Not as much fun to say as Killarney but perhaps a more interesting city for us to visit. In fact, the castle is one of most visited heritage sites. Thankfully there weren’t a lot of guests that day in May. A parking lot down a side street provided a spot for us. We wandered a bit towards the castle and then stopped in the large craft store to view the wares and use the baños.
After admiring the length of the grounds and watching a video about the history of the castle, we decided to take the self-guiding tour. Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare AKA Strongbow, the Anglo-Norman conquerer, built the first wooden tower in 1172. Twenty years later his son-in-law erected a stone castle with four towers. Only three survive to this day. The Butler family lived there for about 550 years before the financial requirements became too great. They auctioned off most of the furnishings and for 50 pounds handed over the property to the city in 1967. Much expense went into renovating and accurately refurnishing the estate.
The Long Gallery contains portraits of the Butler family from the sixteenth century to more recent members. The 20 hectares of public parkland are wonderfully maintained and a welcome spot for anyone, including those who want to practice a bit of hurling.
We meandered around the oldest section of town for a while, enjoying the warm sunny air and historical atmosphere and headed back to the car.
Having read about some small villages we Wazed our way to what would become a favourite locale.
First stop, Thomastown. This was billed on Lonely Planet as a fun little town though it didn’t strike us in the quite the same way. It still has some bits of medieval town walls and down by the bridge over the River Nore, 1792, is Mullin’s Castle.
We moved on to Inistioge, population 260!! This wonder is a worthy of its own post.