This morning, i got up bright and early, enjoyed a free breakfast at my hostel, and caught a train from Dublin to Kilkenny!
Why Kilkenny, you ask? I don't really know, to be honest. this "Ireland in one week" part of the guide book i have said to go to Kilkenny, and since i really only knew a few things i wanted to do, i figured i'd go to Kilkenny for s's & g's. Weeelll Kilkenny probably wouldn't be on my personal "week of Ireland" list, but I found a way to make it more than worth it : )
To be fair, Kilkenny is such a quaint, picturesque Irish town that I can't complain too much :P There's not much to see in the city proper in terms of landmarks or specific sites. There's Kilkenny Castle, where they were nice enough to give me the student discount since i'm studying at Aberdeen, which saved me about 3.50 Euro, so that was cool. They didn't allow any pictures inside the castle, though! and just like at the Book of Kells exhibit, they were like hawks about the picture thing. I'd considered sneaking a pic of some old books or
something, but BOOM! always, somebody lurking. ah well. In terms of cool castles, Kilkenny is the candle to Neuschwanstein's sun. It really never stood a chance. It was undeniably cool in its own right, but i highly doubt i'll ever see another castle whose "cool" factor is half of Neuschwanstein's.
After the castle, i grabbed a sammich and a glass bottle of diet coke at a bar called John Cleere's, which is very popular locally, and chatted the bartender up a bit. He said "God bless you" on my way out. He was a really nice guy. In fact, a whooole lot of the people here seem nice. That "waving/saying hello to strangers" that I miss from Morris is here. I think it's a great thing, people taking time to acknowledge one another. Being greeted by a stranger makes me smile : )
Other than the castle, Kilkenny is kind of known for peddling wares. I'm not the biggest shopper, so i started searching for things to do about midday. I found out the village of Kells (i know what you're thinking, "not this again" lol) is only about 9 miles south of Kilkenny! instead of taking a
taxi and arranging for a pick-up, I decided to rent a bicycle for 15 Euro. It's been more than a few years since i've ridden a bike, but it was so much fun. RIDE BIKES EVERYDAY! haha the guy, who was a little slippery, gave me a helmet and a "don't hit me" vest, and really, really vague directions on how to get the road that would run me straight down to Kells. At one point on my way to this road, i saw a couple of high school-aged boys and asked them for directions, they told me i'd have to cross the road and head down a side street off the next roundabout. I, like a complete idiot, forgot what country i was in and biked across two active lanes of traffic!! and ended up biking *against* traffic hahahaha i looked over my shoulder to see the two kids cracking up like "holy crap look at this crazy American" and i was laughing hard myself like "i cannot believe i just did that and i'm so glad i'm not dead right now" :P ends up, the road they pointed me to was the wrong one, so about 5 minutes
of biking later i turned around and found the right road lol
The route to Kells was gorgeous. I wish i'd bought a better camera for this trip, because a lot of the things i want to take pictures of are landscapes. These. were. gorgeous. It was wild and wide-open. you could see longer than you could walk in a day. It was so quiet. It was so peaceful. The houses out there were pretty fancy, too lol but i didn't take any pictures of those, because i don't think i'd want people taking pictures of my house, you know? and i'm sure they get a shit-ton of that come July, anyway.
I made it to Kells in about 45 minutes (the bike guy told me to expect an hour. what. up.), tied the bike up, and walked in to the ruins of the Kells Priory. if you don't know the history here, read some of this, it's really interesting, i swear! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kells_Priory and if you haven't seen "The Secret of Kells", give it a chance! : )
After poking around Kells for a while, and walking through a part of the ruins that i think were
supposed to be blocked off (whoops lol) I biked back, 40 minutes this time :P but i swear i wasn't killing myself, i was just on a good roll, and kind of watching the road but more watching the landscape, and next thing i knew i was back in Kilkenny! haha for dinner, i went to this italian place next door (i had pub food last night, give me a break! lol). To be fair, the only reason i chose this place was because food is a little expensive in Kilkenny, like 15 Euro (25 bucks) average for a burger-and-fries type of dinner, and this place had a special menu marked at 10 Euro. Weeeelll, that was the kid's menu. if I spoke italian, i might have picked that up hahaha it didn't look like any word for "child" that i know in any language, so i really had no idea. I ended up getting Chicken Vesuvia, i think? i thought it was going to be something super cool, and it was, i guess, but it was like chicken parmesan. idk what vesuvia means as a food suffix, but i'm sure the google machine will tell me haha.
about it for today! i bought a ticket for a bus tomorrow morning to Cork, it'll be about a three hour bus ride, and i'm hoping to get some pics of the countryside, but knowing my camera it probably won't work out. I'll have to keep my eyes open. This hostel offers free towels, so i grabbed a shower tonight. I packed a towel, but if i can save my towel from getting damp and having to dry it out before packing it back up, i'm all over that.
two big things about today, the 12th: first, it's my brother Kyle's 27th birthday!! happy birthday, bro!
second, i'm exactly one month from being back in the states!! i want to keep seeing as much as i can here, but i really can't wait to get back, either haha it's such an odd feeling :P
OK, this has gone on for too long. Cork tomorrow! i'm surely going to Blarney Castle, but idk if i'll kiss the Blarney Stone. it gives the gift of gab, and i think i've already got that gift. double-gab and i might never shut up lol
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