My birthday in Kilkenny!

This year I celebrated my birthday away from home for the first time in my life. Luckily, I didn’t celebrate alone! Saturday morn I was greeted by Ralf saying “happy birthday” to me! We left his flat early enough to catch the 9 a.m. bus to Kilkenny! It was a very dreary, chilly, hazy day (ergo the dark photos, sorry!), but at least it wasn’t raining.

We arrived there at 11 a.m. and headed straight for the castle. I managed to pass for a student so I paid less than half price to get in–felt good given that I had just turned 36 (I still can’t believe that I am 36. I certainly don’t feel it.)! The 13th century building went through many stages of development to become what it is today.


Unfortunately, they did not allow us to take photos inside. My favourite room was the Picture Gallery Hall. The ceiling of the hall was stunning; it was made to look like an inverted Viking boat. There was a very charming and well-informed man working there who was good enough to tell us all about the various portraits and to explain to me that the ceiling had Viking, Celtic and Aboriginal designs (from North America, although to me, it didn’t look as though it did). He asked me where I was from and whether I had any Irish blood (I am often asked that here) and when he found out that I was French Canadian, he put forward his best impression of de Gaulles’ very controversial “Vive le Québec libre”! He explained to me that there were some connections between some of the people portrayed in the hall and Canada. All in all, he was a very interesting man and I really enjoyed visiting the castle!

We were both famished after our tour of the castle so we wandered around for quite some time trying to find a quaint little restaurant (Ralf wasn’t in a soup and sandwich kind of mood), to no avail. There were mainly cafés and pubs where we were, so we settled for a very nice café which ended up having very good food. After lunch we went to visit Rothe House, which was built between 1594 and 1610. Rothe house is in fact a series of three houses and the garden in the back extends to part of the original city walls.

I enjoyed the garden and the bits in the courtyard between the houses too:

We went to check out the 13th century Saint Canice Cathedral but alas, it closed at 4 p.m. so we just admired it from the outside and enjoyed taking photos of the tower, which dates from the 9th century:

At the bottom of the stone wall above, we found some really nice urban art drawn on paper and glued to the wooden door:

After that, Ralf was feeling tired (he had not been feeling well for a week) so we went back to our b&b for a rest. Ralf gave me my birthday presents when we got there: a hilarious book entitled “A Year in the Scheisse: Getting to Know the Germans” and a lovely bottle of eau de toilette.

We went out to a Nepalese and Indian restaurant for my birthday supper and let me tell you, the food was outstanding; it was in fact the best chicken tikka masala I’d ever had and Ralf loved his lamb dish as well. After supper, we decided to go back to our b&b with a bottle of red wine, as we had to get up early the following day. As we were walking home, an elderly gentleman was walking towards me and he kept looking me in the eyes. Finally he said to me in the sweetest way: “are you OK? Are you looking for anything in particular?” I guess in such a small place it’s easy to spot a tourist even when they don’t have a camera around their neck!

Yesterday we only had a few hours to walk around the city and of course, it being a Sunday, everything was closed! We had a look at a really cool church that was still in use yet also partly in ruins:

We both love exploring graveyards and ruins so we took our time taking photos.

We then decided to just stroll along the streets and stopped for a coffee in order to wake Ralf up (it didn’t work)!

This made me laugh:

The city was not what I had imagined it would be but it was quite nice. The streets are very quiet and the city centre is quite big considering it has a population of around 8 860!

This was clearly from the same artist as above:

All in all, I felt that our trip to Kilkenny was too rushed; I would have needed another full day to see everything I would have liked to see, but I got a good taste of it. I could see myself living there for a while! As we walked to the bus stop to wait for our bus back to Dublin we realized that we had forgotten to have a Kilkenny beer!! Oops!

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5 Responses to My birthday in Kilkenny!

  1. Rhonda says:

    Cloudy days make for the best photos. The picture of the broken water trough in the garden seems very familiar some how. Have you been to see the Seven Sisters Cliffs? I used to meditate and the person who taught me to meditate always said for me to envision a place in my head where I go to find peace and solace in my meditation. I was so deep into meditation one day that I envisioned these white cliffs high above the sea and a great meadow behind them. I was looking through a dinosaur book of my son’s a couple of months ago and THERE THEY WERE. I googled them and lo and behold, they’re in England. My mother’s grandparents were born in the UK. I am now a great believer in reincarnation because when I saw something I thought I had made up, my jaw hit the floor. I’ve never travelled outside of Canada, did no history studies of the UK and Europe (only Canada) and no one I know has ever travelled to the UK except my husband and he didn’t know about the cliffs.

    • europilote says:

      It’s true they say that about photos, but I like to see a nice blue sky though I must admit! They have many beautiful white (chalk) cliffs in the UK! The most famous are the Cliffs of Dover. If you look at the beginning of my blog (or maybe you have!) I have a post where I go to Beachy Head with my friend Mark, well, that’s just East of the Seven Sisters! We did drive by the Seven Sisters on our way there…it’s lovely. I hope you get a chance to travel throughout Europe soon, you will be stunned!!

  2. Rhonda says:

    P.S. – The cliffs are called the Seven Sisters Cliffs.

  3. Kat says:

    Just catching up on your blog a bit…

    I really like all the pics of the grave-type things — the empty stone casket lying on its side is my new desktop wallpaper.

    I thought Blaa Blaah sandwiches was cute too 😀 Being too uninspired to think of a quirky name for a sandwich store (“Damn – what should I call the sandwich shop – oh, I dunno — who cares! Blah blah blah….sandwiches, sandwiches”) — resulted in a quirky name for the store!

    I hope your travels will take you to places with many flowers this spring. The tulips are coming up here and it’ll be good to see some colour.

    • europilote says:

      Ralf and I both enjoy exploring graveyards actually so I took lots of pics! Thanks! I feel very honoured that you pick my photos for you desktop from time to time!

      So true about the sandwich place, that’s exactly what I was thinking!

      I think the weather should be nice in Germany and Denmark; I can’t wait! There are loads of daffodils here in Galway, but no tulips! 🙂

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