The Road Wasn’t All That Rocky

My initial plan was the catch the 8:28 train from Kilkenny to Dublin, but it occurred to me that this initial plan involved me getting to Dublin four hours before I could check in to Kilronan house. So, I decided to sleep in a bit, have a leisurely breakfast, and take the 11:41 train.

The weather turned this morning in Kilkenny. The sky clouded over, and the temperature dropped. I have to say, I found the coolness very welcome after the last couple of days.
The weather turned this morning in Kilkenny. The sky clouded over, and the temperature dropped. I have to say, I found the coolness very welcome after the last couple of days.

Train travel in Ireland is very nice. The coaches are large, the seats are comfortable, there’s wifi on the train, and it’s just a very relaxing way to travel. What it isn’t is punctual. I don’t think I’ve been on a train that arrived or left on time. They’re never very late – only train that was more than ten minutes late was the one that broke down before leaving the station.

So, I got in to Heuston Station around 1:201, got a cab in to Kilronan House, and checked in a  few minutes before 2:00.

I've got a nice, comfy little room at the top of the house. There's a lot of steps - 59 of them - plus five more up from my bedroom to the bathroom. It's a great room, but I'm gonna hate those steps by the time I leave on Sunday.
I’ve got a nice, comfy little room at the top of the house. There’s a lot of steps – 59 of them – plus five more up from my bedroom to the bathroom. It’s a great room, but I’m gonna hate those steps by the time I leave on Sunday.

I dropped my luggage in my room, cleaned up a bit, then went waling for a few hours. My goal was to get a little exercise, scope out where I have to meet the tours I’ve got scheduled, and refamiliarize myself with the city centre.

I made it back to Grafton Street. It was very busy - the weather in Dublin was nicer than it had been in Kilkenny, and everyone was taking advantage of it.
I made it back to Grafton Street. It was very busy – the weather in Dublin was nicer than it had been in Kilkenny, and everyone was taking advantage of it.
Among the buskers and performers, there was one man doing these sand sculptures of dogs. Beautiful work.
Among the buskers and performers, there was one man doing these sand sculptures of dogs. Beautiful work.
I wandered across the street into St. Stephen's Green under the Fusilier's Arch. The park was packed with people today. Again, nice weather that everyone was taking advantage of.
I wandered across the street into St. Stephen’s Green under the Fusilier’s Arch. The park was packed with people today. Again, nice weather that everyone was taking advantage of.
Another picture of the Three Fates fountain for Sandy.
Another picture of the Three Fates fountain for Sandy.
The Famine Memorial at one of the entrances to the park. On the other side is the Wolfe Tone statue - it was crowded with skateboarders, so I didn't get a picture. Next time.
The Famine Memorial at one of the entrances to the park. On the other side is the Wolfe Tone statue – it was crowded with skateboarders, so I didn’t get a picture. Next time.
The central lawn of the park. Nice flower beds, a couple of fountains, and people everywhere. I am astonished that I got so few of them in the picture.
The central lawn of the park. Nice flower beds, a couple of fountains, and people everywhere. I am astonished that I got so few of them in the picture.

Last time, I got a picture of swans in the water here. This time, there were one or two ducks, and they were being crowded out by the dozens of gulls in the park.

Anyway, I grabbed some food, and came back to my room, up the 59 steps, and am going to bed soon. I’ve got to be up before 7:00 in the morning to make it to my tour on time.

Goodnight, folks.

  1. Ten minutes late. []

Darkest Place in Ireland

According to the Triads, the three darkest places in Ireland are Knowth Tomb, Newgrange, and Dearc Fheanna – Dunmore Caves. Until relatively recently1, Dunmore Caves were the only known cave system in Ireland. Some 3500 years ago, a field in what is now Co. Kilkenny collapsed, opening up the system. According to archaeologists, it looks as if it may have been used by local people as a sort of refrigerator – there was evidence of animals being butchered near the entrance, and stored deeper in the caves, where the temperature holds at 9 C.

But in 928, the Dublin Vikings marched an army into the area as part of their ongoing feud with the Waterford Vikings, and attacked the three hill forts in the area. Once the men were slaughtered, it was found that the women and children had retreated into the nearby cave and hidden. The Vikings built huge fires at the opening of the cave mouth, intending to smoke out the villagers from their hiding spots. The fires filled the caves with smoke, used up all the oxygen, and suffocated the inhabitants.

According to the Annals, a thousand people were killed in the cave. That number seems kind of high, but there’s no way to be sure – over the centuries, many skeletons were removed, many by locals, who carried them to a nearby churchyard and reburied, but also by less altruistic folks. In the 1970s, when a more organized exploration and cataloguing of the cave began, a total of 44 bodies were found hidden in the narrowest, most secret parts of the caves. Most of the bodies were children and women, none of them showing any weapon damage.

Also discovered near the mouth of the cave were some silver coins, two of them struck in York, which city the Dublin Vikings had close ties with. In 1999, a guide in the cave picking up some litter, found a silver bracelet, which led to the discovery of a small treasure trove containing coins, jewelry, and a piece of purple-dyed silk. Dating on the coins show that the trove was hidden about fifty years after the massacre, so there’s a theory that it was a Viking’s sacrifice to the dead.

Anyway. Since the massacre Рand the resulting skeleton-filled cave Рthe cave has had an evil reputation, being scene as a portal to the land of the dead. It was also said to be a gathering place for the fair folk, and the home of Luchtigern, king of the mice, who was slain by the giant Kilkenny cat, Banghaisgidheach2.

The gentleman driving the cab that took me out to the cave and back told me stories of when he and his friends would bike out to the cave after school to go crawling through it before all the safety measures and interpretive centre were put in place. Doolin Cave and Marble Arch Cave are bigger, but Dunmore Cave has a more interesting history.

So, yeah. Guess where I went this morning.

The top of the shakehole that leads to the entrance of Dunmore Cave.
The top of the shakehole that leads to the entrance of Dunmore Cave.
Starting to head down. There are, of course, many steps.
Starting to head down. There are, of course, many steps.

All the cave staff seem totally pumped to tell you how many steps you’ll have to climb – 152 to climb out of Marble Arch Cave, 125 to climb out of Doolin Cave, 706 steps in total (up and down) in Dunmore Cave. I’d think it was a friendly warning, but they always seem smug about it.

Without the little roof, there, you can see how this would look a little sinister. Especially with a large number of skeletons littering the caves.
Without the little roof, there, you can see how this would look a little sinister. Especially with a large number of skeletons littering the caves.
Quoting the guide, here. "Now, about a hundred years ago, this was a very nice stalactite. So nice that one gentleman decided he should put it in his garden. He was a clever man, so he was scientific about how he went about retrieving it: he used dynamite. And it dropped from the ceiling and shattered. So, he destroyed in less than five minutes something that took over a million years to build." Yay for Victorian "scientists."
Quoting the guide, here. “Now, about a hundred years ago, this was a very nice stalactite. So nice that one gentleman decided he should put it in his garden. He was a clever man, so he was scientific about how he went about retrieving it: he used dynamite. And it dropped from the ceiling and shattered. So, he destroyed in less than five minutes something that took over a million years to build.” Yay for Victorian “scientists.”
This is the Fairy Floor. Locals say that it is kept swept clean by the fair folk so they can dance here.
This is the Fairy Floor. Locals say that it is kept swept clean by the fair folk so they can dance here.
This stalactite is called the Buffalo. It should reach the stalagmite below it in about 10,000 years, forming a column.
This stalactite is called the Buffalo. It should reach the stalagmite below it in about 10,000 years, forming a column.
There's lots of great calcite formations in the cave. This flowstone wall is a nice mix of white (pure calcite), red (stained with iron), and black (stained with manganese).
There’s lots of great calcite formations in the cave. This flowstone wall is a nice mix of white (pure calcite), red (stained with iron), and black (stained with manganese).
A big chunk of the ceiling collapsed here long ago, and more flowstone formations built up on the sheer wall of the rift. "I think," says our guide, "that some of you maybe are getting a little concerned with how often I'm using the word 'collapsed.'"
A big chunk of the ceiling collapsed here long ago, and more flowstone formations built up on the sheer wall of the rift. “I think,” says our guide, “that some of you maybe are getting a little concerned with how often I’m using the word ‘collapsed.'”
They call this formation Casper the Friendly Ghost. It's fairly young, only about a foot and a half tall, and very pure calcite, resulting in it's pure white, almost glowing appearance.
They call this formation Casper the Friendly Ghost. It’s fairly young, only about a foot and a half tall, and very pure calcite, resulting in it’s pure white, almost glowing appearance.
This is the Town Hall, the largest easily accessible chamber in the cave. Also, the highest. It's big, with big formations.
This is the Town Hall, the largest easily accessible chamber in the cave. Also, the highest. It’s big, with big formations.
Central to the Town Hall is a 6m tall stalagmite they call the Market Cross. Some say it looks like a cross, but the guide said - and I agree - it looks more like a hand holding a pint of Guinness.
Central to the Town Hall is a 6m tall stalagmite they call the Market Cross. Some say it looks like a cross, but the guide said – and I agree – it looks more like a hand holding a pint of Guinness.

So, I dragged myself up out of the cave, called a taxi, and made my way back to Kilkenny city. I grabbed a hot dog3 and coke near the castle, and sat in the shade to eat my lunch and let the time get closer to 2:00.

That was the time St. Canice’s Cathedral opened to the public on Sundays.

My first view of St. Canice's Cathedral, looking up the twisty lane and stairs at the end of High Street.
My first view of St. Canice’s Cathedral, looking up the twisty lane and stairs at the end of High Street.
Whoever made the stairs leading up this alley really, really hated skateboarders. Those spikes are about two inches long.
Whoever made the stairs leading up this alley really, really hated skateboarders. Those spikes are about two inches long.
Looking at the cathedral from outside the wall.
Looking at the cathedral from outside the wall.
The original main entry of the cathedral.
The original main entry of the cathedral.
The round tower beside the cathedral goes up about a hundred feet. From it, the highest tower on the highest hill in Kilkenny, you get an unequaled view of the city. But that was just way too many steps for me today, considering doing the cave and the heat of the day. Besides, it leans.
The round tower beside the cathedral goes up about a hundred feet. From it, the highest tower on the highest hill in Kilkenny, you get an unequaled view of the city. But that was just way too many steps for me today, considering doing the cave and the heat of the day. Besides, it leans.
The interior of St. Canice's Cathedral.
The interior of St. Canice’s Cathedral.
Baptismal font from the 13th century.
Baptismal font from the 13th century.
This inscribed slab was found near Kyteler's Inn, home of the famous witch Dame Alice Kyteler.
This inscribed slab was found near Kyteler’s Inn, home of the famous witch Dame Alice Kyteler.
The altar and rosary window of the cathedral.
The altar and rosary window of the cathedral.
Bishop Richard de Lededre, who was infamously involved in Kyteler witch case, is buried here.
Bishop Richard de Lededre, who was infamously involved in Kyteler witch case, is buried here.
There are several tombs for members of the Butler family, who held the Kilkenny Castle, in the cathedral.
There are several tombs for members of the Butler family, who held the Kilkenny Castle, in the cathedral.
Most of the Butler monuments are in the western transept.
Most of the Butler monuments are in the western transept.
The organ, unusually, is on the main floor, not in a loft, and right beside the pulpit.
The organ, unusually, is on the main floor, not in a loft, and right beside the pulpit.
The little parish chapel off the eastern transept is the oldest part of the cathedral.
The little parish chapel off the eastern transept is the oldest part of the cathedral.
St. Keiran's Chair, still used as the coronation seat for anointing the Bishops of Ossory.
St. Keiran’s Chair, still used as the coronation seat for anointing the Bishops of Ossory.

By that time, it was about 4:00, which meant it was a little too late for me to take a trip out to Kells Priory. I guess I’ll have to save that for my next trip. I went and had a shower, cleaned up, and went to dinner at Kyteler’s again.

Tomorrow, I leave Kilkenny for Dublin. I have to say that Kilkenny has been the best surprise of my trip. I hadn’t expected so much cool stuff to see and do here, and such a laid-back, friendly attitude. I need to come back.

But Dublin next. I love Dublin.

I’ve had a couple of changes to my plans in Dublin over the last few days – one good change, one less good change. The less good change is that my tour for Tara and Newgrange on Wednesday has been canceled. Apparently, I was the only one who signed up, and that makes me sad. I’m sure I can find something fun to do instead on Wednesday.

The good change is that my brother, my sister-in-law, my nephew, and my niece have decided to come to Ireland to see my sister-in-law’s grandmother. We’re going to meet up in Dublin and do some sightseeing together. And that’ll definitely be fun.

But tomorrow is all about the train.

  1. Well, until 1895, when the Marble Arch Cave was officially discovered and explored. []
  2. Taking note, Fera? []
  3. I don’t know if it’s a universally Irish thing, or just the way this stand does thing, but the hot dog didn’t have a wiener in it. Instead, it had a pork sausage. Tasty, if unexpected. []

Something Witty About Cats. I Dunno.

Wow. It was hot today. Looking at a local weather site, it seems this was the hottest day of the year so far. I’ve been regretting I didn’t pack any shorts1. I spent the day walking all over the city until I was about ready to drop, then finding a place to sit for a cool drink. Then doing it again.

The hills don’t help, either.

But I have to say that Kilkenny is an amazing city. There’s a lot of very interesting history here, and most of it is crammed into a fairly small space, making it easily2 walkable. My plan was to see how the walking tour this morning went, and then if there wasn’t much more in the city I wanted to see, I would take a trip to Dunmore Cave or Kells Priory, but there was just too much stuff in the city I wanted a closer, longer look at.

So, what did I do today? I started things with breakfast. Breakfast at Butler house is a bit of a productions.

You come out the back of Butler house...
You come out the back of Butler house…
...through the gardens and past the pool...
…through the gardens and past the pool…

 

... past the sculpture and through a little gate in the wall...
… past the sculpture and through a little gate in the wall…
...through the courtyard...
…through the courtyard…
...and into the rear door of the Kilkenny Design Centre. Upstairs is a very nice restaurant that makes an absolutely stellar breakfast.
…and into the rear door of the Kilkenny Design Centre. Upstairs is a very nice restaurant that makes an absolutely stellar breakfast.

See, Butler House is named after the Butler family, hereditary Earls of Ormond. They held Kilkenny Castle, and built the buildings that are now the Design Centre and Butler House. So there’s an arrangement between Butler House and the Design Centre for providing breakfast.

After breakfast, I wandered down to the Shee Alms House, which is the tourist information office, to join up with my walking tour.

This was the house of Robert Shee, who decided he needed to rack up some good karma as he got older. He donated his house and a fund to keep 12 penniless people of the city fed, sheltered, and given medical care. Sexes were segregated, mass was obligatory, and everyone had to be on their best behaviour. In his will, he four times mentioned a curse that would fall on the family if this house was not kept as a charitable institution. It was sold once, but returned to the family within four years, and then sold again. No one knows what became of the last of the family.
This was the house of Robert Shee, who decided he needed to rack up some good karma as he got older. He donated his house and a fund to keep 12 penniless people of the city fed, sheltered, and given medical care. Sexes were segregated, mass was obligatory, and everyone had to be on their best behaviour. In his will, he four times mentioned a curse that would fall on the family if this house was not kept as a charitable institution. It was sold once, but returned to the family within four years, and then sold again. No one knows what became of the last of the family.
This is the back of the Shee Alms House. You'll notice that it's only one story tall, here, while it's two stories at the front. That should give you some idea of the hills in Kilkenny.
This is the back of the Shee Alms House. You’ll notice that it’s only one story tall, here, while it’s two stories at the front. That should give you some idea of the hills in Kilkenny.
St. Mary's Church is down a twisty, narrow alley from the Alms House.
St. Mary’s Church is down a twisty, narrow alley from the Alms House.
The churchyard is very overgrown - the church is essentially abandoned. It's too expensive for the office of public works to take on right now.
The churchyard is very overgrown – the church is essentially abandoned. It’s too expensive for the office of public works to take on right now.
A lot of the tour was down twisting, narrow medieval streets like this one.
A lot of the tour was down twisting, narrow medieval streets like this one.
Or down little alleys like this one. This is the Butter Slip. Because of the shade here, farmers would store their milk and butter and cheese here during market days.
Or down little alleys like this one. This is the Butter Slip. Because of the shade here, farmers would store their milk and butter and cheese here during market days.
Down one of these little alleys is The Hole in the Wall. It was originally an Elizabethan tavern accessed by going through an actual hole in the city wall. It may have been the first place to use that name, but no one can really say.
Down one of these little alleys is The Hole in the Wall. It was originally an Elizabethan tavern accessed by going through an actual hole in the city wall. It may have been the first place to use that name, but no one can really say.
When it was purchased and restored, great care was taken to change as little as possible from the Elizabethan original construction.
When it was purchased and restored, great care was taken to change as little as possible from the Elizabethan original construction.
The upstairs is now a wine hall. In earlier times, it was frequented by many luminaries, including Arthur Wellsley, the Duke of Wellington. Though he may have come for the prostitutes rather than the drink, given his reputation.
The upstairs is now a wine hall. In earlier times, it was frequented by many luminaries, including Arthur Wellsley, the Duke of Wellington. Though he may have come for the prostitutes rather than the drink, given his reputation.

I came back here after wandering around all afternoon and asked for something cool and refreshing. They served me this amazingly delicious and cooling lemongrass ginger fizzy lemonade. It was great, and the folks there were very friendly and welcoming. Also, very cool to be having a drink in an Elizabethan tavern.

The Rothe family, along with the Butlers and the Shees, was one of the wealthy, powerful noble families in Kilkenny. The Rothe House is actually three houses, leading back from the street, and is used now by the local archaeological society.
The Rothe family, along with the Butlers and the Shees, was one of the wealthy, powerful noble families in Kilkenny. The Rothe House is actually three houses, leading back from the street, and is used now by the local archaeological society.
Down one of the side alleys is the original Smithwick's Brewery. The modern brewery working in Kilkenny no longer brews Smithwick's - that's done up in Drogheda. Here, they brew Budweiser. And didn't our guide look chagrined to admit that.
Down one of the side alleys is the original Smithwick’s Brewery. The modern brewery working in Kilkenny no longer brews Smithwick’s – that’s done up in Drogheda. Here, they brew Budweiser. And didn’t our guide look chagrined to admit that.
In the middle of the High Street is a statue of Cainneach - St. Canice. The name of the city in Gaelic is Cill Cainneach, which means Canice's Church. I didn't make it out to St. Canice's Cathedral today. I have to try that tomorrow.
In the middle of the High Street is a statue of Cainneach – St. Canice. The name of the city in Gaelic is Cill Cainneach, which means Canice’s Church. I didn’t make it out to St. Canice’s Cathedral today. I have to try that tomorrow.
This is Kyteler's Inn, where I had dinner both last night and tonight. It's the home of the last witch burned in Ireland.
This is Kyteler’s Inn, where I had dinner both last night and tonight. It’s the home of the last witch burned in Ireland.

So, here’s the story. It’s not very nice. Alice Kyteler was the sheltered daughter of a wealthy moneylender. She inherited this building, and lived in it her whole life. She married four times, poisoning at least her first three husbands with arsenic, and maneuvering the rest of her family to make sure that all her money and possessions would go to her eldest son, William Outlaw. When her fourth husband became ill, he sent for a bishop and accused her of witchcraft.

Alice had money and connections, which allowed her to arrest the bishop when he arrived. She was able to hold him for seventeen days, before the bishop’s own friends managed to win his freedom. Alice, her son William, and her maid Petronella were all accused of witchcraft and other crimes and brought to trial.

Alice managed to escape to England, completely evading her sentence. William paid to have the cathedral re-roofed, a costly endeavour, and was deemed to have repented. Petronella, with no money and no powerful friends, was whipped up the High Street and burned alive.

As I said, it’s not a very nice story. But interesting.

Grace Castle was home of the wealthy and powerful Grace family. "They fell on hard times," said the guide, "and decided to turn their home into a prison, as you do. Great place to raise kids." It's the city courthouse now, and the cells in the basement are filled with non-functional electronic voting machines that the city bought but never managed to get working.
Grace Castle was home of the wealthy and powerful Grace family. “They fell on hard times,” said the guide, “and decided to turn their home into a prison, as you do. Great place to raise kids.” It’s the city courthouse now, and the cells in the basement are filled with non-functional electronic voting machines that the city bought but never managed to get working.
This is the last little bit of the original city wall and the last gate. It's called Blackfriar's Gate, because of the Dominican monks that used to use it passing in and out from the Black Abbey.
This is the last little bit of the original city wall and the last gate. It’s called Blackfriar’s Gate, because of the Dominican monks that used to use it passing in and out from the Black Abbey.
This is the Black Abbey. It was seized from the Church by Henry VIII, sacked and used to stable horses by Oliver Cromwell, and generally abused and neglected for years. When it was rebuilt, only about half the stone could be recovered, so it is built in an L shape rather than the usual cross.
This is the Black Abbey. It was seized from the Church by Henry VIII, sacked and used to stable horses by Oliver Cromwell, and generally abused and neglected for years. When it was rebuilt, only about half the stone could be recovered, so it is built in an L shape rather than the usual cross.
The Rosary Window of the Black Abbey is famous for its beauty. When Henry VIII was claiming the land, the bishop wanted to take the window back to Rome, but the town refused his (very, very large) offer of money. So, he had an Italian artist draw up plans that would let the window be recreated in Rome, but the artist somehow left the plans behind when he and the bishop fled. This allowed the city of Kilkenny to recreate the window when they restored the Black Abbey.
The Rosary Window of the Black Abbey is famous for its beauty. When Henry VIII was claiming the land, the bishop wanted to take the window back to Rome, but the town refused his (very, very large) offer of money. So, he had an Italian artist draw up plans that would let the window be recreated in Rome, but the artist somehow left the plans behind when he and the bishop fled. This allowed the city of Kilkenny to recreate the window when they restored the Black Abbey.

This was about the end of the tour. Our guide3 did tell us a story about the Cats of Kilkenny. See, folks in Kilkenny are called Cats. This may or may not date back to the time when the city was besieged by Oliver Cromwell. One of the things the locals did to keep themselves amused during the long, boring stretches between the terrifying assaults, was bet on cat fights4 : they’d tie two cats together by their tales and let them go at it.

Now, this was against regulations, so one night an officer wandered by where one of these matches was taking place. To hide things, one of the soldiers drew his sword and slashed the cats’ tails off. When the officer saw the tails, he allegedly thought the cats had eaten each other down to their tails. Hence the little nursery rhyme.

There once were two cats of Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit
‘Til (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails)
Instead of two cats there weren’t any!

After the tour, I sat and had a cold drink, then went to check out Kilkenny Castle.

The main gates of Kilkenny Castle. Entry onto the grounds is free, and there were scores of people wandering around looking at stuff or just sitting on the grass when I went in.
The main gates of Kilkenny Castle. Entry onto the grounds is free, and there were scores of people wandering around looking at stuff or just sitting on the grass when I went in.
The courtyard lies between the three remaining wings of the castle.
The courtyard lies between the three remaining wings of the castle.

 

The Rose Garden adjoining the castle.
The Rose Garden adjoining the castle.
The central wing overlooking the rose garden.
The central wing overlooking the rose garden. I have a big photograph of that statue hanging over my bed in Butler House.

Photography is not allowed inside the castle. This is understandable, but regrettable, because the restored and reconstructed interior is absolutely amazing. I wish I could have taken a few pictures.

St. Mary's Cathedral was built in the 1840s. Also going on in Ireland in the 1840s? The famine. Perhaps a little hypocrisy in the Church at the time, spending money on this instead of feeding people.
St. Mary’s Cathedral was built in the 1840s. Also going on in Ireland in the 1840s? The famine. Perhaps a little hypocrisy in the Church at the time, spending money on this instead of feeding people.
Can't deny that it's a beautiful place, even though there's apparently a lot more restoration work to be done on it.
Can’t deny that it’s a beautiful place, even though there’s apparently a lot more restoration work to be done on it.

That was about the end of my endurance today. I went back to my rooms to have a shower and cool off before going back to Kyteler’s Inn for dinner and more music. It was excellent again.

Now, that’s enough blather. I’ve got a busy day tomorrow if I want to see the rest of the things I want to see in Kilkenny.

But seriously, folks. Come visit this city. It’s amazing.

  1. I could buy some here, of course, but I have the unshakeable conviction that would bring on torrential rain. []
  2. Well, mostly easily. []
  3. I think his name was Colm? Maybe? He was awesome, though. Knew the history cold, and was able to present it well, along with context and opinion. Great tour. []
  4. “There’s two things Kilkenny has been known for through history,” he told us. “Gambling and prostitutes. Thankfully, at least one of those is no longer true.” I love the Irish sense of humour. []

More Trains

Today was another travel day, so again, not many pictures. I got a nice send-off from Toni and Danny at Larkinley Lodge – seriously, guys, that is THE place to stay in Killarney. Wonderful rooms, great food, and the warmest, friendliest, most helpful hosts you could wish for. Danny even drove me to the train station this morning.

The train ride was suitably boring; the only thing of interest was, after scrambling to get my ticket and onto the connecting train in Dublin, there was a problem with that train’s signals1 and we all had to troop off that train and over to another train, which meant we were delayed about twenty or thirty minutes.

But I made it to Kilkenny and, after one2 wrong turn, I managed to find Butler House, where I’m staying.

The room is huge. Seriously. You could probably fit my living room, dining room, kitchen, and one bedroom in it.
The room is huge. Seriously. You could probably fit my living room, dining room, kitchen, and one bedroom in it.
Here's the other angle on that picture of the room. What you can't see on the right hand side is the big wardrobe and the second bed. Seriously. Huge. And very nice.
Here’s the other angle on that picture of the room. What you can’t see on the right hand side is the big wardrobe and the second bed. Seriously. Huge. And very nice.

After dropping my stuff off, I took the advice of Helen, the lady who checked me in, and wandered up to Kyteler’s Inn for dinner, where they had a music session going.

I am indeed spending more time in pubs this trip, and also hearing more traditional music. These are connected, and that's a good thing.
I am indeed spending more time in pubs this trip, and also hearing more traditional music. These are connected, and that’s a good thing.

There’s a whole story behind Kyteler’s Inn, but I don’t want to ruin it for folks. I’m sure I’ll get a more detailed3 version of the tale on my walking tour tomorrow, and I’ll be sure to share it with you.

Tonight, I’m going to be taking the rest of the evening easy.

  1. Or something. I don’t know. It coulda been signals. []
  2. Well, okay, two. []
  3. Or at least more colourful. []