We got to sleep in this morning. It was nice not to have to be up before the sun. Today we had the bus trip to Kilkenny and the monastic village of glendlough. We walked to the meeting place which was across the river and on the other side of the spire, the Gresham hotel. For breakfast we bought a four pack of blue berry muffins, a bottle of water and a bottle of juice. I also got a granola bar and a banana. We ate our meal on the bus.
Our guide was called Kieran and our driver was Bill. They took us through the mountains and Kieran walked us through the settlement. To get into the old settlement, you have to go through two stone arches. Once you are through the second arch there is a large stone with a cross carved into it, this stone was called the sanctuary stone. If you were running from the law, all you had to do was get to a monastery, place your hand on the stone, say sanctuary and no one could touch you. Think the hunchback of Notre Dame if you need an example of this, granted it’s the wrong place and time peril but you get the idea.
There is a grave yard that is till used by the locals to this day. There is even a graves tone of a man who lived in the 1600s that lived to be 106 years old. Impressive even by today’s standards. This mans long life is attributed to the healing powers of the head monk Kevin. He built the monetary but spent most of his time up in the mountains surrounding the area.
Of the buildings that are standing there is a circular tower that acted as a beacon, lookout tower and a temporary hiding place from the invading Vikings. The beacon was to guide pilgrims on their way to visit the site.
Another building I’d called Kevin’s kitchen. It wasn’t a real kitchen, but the private place for Kevin while he was down from the mountain. Here he would pray and burn candles and in-scents. When he did this, white smoke would come from the chimney and it would look like he was cooking.
After the guided tour from Kieran, we were turned loose to explore. Simply beautiful is the only way to describe it. Aimee and I walked to the lower lake and stopped to take pictures of the lake and the waterfall the fed into it. There was a second upper lake that was 1.4 km away from the settlement. However we wouldn’t have made it there and back without having to sing our national anthem as punishment for being late back to the bus.
Before getting back on the bus I did a little shopping. I had been looking for a Celtic knot necklace and I found one. I also got a post card with a picture of what the settlement would have looked like if it was still standing today. The last thing I got was a tea towel thingy (not exactly sure what you would call it, so thingy it is) that has the words to the Irish Blessing printed on it. This was a surprise find. Bit of a digression here, so bare with me. There is a song that my high school sings every year as the last song of the last concert. It’s called the Irish Blessing.when I saw the fabric and saw the words on it, the tune of the song started coming back and I knew that I had to get it. Not sure what I’m going to do with it, maybe il frame it, but I had to get it.
Two people were late getting back to the bus, we didn’t hear an anthem though. Bill then took us out to a scenic point for pictures. Truly magnificent. From there we headed to Kilkenny city and the Dundurm cave. Kieran gave the 54 tourers a choice, we could either spend the full 2.75 hours solos in Kilkenny city, or we could spilt our time and go to the cave. Aimee and I chose the cave.
Going a little quicker here. The cave was cool but not what I expected. I thought we would be actually spelunking, this was more like a walking the park. Got back to the city and tried to find dinner in a so port bar, but ended up at sub away instead.
When we got back to dublin from our tour we had about an hour before our last attraction in Ireland. The grave digger bus tour. A funny sort of scary that will have you slightly afraid but not fearing for your life. On this spooky tour we were guided by a ghoul that for now I’m going to call “justin.” He was a spirit from the time of the Black Plague in Ireland. He took us to Dublin castle and told us about a murderous black pig, the local gaol where dread is felt by those who visit, a cemetery that has suffered through body snatching, attempts to turn it into a garden and finally closed due to over crowding. We ending this tour at another cemetery that had a bar resting on two sides. Here we got a free drink, a shot of orange juice and I’m guessing vodka, and had the chance to have a glass of the best Guinness in all of Ireland. Aimee and I passed on this to take with “justin.”
Last night we had decided that we weren’t going to spend our last night at the four courts hostel. We wanted to be closer to the airport to make the next morning easier. Tonight we are staying in the Maldron hotel which is right across the street from the airport. I was super say he’d to fine that this room had a tub and shower combination. It might be a little TMI, but a soak in the tub felt good after our past few days.