Because we (namely, I) didn't revel in the terrors of renting a car in Dublin city proper, with all of its strange traffic patterns and driving on the wrong side of the road, we opted instead to take a train to Kilkenny and rent a car from there. After a day spent driving around to see the Rock of Cashel and the Jameson Distillery, we spent a night in Kilkenny and had most of the next day to kill before catching the train back to Dublin.
|Looking over the River Nore in Kilkenny.|
|Saying goodbye to our little white rental. And all the bugs it accumulated in just one day of touring.|
We started our day at Kilkenny Castle (yours truly has a longtime love of old stone things). Imagine our surprise when we walked in from the street and were greeted with this on one side:
And sweeping views of a never-ending green park on the other:
We wandered the paths of the castle grounds for a while (it was a beautiful sunny day in Ireland--perfect wandering weather), and stopped and had a blaa in the front gardens. (The gardens were lovely; the blaa, unfortunately, paled in comparison to the amazing blaas we ate in Dublin).
From the castle, we headed to the Smithwick's Brewery, which had unfortunately *just* re-opened as a museum instead of a tour of the operating brewery. Still, who doesn't love beer museums?
Our bartender at the Smithwick's brewery convinced us to go to the Round Tower at St. Canice's Cathedral, which is apparently one of the few towers in Ireland open to visitors for climbing. Built in the 9th century, the tower has 121 steps.
|Going up was one thing. Climbing down those steep ladders? That was something entirely different.|
He conveniently failed to mention that these "steps" are actually "rungs on a ladder". And so started the tradition of my climbing up things in Europe that I was then afraid to climb back down.
But that's another matter, because the views were well worth it:
|Cool as a cucumber.|
|Gripping the handrail for dear life (but proof that I did make it all the way up!).|
|Looking down at St. Canice's from the top of the Round Tower.|
Pro tip: Don't look down.
See the rest of our trip (or rather, what I've posted photos of so far) here.