Since we were too late last night to see St. Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny, we hung around until it opened at 10:00 this morning… and we were sooo glad we did. What a beauty. Full of ancient artifacts and wonderful stained glass including a Harry Clarke. The tour guide was very gracious and the super friendly church cat accompanied us around the self-guided tour. The round tower is climbable but the morning was very foggy so I decided not.
Leaving Kilkenny, we drove through the pastel country side on meandering back roads through quaint villages toward Cashel where the 12th century castle called “Rock of Cashel” draws multitudes of tourists annually. Fortunately for us, admission today was free because of a glitch in the VISA machines (love it). We enjoyed this fantastic ruin and especially the high crosses in the cemetery. The town of Cashel itself is very colorful and the townsfolk are welcoming and helpful.
Next destination for today was Blarney Castle just outside of Cork city. After a couple of wrong turns and white knuckle moments on these very narrow roads, we made it and thoroughly enjoyed this 15th century marvel with its internal spiral stairways and secret dungeon tunnels. Being the off season, there were no crowds and no line-ups to kiss the Blarney Stone…which Monica did and I did not, thank you. The greatest surprise was the magnificent gardens surrounding the castle filled with exotic plants and trees and stunning flower gardens.
Carrying on, we arrived in Cork and found our Inn just in time for complimentary afternoon tea. Then we strolled into the city for supper, passing the incredible St. Finnbarr’s Cathedral on the way. Monica and I slipped inside for a moment hoping to see a stained glass window or two and were delighted to find a service in progress with the choir singing beautifully. Monica snuck a video on her cell phone. I wish I had time to upload and include for you in this post… so hauntingly beautiful.
We chose Italian for dinner and had fantastic pizzas at Milano’s…then strolled back to the Inn through the streets filled with music and lots of people. Cork is ancient and lovely…dreamy really.