After having our first home cooked Irish breakfast at our B&B which consisted of eggs, bacon (more like ham), soda bread, sausage and a slice of tomato we checked out and drove to see some of the main sights of Kilkenny. Our first stop was the St Mary’s Cathedral…one of the main churches in town. And then we were off to the craft center which was directly across the street from the castle. The craft center was filled with various local crafts from the area…pottery, wool items, jewelry, glassware, linens etc. We walked through, shopping until we saw the restaurant at the top of the stairs and decided even though we weren’t quite hungry yet to try the soda bread and a chocolate dessert. We have only been in town for 24 hours and the soda bread seems to be everywhere and is very good…we’ll need to get a recipe.
After our snack, we walked through the garden area of the craft center and then across the street to the Kilkenny castle. The grey stone castle was fairly big and stood on a huge lawn area. We decided not to take the tour of the inside but walked around taking pictures before grabbing a hot tea and driving to the town of Cashel.
Cashel was about 45 minutes further south and was known for its huge castle. We walked around the castle and went inside viewing the medieval structure and its remains. Inside the castle walls there was also a graveyard with many large stone crosses standing tall. We enjoyed viewing the details in the ruins and chatting with another Irish couple as we all got stuck in the rain taking cover under part of the castle.
After our visit to the famous Cashel Rock we walked down the hill to the town, noticing the buildings had a similar old-fashioned feel to them. There were signs everywhere for the local brewed beer, Guinness. We stopped in one of the little bakeries and purchased a loaf of fresh-baked soda bread. The town was smaller than Kilkenny so after about 15 minutes we had seen most of it. The rain was starting to fall so we ducked into a restaurant to grab some lunch. We ordered a bowl of the homemade vegetable soup, a salad and side of french fries. Giff got online to check the stock market since there was free wi-fi and suddenly realized the market was crashing. As the rain was drenching the streets, the market was doing horrible. This was not exactly ideal being we are spending money traveling and money we had in savings was being taken down with the market.
The rain finally stopped and we paid our bill so we could get on the road to the city of Cork where we were sleeping for the night. A little over an hour of driving lead us to a super nice hotel in Cork called, CastleMartyr Resort (www.castlemartyrresort.ie). We use a site called, skyauction.com to get hotel rooms and packages at discounted prices. The online site auctions off various things in the travel arena and we had won this five-star hotel room for a very good price. The resort was on an 18 hole golf course. It also had a big pond with horses grazing on the grass. We checked in and were shown our large room and the various areas of the historical hotel. Our room had things like heated floors in the bathroom and a flat screen with buttons to turn lights on and open the blinds. We enjoyed our evening at the hotel and had take-out dinner from a small cafe down the street.