We actually squeezed quite a bit in to our Monday in Ireland. We’ve taken so many pictures it’s hard to decide which ones to post on here. Unfortunately, Tumblr does not make it easy to post a lot of pictures at once. So we’ll fill in all the gaps and upload all the rest of our pictures to Facebook when we get back home. Consider these just teasers.
Monday morning we woke up and headed to the stables behind our B&B, where breakfast is served. Behind our B&B was a pretty amazing garden with a view of the Kilkenny castle. Our B&B itself was actually built back in the 1700s to house the head builder of the castle. So the building itself was actually quite castle-looking as well. Breakfast was delicious with fried eggs, bacon, croissants, scones, and several different types of sausages.
After breakfast we walked over to the grounds of the Kilkenny castle where we watched a short video on its history and then wandered the grounds, snapping tons of pictures. There was a massive park behind the castle that just seemed like miles and miles of green grass.
We left the castle and wandered down the streets of Kilkenny popping in and out of little shops on our way to St. Canice’s Cathedral. The cathedral was awesome but somehow seemed less impressive after just having walked the grounds of the castle. We snapped some photos and then headed back to the B&B to check out.
The next stop on our trip was the Dunmore caves. At this point our tom-tom let us a little astray and we ended up traveling down several “unnamed roads”, ending up literally in the middle of nowhere. After some major backtracking, we found the main roadway again and managed to get back on track.
Caused by millions of years or erosion, these Dunmore caves go about 150 feet below the ground. They are filled with very cool stalactites and stalagmites and are home to about a thousand bats. The caves were used hundreds of years ago by the Irish people to seek refuge from the attacking vikings. When the caves were discovered by archeologists, the remains of women and children were found. These were the lucky few that weren’t found and slaughtered by the vikings.
After leaving the caves, we took a very scenic route to a town called Cashel to eat lunch. We stopped several times along the way to photograph scenery, animals on the side of the road, an old destroyed castle in the middle of nowhere, and even our little red Hyndai rental car.
We arrived in Cashel to learn that it is home to another castle called the Rock of Cashel. It is very impressive and ominous looking, sitting high on a hilltop above the city. Unfortunately, this castle is currently undergoing some renovations and restorations so we opted not to walk up and take the tour. We ate lunch at a little cafe that cooked delicious homestyle meals. Our waitress was very young and definitely fit the Irish stereotype. We learned that she has big plans to leave Ireland to study and live the American dream in Chicago.
We spent most of the rest of the day just driving. We drove through the town of Cahir, snapped some photos of the castle here and then drove on in to Cork.
Cork is a big industrial city. There is a large harbor here and lots of commotion. We had planned on staying here for the night but things were a little too hectic for us. The streets were congested and it just seemed a little too industrial for us. We drove through town then and opted to head towards a little fishing town, south of Cork, called Kinsale to sleep for the night.
We checked in at a hotel called the Actons hotel and went to our room to plan the rest of our trip. We got so caught up in planning the rest of our route that we realized that we hadn’t eaten dinner yet. It was about 10:30pm at this point and we headed in to town to find some fine dinning. Upon entering the little town, we realized that this place was very quiet. All the shops and restaurants seemed to be closed and we even had a hard time finding a pub with the lights still on. We eventually found at a little fast food joint called Mama Mia’s that, despite the Italian sounding name, served mainly hot dogs and hamburgers. We ate our grub and headed back to the room to sleep for the night.
We’ve got a big day planned for today as well but for now… we’re off to breakfast.
Matt & Alana