"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tervetuloa Kilkenny!!!

This is the sixth and final blogpost looking back at my holiday adventures in Ireland, and this time it's all about Kilkenny
It's probably a name known to a lot of people worldwide for being a distinctive red-coloured beer of the same name. But there's a lot more to Kilkenny than just beer. For example, when I hear the name Kilkenny I immediately think of the black and amber colours of the county and the great history Kilkenny has in the sport of hurling. If you are not familiar with this sport here's a short video clip to give you an idea.

Not forgetting also that Kilkenny refers not only to a city in Ireland but also to an entire county. It was here that we set as our next destination having said farewell to beautiful Kinvara and the west of Ireland. It was also a chance for me to meet up with my brother and his young family who made the trip down from Dublin. We all arranged to stay at the same hotel for a night in Kilkenny. 

Before we reached Kilkenny city we decided to stop somewhere for dinner. A popular place to go eat in Ireland is the pub, where the food is usually very good and value for money. We had been sampling several pubs for their food during our trip and our next pub was one of the best we found. It was called Delaneys Bar in Clomantagh, County Kilkenny. The owner was very friendly and the food was fantastic!

(Click all photos to enlarge!)

Delaney's Bar and Restaurant, Clomantagh, County Kilkenny

Great food at Delaney's Bar!

Having had a good feed we drove straight towards our hotel in Kilkenny city and checked in. The hotel we stayed at was called the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel and we were not disappointed.
We had a wonderful stay with a very comfortable and spacious room. Our Finnish friends were upgraded to a superior executive suite which was a nice surprise and we also received a big discount on parking. The hotel itself and it's facilities are without fault, and the cavery breakfast was delicious. What impressed me the most however was the way the staff treated us having arrived back late after a long day's stroll around the city. With the hotel's restaurant closed and their chef gone home for the evening, the manager and some staff prepared an inexpensive platter of pizza/chicken goujons/salad and chips for all of us (six adults and three children). Good customer service!

Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel

As I mentioned, we all had a nice stroll around the city. This isn't too difficult to do in that Kilkenny city feels more like a small town and most of what needs to be seen is condensed in a small area of space.
The main attraction and most famous landmark in the city has to be Kilkenny Castle, with it's wide open lawn and impressive gardens. The weather was fabulous yet again, so we had a nice walk around the castle grounds. It was a perfect escape from the noise and traffic outside the castle walls. My brother's kids were happy to find a kids play area nearby also. On our second day a few of us took a tour inside the castle. As we walked around inside, apart from all the wonderful art and interior features we were oddly impressed that they had free Wifi available, especially given the fact that the castle walls are extremely thick inside. A Finnish friend was also impressed by the greeting he received as we walked through one of the castle hallways. An old woman working as a guide kindly said hello and asked my friend where he was from. On his reply of "Finland" she then replied by saying "Tervetuloa!"(the Finnish for Welcome!). This was a bit special I thought. With so many tourists coming through this building every day, I only expected the lady to perhaps know greetings for the more common visitor languages, eg. French, German or Italian.   

Kilkenny Castle gardens

Entrance to Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle and lawn

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Walls of Kilkenny Castle overlooking the River Nore

The River Nore and John's Bridge in Kilkenny

Another way to get around Kilkenny is to take one of the small train tours like the one in the photo below. It's a fun way of getting around to see areas outside the city centre. On our little train trip we found more examples of Kilkenny's fine churches and we also got to catch a glimpse of the famous St.Francis Abbey Brewery.  

The Castle Express, Kilkenny

St.Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny

St.Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny

Kilkenny City Town Hall

After our trip around the city it was time for ice-cream and sweets from Kitty's Cabin sweet shop. This is an old style sweet shop which isn't something I frequent everyday. They had a huge selection of sweets, some old favorites and some new ones with crazy flavours! I decided I had to fill up my pockets with a few bags to take back to Finland. Let's just call it a bad case of Wonkavision!

Kieran Street, Kilkenny

One last thing I must mention about my short visit to Kilkenny was a piece of street-art I discovered. It was situated at an empty building plot on Kieran street in the heart of the city. The title of the artwork was 'Alice', but it featured images of a woman called Dame Alice Kyteler, the first woman in all of Europe to be tried by the Church for crimes of witch craft. The whole piece created by artist Mick Minogue was cleverly presented and very eye-catching to passers by. To view the full artwork and read some more about Mick Minogue, simply go to my next blogpost by clicking here or the image below.

Mick Minogue Made This!

Dame Alice Kyteler by Mick Minogue

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This is part 6 of a set of 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!

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- Alan 


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