Kilkenny; An uninspired breakfast; Wandering in the shops; A resolution to the Great Cable Quest; Kilkenny Castle; The token cemetery; Working on the websites; Late night walking

Breakfast was not an impressive effort today. It’s very difficult to diverge from the cheap backpacker’s diet of carbs, carbs and more carbs, with carbs on the side. We weren’t successful this time, it was porridge and toast for us. Afterwards we hit the showers, which were the nicest of any hostel so far - hot, with good water pressure. And unlike many hostels, where the showers give a minute or so of water each time a button on the wall is pressed, these stayed on until they were shut off. Luxury - we both took shameless advantage.

We were feeling slow and mellow that morning, so we spent a couple of hours wandering in the shops of the high street. Kilkenny was much improved by daylight. There were lots of buskers, and the high street had covered stone alleys called ’slipways’ of medieval vintage, leading off and down at right angles like tunnels, lined with or leading to more shops. There were a lot of tourists - more than we’ve seen anywhere else - and the town displayed the full ecosystem which develops in these cases to separate the tourists from their money. I wouldn’t call it sleazy at all, and not nakedly predatory as in some places. Only very practiced and twee.

Sheryl was looking for a silversmith to fix a broken link on her bracelet, and I was looking for a cable for my iPod. I’d left mine behind, not thinking I’d need it, but decided that if I had a computer I might as well be able to connect my iPod to it, so I wanted one after all. Wanting wasn’t getting though - we’d been scouring Dublin for one for days with no success, until I’d become convinced that Apple had boycotted the entire country. Finally, in a camera shop, of all places, one turned up. The girl working there told me they were everywhere, but it was the first we’d seen.

Sheryl’s condition had worsened steadily over the last day and she could barely talk - on the verge of a quite serious sinus infection. Serious enough that we considered using some of our precious store of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which, only a week into the trip, would not have boded well. She decided that decongestants might take the edge off enough for her to recover on her own, though, so we found some for her as quickly as we could.

Errands accomplished, we took in the sights of Kilkenny, such as they are. Kilkenny Castle, a very well-groomed and maintained building, had no soul or character at all, and we deemed the interior unworth the €6 admission price. The castle itself looks oddly incomplete, being three sides of a rectangle and open to a huge public park on the fourth.

St. Canice’s Cathedral had an exterior that was much more atmospheric than the castle - a run-down cemetery. I very nearly got the quintessential gothic photo - a raven perched on a tombstone - but alas, wasn’t quick enough on the draw. I did stage an amusing shot of Sheryl’s arms sticking out of an empty grave, though. I try to be respectful, but some things are too funny to resist.

Back to the hostel afterward, where Sheryl lay down for awhile and I worked more on the websites. Dinner was more uninspiring pasta glop with tuna added for a bit of protein. A short walk after dark, with the sharp and lovely scent of hops from the brewery drifting over the city, followed. It had just been announced that the brewery was to be shut down, leaving tourism as Kilkenny’s only industry, so the smell was bitter for many, I’m sure.


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Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
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