As great as it was to be back in Dublin, I was really excited to see some parts of Ireland we hadn’t seen yet. Our first stop was Kilkenny, a smaller town of about 25,000 people that feels even more small and cozy when you’re downtown. We dropped off our stuff at our airbnb (that had dogs, so again, pretty happy) and ventured out for a late lunch of Irish stew and shepherd’s pie. We wandered around town, which has a huge castle right in the center of town complete with a beautiful park, before grabbing a drink at the Pumphouse, one of the local pubs. We went home relatively early so we could fully explore the town the next day. That next morning we played with the host’s dogs as we ate breakfast before heading back into town. We walked up through the park that ends with the Butler Castle before finding out they had a little market of fresh foods and different home goods right outside the castle walls. We got some fish tacos (from the fresh caught fish stand next door) and ate them while sitting on the castle grounds. It always makes me feel like I’m living in the twilight zone/fairy-tale when I can be eating food while sitting by a castle built in 1204.
All full from tacos we continued to wander the town and taking in the sights. Just like almost everywhere we’ve been, Kilkenny has a lot of cute pubs and we stopped for a break and played chess at the Brewery House before wandering on. We eventually got to Creere’s, another cute little pub, which made me laugh when we sat down because I was the only female in there and we were definitely the only ones under 50. We ended up making friends with three older gentleman (typical Irish names: John, Mick and O’Neill) that sat next to us, they even bought us a pint, and enjoyed several drinks with them before I had to tell Caleb that I had to leave and eat something or I was probably going to pass out at the bar. We ate something I’m not proud of, but holy crap was it good: Papa Johns pizza. I really dislike eating food I can get back at home while traveling and pizza (especially Papa Johns pizza) is definitely on that list. With that being said, we ate a whole pizza and some fries in about 5 minutes and it was totally delicious. The next day was our last in Kilkenny, and we continued to get really lucky with weather and took the various paths through the park by the river Noor, eventually ending up back in the middle of town.
The day before we had walked past ‘The Black Abbey’, but didn’t go in, so today we were excited to be able to see inside, as the Black Abbey has the largest stained glass window in Ireland. There are a lot of different ‘Abbey’s’, (which are churches) normally named for the type of stone they use to construct the church. After wandering through the Black Abbey, we stopped at St. Canice’s Cathedral which was constructed between 1202-1285. It is the second largest cathedral in Ireland after St. Patrick’s in Dublin. It is probably most well-known, though, for the 100 ft tall “Celtic Christian” round tower, built in the 9th century…you know, only about 1000 years older than our country. The round tower is one of three towers like it left in Ireland. We ended our last day much like always, with getting a few pints here and there before heading home and preparing for the next stop: Cork.