Sunday, August 12, 2007

july 28 kilkenny

After seeing the Rock of Cashel, we drove to Kilkenny where we were staying the night, which we figured would only be about a 1/2 hr drive. However, since we took rural roads, it took rather longer. The Irish highways are excellent, but if you get off the beaten path, be prepared for unmarked roads that are sometimes so narrow that only one car can pass at a time. The scenery was pretty, though not prettier than Maine. But Maine doesn't have the remains of Norman towers sticking up here, there, and everywhere.
The next morning we toured Kilkenny Castle, which was the seat of the Butler family. (The top picture is of the castle, but the second is just an inn I thought was pretty.) It was sold to the Irish government in the mid-20th century for £50. They had a lot of work restoring it to its Victorian splendor. What I liked best were all of the family portraits from over the centuries. I also liked the explanations of what was built first (the uncomfortable Norman tower, of course, where the "royals" slept on straw scattered on the flags) and what was added later as fortunes increased. It seems this was a very politically savvy family who always knew what side their bread was buttered on.


Karen ~ said...

On that same trip to England I referred to in my other comment, we, too, took the "side roads" to travel through the countryside from one small British village to another. The road got continually smaller and smaller until we were quite certain we were on a goat path in the middle of nowhere. We could not see a sign of civilization in any direction. Then, suddenly, on the side of the path, there was a sign for the "Yacht Club." We were baffled, and then laughed half-heartedly at the crazy sense of humor some Brit must have had ...??? But sure enough after we followed the goat path around another bend, and down a hill, we came to a village with a lake, and there were, in fact, boats on the lake. Now, I certainly would not have called them yachts, but I guess it's all in your perspective. The path got gradually wider, and eventually was even paved again by the time we reached the village. Turns out we had not made a wrong turn after all.

Mama Ava said...

*sigh* I've always wanted to go to Ireland. It looks beautiful! But as soon as you said "Butler family" I thought of Rhett Butler. Who wasn't Irish. But in the dreadful sequel to "Gone With the Wind" Scarlett ends up going to Ireland and establishing herself there as the head of the O'Hara clan. Like I said, it was pretty dreadful, but I enjoyed reading about how she reinvented herself once she found her roots.

Great pics!

Mama Ava said...

Hey, here we actually DO drive on goat paths!

Montserrat said...

Wonderful photos. I'm amazed at all the history of the old buildings and castles. We get excited here when we find an 'old' barn (only about 150 years old). That's adrop in the bucket compared to these places.