Goodbye Dublin. Mon and I caught the early bus to the airport to rent our car for the week. Well let me tell you, it took us 45 minutes just to find our way out of the airport. We did well, considering, but nerves were shot but the time we got onto the highway to Kildare. Driving on the left in a 6-speed manual in 4 lanes of traffic and trying to interpret Irish road signs… oy vay! However, we did make it to Kildare alive (only a hour’s drive).
First stop in Kildare was St. Brigid’s Well were this 6th Irish Matron Saint would have drawn water. Very lovely monument. Then on to the Irish National Stud farm to see where many famous race horses were born and bred. We enjoyed the guided tour on this very beautiful warm and cloudless Thursday and marvelled at the gorgeous race horses. One of them, Invincible Spirit, is insured for $65 million Euros!!!
Leaving the farm, we toured into Kildare town to see St. Brigid’s Cathedral and round tower, the tallest climbable tower in Ireland. However, it had just closed yesterday for the season 😦 Nevertheless, the cathedral and grounds are spectacular… but nothing compared to what was coming next.
Leaving Kildare and only getting lost momentarily (a couple of times), we made our way to Kilkenny arriving around 4:30. Found our hotel and set out for a city walking tour. Kilkenny has winding narrow cobbled streets and many little laneways dating back to midevil times. We saw the Black Abbey and its spectacular stained glass windows (which are the windows I most wanted to see in all of Ireland). The main west window is called the Rosary Window, created in 1892, is the largest stained glass window in Ireland and represents the 15 mysteries of the Holy Rosary. You’d have to see it to really appreciate it.
Next we happened across St. Mary’s Cathedral also with stunning windows and priceless statues. There is one more cathedral in Kilkenny that we did not see today (hopefully tomorrow morning before we leave) and that is St. Canice’s Cathedral which has a climbable tower and Harry Clarke stained glass.
Continuing on our walk, we came to Kilkenny Castle on the River Nore and got some great evening shots. Built in 1213, it is really grand and would probably be worth the tour admission – but we were hungry and ready for dinner. So, into the Kyteler’s Inn and Restaurant for fantastic food and live traditional Irish music. What a day! We are exhausted and tomorrow we say we might slow down a bit… but somehow I doubt it.