Originally uploaded by Pat and Amy’s pics

Being temporarily homeless a few weeks ago, Amy and I decided it was time to get out and see a little more of Ireland. Our lease in Rochestown ended on Wednesday, 18 June, but we couldn’t get into our new rental in Turners Cross until the evening of Monday, 23 June. It was a bit of an odd feeling to go from owning a house eight months ago, to renting an apartment, to finally having only a tent to call home and storing most of our possessions in a car. It was particularly odd when I realized as we left the campsite and headed for town that someone could literally steal our home.

Still, Kilkenny called, and we headed there with a plan to spend three days seeing the town. It turns out you can see all of Kilkenny in two hours, and a Welshman we met at the campsite said it could be done in an hour. Small it may be, but it’s a lovely town, and Amy and I agreed that while it might only take hours to visit, it’s the kind of place we could live in for the two years we’re planning to be in Ireland.

What I particularly like about Kilkenny is that while it’s pretty obviously dependent on tourists for its livelihood, it does it so much better than Killarney (Kill, by the way, means “church” in Irish, so there are many place names with that in it). Killarney seemed like a Disney version of Ireland, expensive, fake, and with horrible food. We thought we may have just had bad luck with our restaurant choices in Killarney, but after our trip, Amy talked to a woman who lived in Killarney and asked if there were any good places to eat. The woman thought about it but couldn’t think of a single place to recommend.

But everyone had restaurant and pub recommendations in Kilkenny. On our first night there, we got in too late to want to look for the places we’d been told to check out so we just decided to try our luck at a pub called Langton’s. It turned out to have delicious food and good Irish music, all reasonably priced (for Ireland, anyway). Later, our campsite host said he didn’t much care for Langton’s, because it was too rushed for him, too much of a conveyor belt. I explained that was exactly what most Americans want in a restaurant. Not many Americans will complain about being seated quickly, ordering in just a few minutes, and tucking into dinner just a short time later, especially if the food was as good as it was.

Kilkenny has beautiful churches, abbeys, and a castle, and is well worth a visit, but having spent Friday in town, we decided to head out to the surrounding villages of Inistioge (pronounced Inishteeg), Graiguenamanagh (pronounced GREG-nuh-MAH-nuh), and Thomastown (pronounced Thomastown). The villages themselves had been recommended to us as worth a visit, but they were also jumping off points for hikes along wooded trails, something that is relatively rare in Cork. Unfortunately, it was perhaps the wettest day of the year. Weeks later, we read a newspaper account explaining there had been about twice the usual rainfall in June across all of Ireland, that the Saturday we were in Kilkenny had been the wettest day of the month, and that the wettest place in the country that day had been Kilkenny. It was a lashing rain, as the Irish would say. Not being a great day for hiking, we went back to Kilkenny to go on a tour of the castle which is being restored, then hunkered down in the tent (we were afraid if we didn’t, it would blow away).

Despite the weather, we loved the town, and look forward to showing it off to any friends or family who come to visit us.

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