After my time in Belfast, I took the train down to Dublin again and immediately went through to Kilkenny. It was a day mostly spent in the train, but thank fuck for Iairnród Éireann (Irish Rail) and their free WiFi and outlets! OUTLETS! in their trains. Did I mention they offer outlets?! OUTLETS! They also announce everything in both Irish and English, which is fucking hilarious because I do honestly not understand how people even know how to pronounce Irish, let alone speak it. I swear to God, I even understood more Hungarian words than I understood Irish words.
Anyway. Moving on.
Kilkenny is a lovely little town not too far from Dublin. Its main feature is a castle, appropriately called Kilkenny castle. While I might not have realised this yet in Kilkenny, I would soon discover that every little dignified Irish town would have at least one castle. However, Kilkenny’s castle was the first one I paid a visit too. It was lovely to walk through and the view was pretty great. There’s a big piece of land attached to the castle, which functions as a local park where people go for a run, walk their children or sit down with a book.
In Kilkenny I stayed in MacGabhainns hostel. It’s located very close to the city centre, but that’s to be expected when a town is as small as Kilkenny is. The hostel was pretty nice and the manager was very kind as well.
I spent one day walking and exploring Kilkenny and the next day I tried to figure out something else to do. That’s when I heard of the Dunmore caves. They are ancient caves that can be found just outside of Kilkenny. There’s a bus that runs there and back, so I decided to give it a go. Got on the bus just fine, it was when I got off the bus at my ‘stop’ that I got slightly more apprehensive about it all. I say ‘stop’, because the driver literally just stopped on the road in the middle of nowhere and told me that this was the stop for the Dunmore caves. When I got out, I did indeed see a sign that said ‘Dunmore caves’. However, that sign didn’t say how far they would be. Before I could even ask the bus driver, he’d driven on already (but not after telling me the bus for the way back to Kilkenny would depart from this place again at 5 p.m. It was 1 p.m. now).
Not knowing what else to do, I just went to walk in the direction the sign said I had to go. I was in the absolute middle of nowhere, the only thing I could hear were some cows mooing in the distance. I made my way along the road (going uphill, thanks) and luckily saw some more signs for the Dunmore caves, so I figured they couldn’t be too far away. After about fifteen minutes of walking, I finally saw a sign that said ‘Dunmore caves reception’, so I found it after all. Thank the lord.
For the way back to Kilkenny, the very very kind guide made sure I got a lift from some people who had a car and were also going that way. That was extremely nice of them and of the guide and I was very glad for it, seeing as I was done with the caves at about 3 p.m.
After my days in Kilkenny, it was time for me to move on to Cork. I liked Kilkenny, it is a quaint little town, but it’s also small enough that I could have done with staying one night less. I think I would recommend it as a trip for just a day, especially if you own or rent a car and can get in and out as you wish. Whatever you do, though, if you ever visit Kilkenny you absolutely have to visit Kilkenny castle and the Smithwick experience.