Day 2 – Easing into Ireland

We woke up early after a restful first sleep in Ireland to our serene pastoral scene in Passage East, and spent a leisurely morning reading on the deck and slowly coming to the realization that we are on vacation. Suddenly leaving home and finding oneself seemingly a million miles away will do that to a person.

Later that morning back in the town of Waterford, we got slightly lost during our meanderings. A kindly and weatherbeaten man asked if we needed help, then asked where we were from, and we struck up a chat. “I don’t travel,” he told us gravely. “I’m a hunting man.” He went on to tell us how he keeps hunting dogs and therefore has no intention of ever leaving Ireland. He had, however, heard Edmonton was nice, from a friend of a friend who had been there. Irish people are mostly quite friendly. Some of them are a bit off.

I got the genius idea to pick up some nice old cheddar and crackers from the grocery store, eliminating the need to settle for overpriced pub food for lunch.

Someone had recommended that we visit the fishing village of Dunmore East, so we did. Why not? There, on a sun-soaked terrasse overlooking the bay, Riccardo discovered he actually likes Guinness, which of course bears no resemblance to the vile swill that comes out of the taps at home. Sadly, Guinness is now ruined forever for us both.

The afternoon took us north to Kilkenny, an adorable old city boasting a disproportionate number of coffee shops, as well as loads of elegant buildings of varying historical significance. Our first order of business was to find Riccardo a place to watch Italy in the World Cup that afternoon. He found a sweet spot: the walled courtyard of a pub dating back to the fourteeth century. The original owner was one Dame Kyteler who narowly escaped being hanged as a witch after her four husbands all died under mysterious circumstances – this gruesome history was capitalized upon most blatantly by the pub’s current management with large posters and a life-sized mannequin made to look like the maleficent Dame.

I picked up a yellowing book called “Historic Kilkenny” for 50 Eurocents in a junk shop, and sat with it on a bench in the sunshine while Riccardo went off to watch the game. By the time I joined him at the second half, he was alone with his pint of Smithwicks surrounded by a rowdy bachelor party enthusiastically cheering for Costa Rica. (We figured out this must be because a win for Costa Rica meant the much-despised English team was knocked out of the series… or maybe just because everyone simply hates Italy.) After Italy’s depressing defeat, we stuck around at Kyteler Inn and embraced the tourist ethos, ordering a bowl of Irish stew and listening to a trad session. Incidentally, I have not seen “Irish stew” on any menu anywhere in Ireland since then.

Since we’d lucked out with our first Irish AirBNB experience, we’ve booked another one for tonight. We’re heading back to the “sunny southeast” tomorrow to join our Canadian friends for a family BBQ, so we elected to stay in a village midway between there and Kilkenny, called Inistioge. Will let you know when we find out how that should be pronounced!

I’ll post some real photos soon, but in the meantime enjoy these iPhone snaps:

Still bright out at 10:16 pm.

Still bright out at 10:16 pm.

Breakfast - Granary Cafe, University of Waterford Department of Architecture.

Breakfast – Granary Cafe, University of Waterford Department of Architecture.

Trad tunes.

Trad tunes.

A random stop.

A random stop.

In front of Kilkenny Castle - castle not pictured.

In front of Kilkenny Castle – castle not pictured.

 

 

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