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Published: October 13th 2016
Katie and I
People say we look alike.
Ah Kilkenny. I don't even know where to start with this trip. I cannot help but gush on and on about my time here, so be weary. I had been planning to come to Kilkenny for a little while and I was in contact with my grandpa's sister Kathleen. Now, for background's sake, my grandpa was born and raised in Kilkenny and he has four sisters, three of whom are still living, and two who live in Kilkenny still. I left myself Friday morning from the Galway bus station at about half eight. Now, I'm not going to lie I was nervous. I had met and spent time with all of these people before, but I hadn't seen them in over five years. I was nervous I was going to impose too much on them and that it would be uncomfortable. I really don't know how much more wrong I could have been.
The bus ride to Dublin was long, but I very much expected that. I booked a ticket online that would count for a bus to Dublin and then one from Dublin to Kilkenny. Ireland very much has spaghetti roads (as Finn would say) in that Kilkenny may
Katie took me out on the town, it was grand!
not be far from Galway in terms of milage, but there was no direct path. I had to go to Dublin first because I was going by bus. My second bus was set to leave at 12:30pm on the dot. Well, don't you know my bus pulled in to the station at 12:32pm (it was supposed to arrive at 12:20pm) and the bus was gone. At that point my stress level peaked a bit. I was at Dublin airport alone, with little knowledge of the bus system trying to get to a place I was already nervous to go to. It was mad. I ended up calling Finn just to ease my nerves, and ease them she did. She has such a calming way about her that after talking I felt much better. I found out the next bus wasn't going to leave until half two so I went inside and go a wonderful iced coffee. At that point Kathleen rang me and I clarified what had happened. Then I passed by a really nice looking team of rugby players and the delay didn't seem so bad.
I sat at the bench and talked to grandma as I sipped
on my coffee until the bus pulled up. I had made it that far, I could do the rest. This bus sat in so much traffic that I didn't get to Kilkenny until about half five. Kathleen and her husband Chris were there to meet me before I even got off of the bus and they greeted me so warmly I instantly felt at home. We had a change of plans in that I was staying with Nancy instead of Kathleen because Nancy's home was closer to town and I had stayed there before. So I quickly dropped my belongs and the four of us headed to a wonderful Italian restaurant in Kilkenny. I keep ending up at Italian restaurants in Ireland, who knew? I had lovely pasta with a salmon sauce and red wine. It was so enjoyable to just sit and talk with them. They remind me so much of my own grandparents that I felt so at home.
After dinner and tea the four of us went down the street to a bar called the Left Bank. It literally used to be a bank. There we met up with Gary and his wife Fiona. Gary is
We visited the Smithwick's Brewery. I actually really liked it!
Kathleen's son and was recently married in May. They love grandma and grandpa. Actually, they all do and I can't argue with them on that. We stayed for a drink and then Gary and Fiona took me to a couple of pubs around Kilkenny. We went to one in particular called 'The Hole in the Wall' and it literally was a hole in the way. It was down an alley with a hand-written sign, and it was made of hundreds of year old stone. The place itself could fit about ten people max inside and upstairs was a little stage for gigs. It was so cute and cozy in there. Apparently this pub has been around since 1582 or something along those lines.
Fiona and Gary were absolutely great. The fact that they wanted to take me out was so nice of them, and then we had such a good time chatting. I really enjoyed myself. They dropped me at Nancy's at about 11pm and Nancy made me a cup of tea to take to bed. She had put a hot water jug under my covers to keep warm. I was completely floored and in love with that. It
was so cozy and comfortable I instantly fell asleep.
I woke up at about 10 the next morning and I came out to the kitchen to a full spread of everything you could think of for breakfast. There were options for toast and fruit, cereal, brown bread, tea and coffee and porridge. She even had homemade jam. I had the porridge with maple syrup and coffee and it was so lovely. After breakfast Nancy and I chatted for awhile until she had to leave to pick up Sally, her granddaughter, from riding lessons. So I went outside with a book Nancy had recommended and sat reading in the sun. She had told me grandpa did that every morning when he was there last with his paper.
At about 1pm Maryanne and Katie, Nancy's daughter and granddaughter, came in. Katie was going to take me around Kilkenny. We had met before when I was in Ireland last, but again we hadn't seen each other in years. It was like we had known each other for years though. She's so easy to talk to and she's so much fun. Maryanne, her mom, is just the same. She reminds me very
much of Kerianne's mom in her personality and it felt so familiar and nice to me.
Nancy came back and we had tea and coffee and Nancy's son Brian came over with Paddy and Sally. We all talked for a good while, and Jane, Nancy's daughter came in too. She was staying the weekend because she was going out with school friends that night. She has a two-year-old son named Joe who is just adorable. It's funny because last time I was over she had just been dating her now-husband, Sean.
Anyway, Maryanne drove Katie and I to Kilkenny Castle where the two of us went through and the gardens. Then we walked the streets of Kilkenny and I went into a gift shop and got a little snow globe and a postcard for my collection. Then we got coffee at a little shop. At that point we met up with Jane, Brian, and Paddy and we went in to the cathedral and we climbed the round tower. It's 121 steps up and the view that day was breathtaking. The sky was so clear and so blue you could see for miles.
After that Jane, Katie, and
I went to the Rothe House for a tour. It was nice, but it has so much potential for it to be so much more. Then the three of us met Maryanne for a tour of the Smithwick's Brewery. It was fascinating. They had these picture frames that acted as the historical figures in the production, but spoke the story to us. It was all so high-tech and really interesting. At the end we got complimentary drinks and I tried the Smithwick's red. I'm not usually a big fan of beer, but this one was actually really good. It was probably because we hadn't eaten much, but Katie and I were both saying we felt a little tipsy after that hahaha.
Jane took us back to Nancy's where we ate dinner and got ready to go out. I didn't really know what to expect honestly. Like I have been out in Galway and at home, but still. We went into Dunne's, got drinks, and drank them by the river first. Then we met up with her friend Liza and we went to two pubs that were a lot of fun. We ended up at the nightclub called Pegasus and
The Round Tower
The view from the top of The Round Tower. What a gorgeous day.
it was really cool. It was such a large venue it had a dance floor, outside seating, and two levels of bars. The best part was the music they played because everyone knew it and could sing along. Liza and Katie were so much fun too. Then we ended the night with delicious pizza. We got back to Nancy's at 3:00am, but in our defenses the night flew by and it didn't feel that late at all.
Sunday morning I woke up and ate breakfast with Jane and Katie. Nancy came home from church, and then Katie, Jane, and myself went to mass. By the time we came back Maryanne, Lar, Thomas, and Sean were there. We chatted for a little and then they all left. I was sad to see them go. At about 2:00pm Jane came back from talking to her friend and Kathleen and Chris arrived. They insisted on driving me back to Galway because they were horrified with the whole bus situation. I felt bad about it, but they told me it gave them an excuse to visit Chris' sister in Galway. At about 2:30pm we left to go back. I really am going to
miss Nancy and talking to her.
I don't know how else to express how truly grateful I am to be so loved by people who don't even know me very well. It was so nice to be with family when I was so long without seeing any. I truly had such a wonderful time.
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