Where in the World is Connie? travel blog

Kilkenny Castle and its side gardens

Kilkenny Castle from the rose gardens

St. Canices Cathedral in Kilkenny

Kilkenny shop - cute name, hope the foods not just blaa though!

Kilkenny Castle - Wedding party #1

Kilkenny Castle - Wedding Party #2

Still heading in the general direction of Dublin, I travelled a little northeast of Cashel to Kilkenny, the medieval capital of Ireland.

I REALLY liked Kilkenny, with its narrow cobbled streets, cute little shops and trendy outdoor bistros and coffee shops. It had lots of spirit and a fun atmosphere, and was busy without feeling too touristy. I liked it so much in fact, that I tried to stay an extra night, thinking it would be a great place to just chill for a day. But it was the weekend and all the hostels and B&B's were full, so I was forced to move on after only one night.

In addition to being a nice place to hang out, Kilkenny has many cool things to see and do. There are walking and bus tours of the city, a cathedral, couple of abbeys and stately Tudor-style homes to snoop through, lots of shops, a market and an actual shopping centre for those so inclined, and more pubs than you can visit in a month.

They even have a small brewery with a daily afternoon tour (free admission and a free pint at the end of the tour) but the tour was mysteriously cancelled on the day I was there, much to my disappointment.

In the middle of town is Kilkenny Castle, set in a large parkland area. Originally built in the 12th century as a medieval stronghold of the Butler family, it was extensively remodelled in Victorian times and was still owned by the Butler family until 1935 when it was restored and opened to the public. Other than some shocking bright yellow wallpaper in the drawing room (what were they thinking?), it's very tastefully decorated and houses an impressive collection of artwork and antiques.

The Long Gallery, which holds an extensive collection of Butler family portraits from over the centuries, is absolutely beautiful ... a long and narrow room with lots of windows, its tall roof and vividly painted rafters are said to resemble the inverted hull of a viking ship.

While touring through the castle, I ran into some UK people I met at the hostel in Dingle - it's really a small world sometimes. And being a Saturday, I ran into something else at the castle ... not one but two wedding parties posing for photos in this lovely castle setting.

Other than walking around town a bit and doing the castle tour, I mostly spent my time in Kilkenny rambling from cafe to cafe, sitting outside, sipping good strong coffee (yum, haven't had that since I left France) and the occasional glass of wine, and just watching the world go by. I was content to simply relax for the day, knowing that I'd be in the big bustling city of Dublin tomorrow.

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