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Adorable Chick

UK & IRELAND diary : Day 17 - 27th April 2017

Kilkenny, an ancient town in the south-east of Ireland, is at a driving distance of less than 2 hours, running south of Dublin City. It is as old as the 6th Century and has plenty of churches and a few monasteries too. It truly preserves its religious culture till date. This vibrant town also encourages variety of crafts and design workshops and has extremely rich, historical roots. Being a perfect combination of ancient & modern, it is a tourist's dream.

A day tour, with WILD ROVERS tours, from Dublin, got us to this town in the second half of the day, after covering Wicklow. It was a perfect and bright day. It took about 2 hours to get here from Glendalough (our previous stop). The crowd first dispersed for lunch at Kilkenny. We had carried our own meal and therefore found a comfortable place to have our food. We topped it up with hot French fries and some coffee from a nearby restaurant.

The Wild Rover's guide was all set to take us around the town with his narratives.

The first stop was at KYTELER'S INN. It was a stone building. The two floored building shares a history of housing the KYTELER family, who were merchants, where one "Alice Kyteler" was born. She was married four times and each time she inherited her husband's property and assets to grow richer, once he died. She had a son from her first husband. Her fourth husband even condemned her of poising him for the sake of monies. He had started losing his nails & hair and had grown ill gradually. She was soon condemned for WITCHCRAFT by all her other stepchildren who had grown suspicious, after their respective fathers had died. They were convinced that she had close relation with the demon god and practiced sorcery.

Tidy Desk

The Kyteler's inn made history with this story of WITCHCRAFT. The story amazed us. We then got to the KILKENNY CASTLE. Due to shortage of time, we didn't get to tour the castle interiors. We, however, had enough time to take a few pictures for our records. This 12th Century Castle, which was later reconstructed with stone, to replace its earlier wooden structure, stands on the shores of River Nore. The Palace gardens are today open to public. It is also utilised for several parades. This massive castle has 4 cylindrical pillars , one each , at its four corners. The facade we witnessed, was ornamental, with the national COAT OF ARMS designed on its black gates.

The guide moved on to take us to the next place in town, the BUTTER SLIP. We were asked to group up on either side of a small passage , as the guide began his story telling. Passers by were free to move in and out, while our backs stood clinging to the walls.

This is a 17th Century corridor, that lies on the opposite road, behind the KILKENNY CASTLE, with an arched entry and some stone steps. It is built underneath two houses. It leads to a dark alley, connecting the High street ( a street at a higher level) and the Low lane (today called Kieran's street). The name BUTTER SLIP fell as the alley was flanked in ancient times, by vendor's selling their butter here, on market days.

Today, the beautiful cobbled stoned corridors and alley are frequented for passage between the two streets, due to the wide variety of shops and restaurants all along. We shopped at the DUNNES stores on the High street and got a great bargain on some good quality clothing.

A picture of the High Street is displayed in the first picture gallery here, with the red bricked Dunnes stores on the right of the picture.

The next in line was the HURLING monument. A little walk from the Kieran's street got us to the road behind the Kilkenny castle. In a small service road here, lies this Monument. "HURLING" is the national Irish game that is similar to that of Hockey. This monument was erected in 2016 as a tribute to the country's favourite sport. The 14 feet tall monument consists of 3 male players, dressed in their jerseys, wearing helmets and in action, trying to get the better of each other, while in the game. We had enough time to take a few pictures and stroll around the place.

The last stop was at the DOMINICAN BLACK ABBEY. This 13th century Abbey is dedicated to the holy Trinity. The name of this Church is derived from the members of the Dominican Order, who were termed as BLACK FRIARS , due to the Black Cloak they wore. The Abbey has ravishing interiors. It takes pride in holding the largest Stained glass window, in the whole of Ireland, called the ROSARY WINDOW. This smashing window depicts the mysteries of the Rosary (a set of prayers) all over it. It was created in the early 19th century and comprises of 5 vertical panels, each in turn portraying 5 mysteries of the ROSARY. The Glass looks blackish, dull and dark from the Abbey's exteriors.

Inside , it reflects the sunlight through the tiny panels, illuminating the entire church. The Divine light is said to stream through the mysteries of Christ's life. The paintings are intricate and indeed mystical. There are 2 other painted glass inside. Each one is equally stunning. The lit candles provided a great ambience for our prayers. It felt divine. The Sculptor of the sacred Trinity, enclosed in a glass box and fitted well on the wall, is just inside the entrance of the Church. We were happy to grab the opportunity of a few pictures here.