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A Walk in Kilkenny City

A Walk in Kilkenny City

I had arranged to meet Tara and Miriha at 8.30 on Tuesday morning and we were going to take a trip around Kilkenny city. I know Kilkenny pretty well as I went to boarding school in the Loreto Convent and I also lived there for a while.

Met the ladies and as we’d never met before we sat chatting for a wee while, then we set out for Kilkenny Castle. That was the one thing the girls wanted to do was see the Castle.

I pointed out the Tourist office to them as we walked past, few realise that the building is the tourist office. The new tourist office on the street is under construction and will probably be ready in the next month. Then we get to the castle. In all the years I have had connection with Kilkenny I have *never* gone in to the Castle before.

After we walked into the Castle grounds  we saw was the media room where they have a video about the Castle, it’s history and restoration so we went in there to watch that. Very interesting.

Then, off we went to the Castle itself. Unfortunately they don’t want you to take photos in the Castle. I stuck with photographing the outside :)

The work that went in to the restoration of the Castle was incredible. Carpets and wall paper were reproduced.

It was a really interesting time that we spent in the Castle. As we went through the sitting room (I think!!) we stopped to listen to a lady whose name was Anne and whose surname I forgot to note (she may have been a Cleary). Anne knows her stuff, she was so interesting. I’d never known that they had tea chests and the tea chest in the Castle is quite a big one. It has four containers for tea leaves and a central area where the different teas were mixed to make the type of tea that the family liked to drink. Back then tea was a precious commodity, tea leaves were not left lying free in the kitchen. The owners of the house kept their tea leaves with them! We talked to Anne for quite a bit, she brought the rooms to life for us.

Then we got to the picture gallery. The 2nd longest room in all of Ireland. They don’t have anything like the volume of paintings that they had hanging in the library when the family lived there but what is hanging is very impressive. What made it more impressive for us was that we began talking to the man in charge of the picture gallery when we were there. His name was John Kelly and Tara is descended from a Kelly family who left Ireland. John as with Anne, really knew his stuff. We got to talking about Dunamase in Laois and he knows so much of the history about Dunamase and how it connects in to Kilkenny Castle. I was a bit worried in case the ladies would not be as interested in this kind of ‘old stuff’ as I am, but I needn’t have been worried, they both loved it.

One of the things that Tara commented on as we were walking along is ‘how friendly the Irish are’. I never know that we are any different from other people, I just know us as us. Put an Irish person in Australia and they will meet up with more Irish people. In some ways it’s amusing. It was very nice to hear her say it. The night before when they wee out for the night, they met up with a couple from Bangor and when we were sitting in the lobby this couple passed through and stopped to chat away for a couple of minutes. This is one thing I say all the time to people who come here (searching their ancestry), go into the pub find the oldest man you can, offer to buy him a pint and he’ll tell you the history of the town – seriously. Maybe, just sit beside him, get yourself drink and then ask him how he is, what he thinks of the weather and work your way from there

We left the Castle and headed over to the Craft centre where Miriha found a piece of jewelry she had been looking for. Then, we had lunch in the café and headed out to go to ‘The Hole in the wall’ I had been told that we had to go to the Hole in the wall by people on the Kilkenny Down memory Lane Facebook page. The ‘Hole in the Wall; was the residence of Thomas MacDonagh (1901-1904).  I think John told us that the Hole in the Wall is owned by a heart surgeon who bought it because he wanted to keep that venue open. I *think* it is a pub with a whole load of culture. It’s up an alley off the High Street (Main Street) of Kilkenny City. It was closed when we got there but I’m still going to leave the photo I took from the High street in this collection BECAUSE I had never heard of the Hole in the Wall before. I had seen the sign in the past, but didn’t know what I was looking at.

Around about the entrance to the Hole in the Wall we met up with 3 other American people who the ladies were traveling with. Maggie decided to join us. I wanted to show the ladies St. Mary’s which is being renovated except it was all locked up and we couldn’t get in.

On one of the buildings beside St. Mary’s we saw this wonderful mural created by ‘DanLeo’. It is possible that this is two people and not one man called Danleo?

Just back on High St. and we saw the surname Kelly so as Kelly is one of Tara’s family surnames we had to photograph that:)

'J. Kelly'

‘J. Kelly’

I brought them down one of the ‘slips/steps’ so that I could show them where Kyteler’s Inn was – as they were going to Kyteler’s Inn that evening.

Ahh – before that the Tholsel and I’d never noticed what I have photographed below on the side of it before

on side of Tholsel

on side of Tholsel

From Kyteler’s Inn we ended up outside the Bank of Ireland where there is a head of ‘St. Canice’ – patron Saint of the Diocese of Ossory (which takes in bits of Laois as well as Kilkenny)  I did photograph the St. Canice image but that was with my iphone!

Pointed out Rothe House.

On to the old Courthouse (is it still the Courthouse?) and before we got there I spotted the sign below on the pillars at the entrance to Dunne’s Store car park.  The entrance to the Smithwick’s Tour / building is right be side the Courthouse.

Tara went in to make enquiries about the Smithwicks Tour. From there off to St. Canice’s Cathedral which was just a little bit up the road – and I forgot to photograph the steps. I’m so sorry.  I did catch a few of the pubs.  John Cleere’s is one that I am familiar with and whenever you are in Kilkenny check to see if they have any musical events in their back room.  Just check the pub anyway, it really is nice.

The ladies all wanted to go up the Round Tower in St. Canice’s and there was no way I was doing that!

Sent them off, then I paid to take a tour of the inside of St. Canices Cathedral. Took a load of photos but I am going to create a page for from-ireland with the photos from inside the Cathedral. I did take a few shots outside.

We still had to go to the Black Abbey, I just so wanted to show it to them. I wanted them to see the windows and everything about the Abbey. It is such a beautiful place. The ‘tour’ that the ladies wanted to take in Smithwick’s was at 4pm, I said I think we can do it and have you there by then.

I brought them back to Smithwicks through the old arch that is part of the old Kilkenny wall and we got there at 3 minutes past 4pm, the tour that they had wanted to take was at 4!  They went for the next one. I said my goodbyes and left them then.

All in all, our little ‘walk’ around Kilkenny including the Castle tour began about 10.30am and we made our goodbyes after 4.03pm.

Tara and Miriha said they had a wonderful time.