...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ireland Day 2 - Kilkenny, Blarney, Glenlohane

Now the adventure will really begin...we weren't going anywhere without our rental car.  And driving on the opposite side of the road.  I had pondered this for quite a while before departure and knew it was going to be different - and in reality it wasn't bad at all (After the first few times around the rental car garage.)

We got up fairly early to get out and about.  I walked back over to Terminal 2 from our AirBnb and it did not take long to sign out the car from Hertz (at a very reasonable price for as many days as we had it).  And to our surprise, we also ended up with a pretty fancy car: a BMW X1!  Let's just say that the first few miles getting on the highway were quite the time. We tended to drift a bit to the left in the lane, but got the hang of it once we were a few more miles down on the major roadway.  Our first stop: Kilkenny.

Many of the towns we stopped in were amazing: small, easy to walk, and everyone very friendly.  While in Kilkenny our first site was Kilkenny Castle.  After we found parking, it was only a short walk to the grounds:

Unfortunately the tour times didn't match our schedule, so we chose to wait until next time to visit.  We did walk a bit more, though, and stopped at St. Mary's Cathedral where we had it mostly to ourselves. A kind church parishioner shared info about the statue of Mary, one of only a few known to not have her head covered.

To make sure we had enough time to get to Blarney, we stopped at a local cafe and grabbed sandwiches for the road: Kafe Katz.  They were quite excellent!

Blarney Castle was our next major stop and we were quite impressed with the overall grounds.  You can spend hours walking end to end, and we spent more time than we realized in several different areas.  Shannon was able to kiss the stone...huzzah!  And the rain/wind held off for most of the day, making our exploration easy.

We also stopped in at the Blarney Woolen Mills - a fantastic shopping complex where they hand-make many woolen wear products.  Most are quite expensive but we also found a few deals.

Our stop for the evening was one I was especially excited about - Glenlohane.  We found this place through the Princeton Alumni Magazine since there were PU alums in the family.  Secluded location, huge estate, what more could you ask for?  The GPS took us out into the country on the back roads and soon the rain also picked up.  Before we knew it, we were on a one lane dirt road out in the middle of the fields...where we soon were stopped by localized road flooding.  We climbed out to assess whether the BMW would make it through or get us stuck.  We were quite the scene...Shannon in the road middle, me up on the embankment.  Our decision: just gun it!  And success.  Glenlohane was only a bit more down the road and took a bit to find - one of the perks of staying is its seclusion and hidden nature.  Desmond welcomed us with open arms and we retired to his study for tea, double whiskey, and stories about the countryside.  An amazing place with so much history.  If you're ever interested in horses, fox hunting, or just getting away, you won't find a more magical place.

We hadn't made time for dinner yet, so Desmond made us reservations in Kanturk at a recommended spot called The Vintage.  Our time there can only be described as fun and with much laughter.  We had long chats with one of the owners (Pat) who wanted to know about us and our trip.  And we sampled much food, wine, and dessert.  A perfect end to the day!


  1. What're those shiny silver things in the last picture?

    1. Do you mean the tower pic, or another one?

    2. It's the rightmost one in the final row.

    3. Ah - I believe those are just floodlights to light up the castle. : )