So on Monday night, just on a whim, and with a recommendation from one of Carmel’s friends I decided to move on to Kilkenny. Thats the cool thing about travelling by yourself, ‘leaving just on a whim’. Not so cool things would include ‘missing your bus-stop in Kilkenny and ending up in Callan which is a completely different town then having to sheepishly admit this to your bus driver who tells you he did yell out the name of the desired stop but you thought that was someone else asking to go to the desired stop and you have to get off the bus then cross the road and wait for another bus going back the other way’. That would’nt be cool. And you’d have to be a bit of an idiot to do something like that. It didnt happen to me….nope definitely didnt happen to me. But let this hypothetical (totally hypothetical) situation be a lesson to all who travel on buses to sit near the front where you can hear the bus driver when he tells you to get off – and dont wear your headphones..
After saying goodbye to Carmel on Tuesday afternoon I eventually found my way to Kilkenny. I was booked in for the night at Wesley house, a hostel in the grounds of the local Methodist Church. Its a three story place, rather old and really kitch on the inside – though I’m not sure whether ‘kitch’ is actually the intention… There is much religious signage, mismatching flowery decor and a set of those flying ducks on the wall – yep its definitely the coolest place I’ve been so far. I spent the first night in a nine bed dorm all by myself.
Wednesday morning I spent window shopping and just getting the lay of the land. The main feature of the town in Kilkenny Castle which dates from 13th Century. But the town itself (and its not very big – just two or so main streets) is full of existing Medieval buildings and cobbled roads as well as the more recent additions, with the river Nore running through the middle. The River Nore by the way is alot less sludgy and mildewy green than the river Liffey and so generally much more pleasant to look at.
That afternoon I decided it was time for some serious tourist action. After hanging my camera conspicuously round my neck and putting on all my gold jewellery, I set off….picked up some Mc D’s on the way, and with cellphone to ear all the while talking loudly in an American accent to my imaginary friend on the other end about how ‘yeah Kilkenny’s great but the people arent very bright and they really need a Starbucks here’ I found some old building. Might of been a church or whatever but they all look the same….. I climbed St Canices tower (110 steps with an awesome view from the top), an old stone construction built between AD 700 – 1000 (yes I had to look that up, Im not that clever), very much intact except for the very top section which no longer exists. Its kinda freaky climbing up totally surrounded by stone – its only a couple of meters across and very little natural light on the inside.
After the tower I continued on my touristy way, taking the guided tour through Kilenny Castle. You can only go in by way of guided tour if you’re wondering, otherwise I probably would have steered clear of the whole tourists enmasse thing. I much prefer to wander round a historically significant site on my own, trying to look intelligent while saying things like ‘hmm’ and ‘fancy that’ when really Im just wondering where the toilet is. But it was very informative and I learnt alot of things about several people called James. None of which I can remember. And so I will now consult the ever-present LP to aid in your pending history lesson:
Built in 1192 by Strongbows nephew (thats just some English guy). Main inhabitants were the powerful Butler family from 1391 – 1935 (including several named James). Maintainence of the building became a strain and it was gifted to the city who are still in the process of restoring it to’Victorian splendour’. There are some original furnishings but many are just random Victorian antiques. And copies of paintings. There were some amazing tapestries though.
Definitely an awesome building and worth seeing (for someone from little ol NZ (NZ wasnt even invented when the castle was built)), the idea of reconstructing what the interior would have looked like doesnt really appeal to me in some way. Its not very HPC (historically politically correct ) but I think I’d rather see it in ruins.
That night treated myself to a little restaurant dining, blowing the budget. Its potatoes for the rest of the trip.
P.S Americans rule so dont be sending me hate comments now.