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Published: March 22nd 2008
Ireland - Kilkenny
8:00pm Sunday 16th March
Jetlag caught up with us last night, and we slept on and off, despite our beds being so cosy and comfy. Both of us woke up a few times but luckily we ended up feeling quite refreshed when we got up about 6:30am. We snuggled in bed for a while then had a nice warm bath and went down to breakfast. There was already a table of American women there, visiting from Heuston, Texas and we chatted to them for a while, and Reagan got the lowdown on Disneyworld for when we visit in July. Breakfast was lovely - fruit, cereal, bacon, eggs, toast. After breakfast we met Nicola’s sweet little boy Callum, who is 1, and Reagan played with him while I packed, then Nicola offered to drop us at the next B&B we were staying at, also in Kilkenny. We had to move around a bit in these few weeks with accommodation being harder to come by over the Bank Holiday weekend and with Easter approaching. Even though it was too far to walk into town, and after only one night I was sad to not be staying on longer
at Newlands as it was truly lovely.
Yesterdays rain had disappeared overnight and we woke to a sunny day, albeit still only about 6OC so very crisp and cold but invigorating. I am really enjoying the change to a colder climate after hot ‘n muggy Singapore and Reagan is enjoying the excuse to rug up in her new beanie, gloves, long johns and coat. (If you come to Ireland at this time of year, do yourself a favour and go to a good outdoor shop and buy some decent lightweight base layers and a good wind stopper to wear. They might be expensive but they are so worth it. We went to Mountgain Design & Kathmandu in Perth for ours, but there is also a good shop in Killarney, called Sport Corran Tuathail at the outlet shopping centre next to the train & bus station that sells a better range for kids too - I couldn’t get much for Reagan in Perth. I am going out every day in Killarney wearing
After we dropped our bags at our next B&B (Rosquil House) we went to see Kilkenny Castle. It did not disappoint us. We cant take photos inside
hbowever you can wander around the grounds of the castle. To see inside you can only do so on one of the guided tours, which lasts for about 50 mins. Anne, our guide, was a veritable wealth of information and as we passed through huge, opulently decorated rooms, she told us about the history of the castle and the families who had lived there in the past few centuries. Going by memory here so might get some of this wrong (yes Andrea, I am a scatterbrain!), but I think the castle itself dates back to around 1400, although many parts were added and rebuilt right through to the 1800’s. In the 1960’s the earl to whom it has passed over the generations donated the castle for £50 to a local restoration company, as it had been sitting vacant for over 30 years and had fallen into disrepair. The company couldn’t take on the cost of restoration so they donated it to the local heritage fund and they have done such a job in getting it back to its original condition. The size of the castle is enormous and its hard to imagine the cost of the upkeep of such a
place. The walls in some places are over 3 metres thick and the furnishings are obviously costly. Many of the pieces on display are replicas - the restorers were able to see how it was decorated from old paintings and letters dating back to the times when the castle was used - however there are about 15% of the original pieces from centuries ago. Huge Italian marble tables, masses of family portraits, a massive original staircase and several of the old four poster beds. The ceilings and floors have been restored in many places (beautifully done too) and even have cornices gilded with 24 carat gold leaf. The original Norwegian oak vaulted ceiling in the long room (which took over 2 years to construct and hand paint), the old tapestry chairs, French silk wall coverings with horsehair backings and bookcases of fragile old books - as you wander through you get a great sense of the people who lived there and what their lives must have been like. It’s like stepping back in time. Reagan was completely enthralled which I didn’t expect - I thought she might be bored but she drank it in and couldn’t stop exclaiming with wonder
at everything she saw. After the tour we wandered though the extensive gardens which have been beautifully landscaped and are filled with evergreens and daffodils. We behaved like Japanese tourists with the amount of photos we took. (Nikki... I love my new camera!)
Wandering up John Street, we came across a little shop selling Irish souvenirs so we ducked in for a look. Most of the shops are closed today as it’s a Bank Holiday long weekend in Ireland, for St Pat’s Day on the 17th. We hadn’t been inside for more than 2 minutes when Reagan decided to try on a silver claddagh ring and got it stuck on her finger. We ended up getting it off (she wanted to lick it!) - the look on her face when the shopkeeper asked her jokingly if we should get the scissors was quite funny and it came off in quite a hurry. We learnt how to say “kiss my arse” in Gaelic (Pog Ma Thone, pronounced Poh-g Mah Hone) from one of the signs in the shop which Reagan is using in every sentence she thinks she can get away with. I.e. “Mum, my hone is cold” or “Mum,
my hone will be sore from sitting on the horse”. She cracks up every time she uses it - I can just imagine what she will be teaching the kids at school when she goes home ha ha. She’s a funny little chickie. My name is on heaps of things here (Kelly is Gaelic for “warrior maiden” ha ha). Andrea, so many things I can hear you saying to me as I write this! Reagans name is also Gaelic (it means “little queen”) but so far we haven’t found it on anything, although she valiantly looks in every shop we come to. The owner of the gift shop was a great chatterbox and we had a good natter for ages. He gave us a map and marked a few places on it, and suggested some good decent and inexpensive places to eat. We took his advice for lunch and ended up in a typical Irish pub in High Road where we settled back and relaxed for a sandwich and a beer (for me) before we headed back to the B&B which was about 10 minutes walk from town. There are no street signs (or none that we could decipher!) and
also no street numbers for some reason, so finding our way back was quite funny, we did a lot of “yes I remember passing that” or “hmmm I don’t remember seeing that..” but luckily between us we remembered well!
Tired again tonight, jetlag still catching up with us, so we had a quick dinner at The Brog Makers pub a few doors down and Reagan was fast asleep within about 5 minutes of her head hitting the pillow. Bed for me too.... we’re moving onto Cork at midday.
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