Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Ireland - Kilkeey, Waterford and Tipperary

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We arrived at our private home rental late in the day and were met by our hostess who took amble time to show us around and how to work the systems.  She was delightful and offered a lot of great advice.  We settled in and enjoyed a relaxing evening.  We stayed three nights in the Kilkenny area.

Our first day out included a visit to Kilkenny Castle, home to the Butler family, one of the most famous in Irish history.  Tom "Black" Butler was Elizabeth I's distant cousin and presumed lover  They are rumored to have had a child...anyway, I digress.  The castle was great and being the first one's there in the morning, we enjoyed a private guided tour of the rooms.  Our guide was charming, as usual, and well informed.  We enjoyed a light picnic lunch and then visited the archaeological museum of St. Mary's Cathedral, now a public building.  The included audio tour was interesting.  We ended our day early and headed home.  Carol prepared Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner and enjoyed a quiet evening watching American TV.

Our second day out focused on Waterford and a tour of the famous glass factory.  The tour was interesting and historic in many ways.  We lingered in the gift shop long enough to spend more money than planned and now a dozen stems are on their way to the magic storage closet back home.

Following our tour, we drop the Copper Coast Road to the village of Dungarvan and then up into The Vee to visit Mahon Falls and enjoy a nice mountain hike.  It was cold and windy and the walk was lovely.  We arrived back home late in the day.

We departed Kilkenny early for a full planned day visiting historic sites throughout Tipperary County.  Our first stop was at Ormond Castle, home to Tom Butler.  The castle dates back to the early 1200's and the Tutor mansion was added on by Butler in 1820.  The two-hundred-year-old home was fully restored and once again because of the time we had another private guided tour.  Frances was a great guide and we enjoyed a one-hour tour with lots of stories.

Next up were the medical ruins of the Rock of Cachel.  Here we spent time visiting the well preserved chapped of Gowan and the frescos, as well as wandering the ruins of the giant cathedral and priory.  It was amazingly cold and windy and we were frozen.

Our next stop was at the Abby to finish the story of Cachel.  The abbey was open but no guides or tours were available.  We wandered the grounds for a short time before continuing on.

Our last stop was at the Swiss Cottage, another part of the Butler family legacy.  This was a nice surprise.  The cottage was built in the early 1800s as an adult playhouse in the forest.  It was unique and fully restored.  We were the last visitors of the day and again, we enjoyed a private guided tour of the cottage.  

We arrived early evening in Cork where we plan to stay for two nights.

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