Highlights: Smithwick Brewery continuing the monks beer making tradition.
Today was spent in one our our small changes to the plan – Kilkenny City. We caught the 9 am bus and arrived at 11.30 am.
First visit was St Canice Cathedral, which like Dublin is still Protestant in this Catholic country. The present Cathedral dates from 1251 and contains a stone Throne in one of the walls.
We then visited the Black Abbey, close din 1543, it got its name from the monks black habits / practises. The Smithwick Brewery nearby used to be St Francis’ Abbey and now brews for Guinness. However this isn’t a big change from when the monks were in charge who also brewed beer.
The highlight of Kilkenny is Kilkenny Castle. Originally built in 1172 by Richard de Clare (aka Strongbrow) it was bought by the Butler family in 1391 and they lived here to 1921. The English Royal Family used to regularly come here for hunting parties, but with Irish Independence the Castle was virtually abandoned.