12 Sept 2006 Tuesday - Thomastown to Dublin

Today we ate breakfast and walked across the street to visit the Jerpoint Abbey which was right across the street from our B&B. When we got to the abbey, it was only 9:00am and it was still closed. We walked around the grounds taking photos of the outside until 9:30 when people came to open it up.

Admission to the abbey was free and we walked around taking photos of the structure.

Soon afterward, we were on the road again. The next stop was to a famous golf course that was very close by, called Mount Juliet. Although I own a set of clubs and know how to play, I do not consider myself a golfer. We only went there to buy gifts because we know a couple people–Kathy’s brothers and my sister-in-law–who are golfers.

Next we drove to the town of Kilkenny, where we took a tour of Kilkenny castle.

The castle was beautiful. It was built in the 1190's and remodeled several times. It was primarily owned and used by Tom Butler, also known as Black Tom, the same guy who owned Ormonde Castle from yesterday. Like so many castles, the family eventually went broke, lost everything and ended up practically giving the land and castle to the state for restorations after it had fallen into gross disrepair.

The state has done a wonderful job of restoring the castle and now they’re making money off of it from tourist dollars like mine. The castle was well worth it. Unfortunately, we could only take photos outside; none were allowed within the castle.

We tried to do some shopping–I believe the shopping in Kilkenny is wonderful–but neither of us were in a shopping mood and our parking discs had nearly expired. A parking disc is basically a card that resembles an oversized scratch lottery ticket. But you scratch off the year, month, day, hour and minute of when you want to park, and you’re allotted one hour. Because we wanted to see the castle, we had to buy two such cards, one for each hour.

For lunch, we ordered sandwiches at a small shop in Kilkenny, but by then our parking discs had expired and so we sat in the car and ate the sandwiches.

After lunch in the car, we drove from Kilkenny to the Dublin airport, which took some time. We returned our rental car, a sad parting with the Toyota I had come to grow fond of.

The car was without any additional scratches, but we were the lucky ones.

Next we boarded a bus, number 747, bound for downtown Dublin. After a short ride, we left the bus station and began to walk the many blocks to our hotel, with all our luggage in tow. It’s a good thing it’s all on wheels.

We are staying at the Central Hotel, a nice hotel that was recommended by my friend Ryan at work because it’s centrally located in Dublin. It is within easy walking distance of all the important sites, with the possible exception of the Guinness brewery, which was want to visit. Guinness is several blocks walk; probably okay for young people but not older ones.

After checking in to the hotel, we dropped the luggage in the room and began walking around the surrounding area, enjoying the little shops.

I found a music store that had a live Rhapsody CD that looked good and a DVD by Nightwish that I’ve wanted for a while. But upon closer inspection, the DVD was in PAL format, not the NTSC required by the DVD players in the US. Sadly, I walked out of the store without the DVD or the Rhapsody CD. Maybe I’ll have to buy it at amazon or the Nightwish online shop.

We continued walking, went to a visitors’ bureau, ate dinner at a pub,

and then walked to a hotel pub that had free live Irish music and dancing.

It was very entertaining and I enjoyed it thoroughly.