Kilkenny and hurling..the game, not the activity

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Europe » Ireland » County Kilkenny » Kilkenny
September 2nd 2006
Published: October 26th 2006
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I'm told Ireland is famous for their people - friendly and kind to a fault. Well that may be, but their bus drivers kind-of suck. Both the one I had coming from the airport into Dublin city centre who charged me three times what I ought to have paid, and also the one from Dublin to Kilkenny who disparaged me for not having bought my ticket from inside the ticket counter ("but dude, it says right here on the printout the bus driver is supposed to give it to me"; "yeah well it always SAYS that"; "right, well that's useful then, isn't it?"). Luckily he let me on the bus anyway so I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

Anyway, Kilkenny. It's small and...actually I can't think of another adjective to describe it which I guess says it all, really. There's a castle here - Kilkenny Castle surprisingly enough - apparently "one of Ireland's most magnificent fortresses" which, after seeing it, says something about my guidebook, Ireland, or both. The Castle was the stately home of the Butler family, who seem to be connected with anyone and everyone, from William Butler Yates down to the current George Bush - although why the Butler family are keen to advertise that particular connection is still a bit of a mystery, but go figure.

St. Canice's Cathedral, famous for nothing much except being old, was a bit of a letdown, but the obscure little Black Abbey down a narrow side alley in the residential part of town was really cool - and free - even better!

Today I was supposed to head back to Dublin around midday, but it just so happens that today is also the grand final of the All Ireland Hurling match between Kilkenny and Cork, so me and my new-found Aussie friend decided to stick around and watch it at the local pub. And hurling - woah - talk about a game with absolutely no rules whatsoever. You get a stick, a small ball, and you can basically hit it, throw it, kick it, headbutt it, anything you want to it as long as you get it to move. Or so it seemed anyway. I have no idea how more people don't get hurt in this game, some may call it skill but I'll just put it down to plain old dumb luck. It was pretty cool being in the hometown of one of the teams in the final though, and luckily Kilkenny managed to pull of a win too so drinks all round!

Irish are mad though. No doubt about it.

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These two old men would come out here every day around 2pm and just sit and chat about...whatever it is old men chat about. Baseball caps, by the looks of things.

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