Staying left, yellow and black and chippies to go

Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
Trip End Sep 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Lawcus Farm Guesthouse, Kilkenny City, Ireland

Flag of Ireland  , County Kilkenny,
Sunday, September 5, 2010


Early this AM, the small alarm went off and Ginger threw it at me in protest.  It was her way of saying "This is all your planning and I just want my sleep back".  Regardless I awoke and get things going. Today was going to be a BIG day – our first step out into the Irish roadways on our own and trusting our little friend TomTom to get us to each destination.  Soon after a quick inventory check, I was already packing things together  around 730am. Ginger was up in protest soon after and we eventually made our way downstairs for breakfast in the hotel restaurant….

….which was PACKED.  And not only packed, but just one of those things that we wanted to stay away from…lot's of grumpy tourists who were either bumping in front of you (while in queue) or just looking unhappy.   We continued to defy the atmosphere but smiling – grabbing our continental breakfast for 6 euro each and got our bags and checked out.  While checking out I must say that Ginger and I started to see a lot of people in wither rugby or soccer jerseys – like loads of them around. All looking very antsy and we could tell that something this brewing in Dublin. I know we were not far off from a huge stadium, so I figured local game today (and boy, was I wrong – see below).

After a quick check out, we grabbed a taxi (big van) and met the nicest taxi driver.  He was very inquisitive about us and where we have been and wanted to know where we were visiting. Ginger kindly asked about all the people wearing the black/yellow jerseys walking down the streets.  Turns out it was for the Kilkenny team – The Cats  (on all the jerseys we saw printed Cill Chainnigh with means "Cell or church of Cainnech/Canice")and is also the administrative centre of County Kilkenny in Ireland) who was in the finals today against Tipperary (blue/white).  But Dublin was packed with Kilkenny fans and this was their 5th time in the finals and if they won a 5th time, it would be a record and the only team to do so!  Quite exciting! We made our way through south city central and the guy asked me why I rented from this particular location  - seems it would have been easier to rent from the Dublin airport location based on where we were heading next – oh well.  Panic now sets in.  Also, kudos to Ginger for asking for any tips on how to drive in Ireland…”The right eye follows the white line” the cabbie said. This helped because Ginger kept saying “Leftie Lucy”.

Meanwhile, we made it to the Car Park and stood in line waiting for (which we named Felipe after the one and only Italian F1 superstar Felipe Massa) our Fiat F500. Once he arrived, he was everything we thought he’d be. White, short, squat and PLENTY of room for our luggage (in spite what Ginger’s concerns).  Of course, she panicked worrying about my driving on the left side of the road with a left hand stick shift. We found our way gingerly onto the M5 and headed out of the city. It was a moment where you are baptized in a fleeting moment – all 4 wheels cross onto the tarmac and blammo….you’re driving!  Really it was initially scary (video to be posted soon), but with helpful reminders such as “OMG – CURB!” from Ginger as I was having a tough time judging the distance on the now passenger side. 

Our next stop was a surprise for the Grands. We were heading to Tullamore – to visit the Tulamore Dew Heritage Center!  Our folks just LOVE the Dew. We found it after a few turnarounds and stops for directions...I just did not have the exact address so of course, I sent Ginger in to ask for help.  We drove right past it and never saw it. We pulled in a small one lane driveway and waited for the office to open. Once inside, we found out they distill the Dew in Cork (have not distilled here in many many many years), not at the original site. But still had a nice display of equipment and wax dummies (creepy) demonstrating how to fill and cork the bottles.  We filmed the short film and visited the gift shop and off we went to get back on the road to Kilkenny as time was getting short.

The next leg of our journey was driving through many small towns on the way south to Kilkenny. One in particular - Abbeyleix was Ginger’s favorite. A quaint, pretty little town is what she called it. She kept taking photos and shots wherever, whenever she could. Eventually, we made our way through to Kilkenny.  And WOW! WHAT A TOWN!  I must say that the Cats fans are die hard – and they show it like no other US based team that I have ever seen.  Black and Gold flags where EVERYWHERE and on every house and hoisted on every flagpole and inside every store and dressed on every mannequin and painted on every car – you get the idea!  At each twisty turn out of each small town - Kids were waving their flags, yelling, cheering and we honked as much as we could.  It was FANtastic! We soon hopped a crest and came across the city center and couldn’t believe our eyes. All the little tows were quaint, but put all the little towns together and you get Kilkenny – but SLATHERED in yellow and black colors. I just pictured the old townspeople and jesters and regality promenading the streets.

I wanted to make quick time as I wanted to visit on of the most haunted Pubs in Ireland - Kyteler's Inn, Kilkenny City, Ireland (est 1324!).  The story here was that the original owner of this Inn was Dame Alice le Kyteler whom was born in Kilkenny in the year 1263. In her time she gained much notoriety not least because she acquired four husbands (!) and a considerable fortune. Her enemies eventually conspired to accuse her of witchcraft and have her burned at the stake. It is now generally accepted that the charges against Dame Alice and her associates were trumped up but what is on record as been certainly true is that Kyteler's Inn was "a place of merrymaking and good cheer."  I did not see any apparitions, but I did get a brush on my arm while coming down the stairs to the lower level for a pint….very odd.  Needless to say – we were very hungry and surrounded by fans.  We had a delicious lunch upstairs (the toasted grilled cheese and ham I requested was fab!) and a pint and went downstairs to the lower level (queue the scary music). It was here that Ginger made friends with Tom Brennan – an older gentleman who gave her the 101 on curling as well as everything Cats (the team).  He was so nice and we stayed until we could and had to leave to Stoneyford.

Quickly on the road again, we made great time (maybe 10 min drive) to Stoneyford.  It was great because I entered in the exact coordinates into the TomTom and took us right to the front door.  We were met by a very friendly dog named Tippy who was all over Ginger.  The Lawcus Farm Guest House is just wonderful….just wonderful.  Ginger was very happy on my decision and the farm animals and just sweeties.  The property is just a wonderful mix of Irish countryside and lush green.  The winds have picked up a bit and the rain is starting to lightly come down.  The owners (Anne Marie and Josh) are so nice – their son is really cute and funny. 

It is now around 8PM and we are in from walking the grounds as I type this, I hear Ginger now asking the owners about if the house is haunted and apparently, our room – the Stone Room is haunted.  Great.  We are planning to head out soon to a local pub for a pint and a bite to eat.  It is not that far and I am actually looking forward to driving at night.  Soooooooooooo….

We just got back from quite an adventure and I am soaked.  It seems that we did not account for the 50mph winds and rain storm that soon hit the area and at night.  So off we went in mild rain and our hosts told us to shoot for Thomastown – just east of Stoneyford.  Apparently very small town and has a few good pub (not many).  So with TomTom in hand, off we went.  It was quite freaky driving down a very small road – in pitch black with just the headlamps illuminating you way and giving you this tunnel vision for miles.  Car comes by and you literally need to slow down to a crawl.  Eventually we made it and saw a nice little pub called The Jerpoint Inn (named after Jerpoint Abbey which we will visit tomorrow).  As soon as we opened the door – it was well, filled with some seriously drunk and upset Cats fans who were still dealing with the loss – but I have to say, we met some of the friendliest people tonight at the pub.  We met some bikers who took a liking to Ginger and were very friendly – one guy she thought was from Prague.  And we met two chaps outside the pub smoking fags and were so nice, they gave ginger their Kilkenny Cats rope thingy – something you hang around your neck.

So on the way out, we asked where they got their curry in chips and the guys said “Ere, go ahn down to the chipper over dere – they have de best chippies!”  So we went  next door to Monti's Takeaway and ordered a Pizza.  I was so jonesing for some chicken curry chippies, but the pizza fit the bill.  So there we are in a torrential down pour and had to drive back to the farmhouse and man was it scary – but so exciting.  I can honestly say that we really enjoyed tonight and a small place called Thomastown – it is not a touristy place and people were asking us “why did you come to Thomastown and to this pub?”  And all we said was “why not”.  That is the whole point of this trip.  We cannot wait for tomorrow as we hope to see some historical sites!

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Sister Sue on

Sunday night in Texas and we loved looking through all the pictures - the video was awesome!! Looks like you guys are having a blast. Keep taking pictures and posting everyday. Luv ya both!

Woody on

Tell the folks at Lawcus Farm in Stoneyford, I luv their home & hope to meet them some day!!! What a beautiful setting. A toast of Tullamore was made to you travelers last nite by the bittyes & roasters...U R doing a great job posting us...xoxoxoxo

McMeredith on

Just remember - stay within the lines, the lines are your friend. The white line on the right side of the road, that is.

Richard on

Man...those are some scary roads you are driving on, but seems like you are getting the hang of it. It must be great having Ginger with you...she's not afraid to speak to anyone which is awesome. You need to take a picture of a black person for me over there...I haven't seen one since the Phil statue...LOL. The pictures and stories are great, keep them coming.

Daniels on

I love the blog! I look forward to it every day. Peter you are so funny, and brave for driving at night. we are so jealous! It looks like you are having a great time! Be safe! Love you! Chris and Christy

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