure is feasible. I follow a Hunter S. Thompson style of tourism, “Buy the ticket, take the ride,” but without my spray-can of mace and accompanying bullhorn.
I hate planning trips. I prefer to ask the locals what they are proud of, see whatever I see, purely by finding things accidentally. Finding the Blaa Blaa Blaa Deli was more than an accident, I felt it derived from Divine Providence—by God, we were in ‘Kil’kenny.
C-Jane used her Executive Power to veto my Blaa Blaa Blaa experience. She said “NO!” I cowered, too tired to resist. She then said “I want to drink local brew at a 700-year old inn.”
When you move from a state that is 150 years-old (Texas) to a state that is 100 years-old (Nevada) to yet another state that is 100 years old (Oregon), 700-years is incomprehensible. Here is an example—back when the colonies that would eventually become the United States still comprised of British religious nuts wearing big buckle hats and shoes while eating turkey with doomed, yet unsuspecting natives—the inn pictured below was already 350-years old.
That reality still doesn’t stick to the brain, does it? My dates above are not exact, but they are in the ballpark of reality. Metaphysically, it will do.
See the established date on the sign–1324AD. I’m not making that up. Nearly 700-years old. C-Jane and I enjoyed a pint of Kilkenny Red Ale. I wolfed down a half-order of Banger’s and Mash with a side of Sweet Peas. Yummy, yum—for real, they were good. Below is more history of Kyteler’s Inn. Posting the pic saves me from plagiarizing.
Finally, we hung out at the Kilkenny Castle, but we did not go inside. We wandered the grounds, found an old graveyard, (barely as old as Texas) and took several pictures. Soon after, we got back on the bus, talked with Donny, and eventually went to our hotel (which I’ll cover in a future post.) Here are the best pictures of the castle for your enjoyment.
Nothing says Middle Ages like a tractor and a back-hoe. Here, in case your eyes are as bad as mine…
Yes, the tractor dates back to the Norman Invasion of Ireland. Cromwell’s Knights rode them and terrorized the locals before using them to build this castle. That primal tractor is the last of its kind. Kept here in Kilkenny for anyone to see, free of charge. The castle tour costs 12 Euros, but the grounds are free.
Same castle, different vantage. I think we took this pic from the Green’s Bridge, but I forgot, and we were very tired on that first day.