Ireland Day 2: Left Hand Driving & Kilkenny

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We slept decently for the first night away. We were out by about 8am looking for breakfast. A gentleman on the street greeted us immediately with “You’re up too early. Dublin doesn’t get up until 10!” And he was closed to right! We found a Spar convenience store that was open, and got hot drinks and pastries.

The Hertz “city centre” location is not really in city centre, so we needed to take a cab about 10 minutes to pick up the car. We have a VW Golf diesel, very similar to what we had in Norway. I found that driving on the “wrong” side wasn’t difficult, but you always had to be thinking, you can’t for a minute rely on instinct. It’s a stick shift, which I like driving, but it adds shifting with your left hand to the equation. But why not?

We drove about an hour and a half south to Kilkenny. We are staying at the Pembroke Hotel Kilkenny, barely a stones throw from the castle. Our room wasn’t ready, so we just grabbed our cameras and headed to the castle. Built in the 12th century,  Kilkenny Castle served as the home of lords for over 600 years. We took the self-guided tour, and in the end, were ready to build ourselves our own castle.

We walked through town, which was absolutely adorable.Image

We headed to Cafe Sol, a restaurant Ellen saw in Frommer’s. A cute bistro, we made this the meal of the day, because we were pubbing in the evening. So I had salmon, and Ellen had the pasta special. Back on the streets, we wondered in and out of shops and made our way to St. Canice’s Cathedral. It is famous for it’s round tower.

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This church has the history of Kilkenny for centuries on its walls and floors. Was a wonderful history lesson. We stopped for afternoon tea and coffee and sat outside people watching. When we were done, we walked back to the hotel. In passing close to the castle, we took the picture at the top of this page, the sky was not blue at all when we first went past!

We checked into the hotel and then pretty much were gone again. This time we were off to Kyteler’s Pub for food, drink and music. If a place has been in business since 1324, you have to see it for yourself. We went downstairs at first for a drink. That was where the young folk were with the loud music and singing along. The Irish band was covering a lot of rock hits, from Pink Floyd to Fleetwood Mac. Almost felt like a scene out of The Commitments with the audience singing and enjoying the music. Image

We enjoyed a Kilkenny red ale and a Bulmers while watching the band, then went upstairs to eat. Ellen had Irish stew, I had a Guinness and fish and chips, and we listened to a traditional Irish trio as we ate. Image

We enjoyed the pub for what we were looking for. Kilkenny turned out to be a delightful town that easily took up the day. Walking the streets and exploring allowed us to immerse ourselves in Ireland. There weren’t many tourists here, so we felt we were getting a pretty authentic experience.

We’ve already bought admission tickets to Waterford for tomorrow, it will be the first thing on the agenda!

 

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