Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny was the first town in Ireland where I felt the cobbled stone streets under my feet. I think it was a Sunday evening and that’s why I thought it felt so empty. It was only later in my trip that I learned that all the evenings felt this silent in Ireland. The sounds came, but only when the door of a bar opened, and sometimes the sound traveled like it did that evening. I had to only walk in that direction and very soon I was seated next to three very happy men at a bar counter. My first Irish bar in my first Irish town had a vibe which was different from the one I was used to in Eastern Europe or Peru.

The bar and restaurant street

There was only space on the counter to keep my phone and my drink, as most of it was occupied by the empty beer glasses the men had consumed. The bar was not as full as its counter but was loud, and when one of the three men near me to make a conversation, I simply said ‘India’ coz I assumed it was the most standard question, ‘where are you from’? The atmosphere was lively and when the singer switched over from classic Irish to western country, a few of the North American bar mates joined in. One of them like me, even said, ‘Canada’. I think he just wanted to differentiate himself from his neighboring country.

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On the top of the table

Very soon both were on the table, my second drink and the singer. He had decided he wanted a higher stage. The barman looked at me, smiled and said, ‘Welcome to Ireland’. I smiled back and said, “could I get one more?”. The food was pretty basic but I was not complaining about such an atmosphere. It was loud only with the noise, it did not feel loud. I walked out onto the streets of Kilkenny and once again was surrounded by silence. It felt as silent as walking in midnight in the Arctics.

The town of Kilkenny has its share of sights with the Castle looming large over the city. The town center though has more bars than sights to visit but then the bars are a sight in themselves. The River Nore runs through the town and a view of the castle with the river in the foreground is quite nice especially coz not many people would come in between your camera and the castle.

Kilkenny castle

That evening when I walked back to my accommodation, I had thought I would go to the castle in the morning before driving out of town. I, however, found a piece of town on its central street and therefore felt no such need to go to the Castle. When the shops are closed and the streets are empty, a town bears a deserted look, which has its beauty. Kilkenny too felt beautiful that Sunday evening and as I slept that night, I felt a sense of excitement. Kilkenny was known as a beer brand around the world, but to me, I will always know it as my first town in Ireland, the first time I liked Ireland.

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Top 5 Kilkenny Experiences

  1. Walk on the central street, interestingly called ‘The Parade’.
  2. Go bar hopping on a weekend with live music pouring out on the streets.
  3. Try the classic goat cheese dish in any of the restaurants.
  4. Even if you aren’t a big stout fan, have a Kilkenny beer.
  5. Choose some time in the late evening to just stare at the River and the Castles reflection on it.
Classic sheep cheese recipe

Note: This post is written and published as group of posts for Ireland and Scotland. More to follow.

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Noman Sayyed is a freelance front-end web developer, consultant — focusing on HTML5, SVG, CSS, and JavaScript. He writes for various high-profile blogs and magazines including the Adobe Dream Weaver Blog, Opera Developers’ Blog, Smashing Magazine, Netmag, and CSS-Tricks, among others. You can find her writing on her blog, and follow her on Twitter @NomanSayyed.