My Memorable Kilkenny Experience in Photo’s
Followers of The Life of Stuff on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus got a glimpse of my latest Kilkenny Experience when I shared some fun photo’s of my visit and stay there. For those who missed them here they are but read down further because I’m about to share lots more photographs (as always click to zoom) along with an itinerary you can very easily model your visit or stay on …
I’m a huge fan of Kilkenny. I love the Kilkenny Arts Festival and have had a blast at the ‘Kilkenny Roots Festival’ so when I was recently invited to join an intimate group of fellow bloggers and writers to experience some of the highlights Kilkenny City has to offer, all courtesy of the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, I was only delighted to RSVP with a big YES and ‘see you there’.
Our Kilkenny Adventure was scheduled to include the following on Day One; Check in, lunch and a night’s stay at the River Court Hotel, a Walking Tour of Kilkenny City with Pat Tynan, a tour of the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny, a Smithwick’s with a Smithwick!, dinner at the Design Centre and finally a Bodhran Session in Kytelers Inn. Day Two was scheduled to include climbing the Round Tower at St Canice’s Cathedral and a Fab Food Trail with Eveleen Coyle, unfortunately I missed Day Two but I’ll definitely be back to experience them some time soon.
As readers of The Life of Stuff you should know by now that Patrick and I are first time parents to a very handsome, soon to be five months old, little boy, Smith (fancy that!) and although the majority of the scheduled plan for our Kilkenny Experience with Smithwick’s was child friendly … we decided that Mommy (that ‘s me) would join her new Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny family while father and son would enjoy a leisurely stroll around the city and hang out doing ‘boys stuff’ back at the hotel.
We set out for Kilkenny early, checked in to the Rivercourt Hotel – you can read more here in River Court Hotel, Kilkenny – Our Stay in Photo’s and made the most of our family time together by stopping off for coffee, visiting Kilkenny Castle and window shopping at the Design Centre. Then it was time for me go experience Kilkenny for myself.
I met my Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny family in the bar of the Rivercourt Hotel and enjoyed a delicious late lunch with them at about 3.30pm. It was a great opportunity to meet, greet and get to know each other.
After lunch we made our way to the hotel lobby where we were introduced to Pat Tynan who would take us on a Medieval Walking Tour of Kilkenny. Pat has been sharing his knowledge and love of Kilkenny through his tours for over 30 years so there was no better man for the job. The tour took an hour in total and Pat guided us through the streets of Kilkenny along the Medievel Mile, sharing with us history on the buildings, streets and the most interesting stories about its historical residents, we even came across archiogical excavation work. Tales, history and legends of the Mayor who fathered 25 children, the witch who murdered her husbands, yes there was more than one! … the Spinning Cage outside the Tholsel for troublemakers and the burning of Petronella … all very eerie but very enjoyable.
With our spirits high on history and legend it was on to another legend … the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny.
We were greeted by Mark McGovern the Manager of the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny and Simon our Tour Guide. Simon did an excellent job teaching us the history of Smithwick’s and he was full of passion for the place, most likely because both he and his father had worked in the same building the Kilkenny Experience is housed in now, which is the original brewery. The Smithwick’s experience is quite interactive and there were lots of special effects throughout the tour that we enjoyed. The tour ended in the Smithwick’s Bar where we not only got to enjoy a cold and very refreshing pint but also got to try out their newly released Smithwick’s Tasting paddles that included the original Smithwick’s, Smithwick’s Blonde and Smithwick’s Pale Ale. Tasty. To top it off we then got to meet Paul Smithwick! A very interesting gentleman who I could have listened to over a pint for hours … I’m sure the stories he told us were only the tip of the iceberg but I did feel spoilt. Voted as a Lonely Planet must see for 2015, the only one in Ireland, I’ve dedicated a separate blog post for you to enjoy here at The Smithwick’s Experience, 44 Parliament St, Kilkenny
Following a short trip to the Smithwick’s Retail Store, the only place to purchase authentic Smithwick’s merchandise we made our way to the Kilkenny Design Centre which is opposite Kilkenny Castle in all its splendour. When we got there at about 7.30pm we made our way upstairs to the Award Winning Anocht (aptly named – it means tonight in Irish). Our table was set and we were ready to order. The restaurant has a very airy, light and fresh feel to it with its oak beamed ceiling, neutral coloured walls and windows that look out either to Kilkenny Castle or the Design Centre Courtyard, which was built in the 1780s by the Butlers, Earls of Ormonde, and used as the castle’s coach houses and stables. Dinner at Anocht was delicious and it was easy to taste why it is award-winning. You can read more about my dining experience and drool over more photo’s in my post Anocht, Kilkenny Design Centre, Castle Yard, Kilkenny.
Meal over and with bellies full, it was time to walk off a little of that fullness and merriness and make our way to the renowned Kytelers Inn where our Bodhran Session and Irish Beats with Damien awaited. Honestly I interpreted ‘Bodhran Session’ to mean sit over a pint of Smithwick’s and observe but I was very wrong and pleasantly pleased that I was. Our Bodhran Session was very interactive as it was not a session but a lesson! We each had a bodhran and stick otherwise known as a cipín and got the chance to play to our hearts content. Damien Walsh is an experienced musician and an excellent instructor. His lesson was fun and as energetic as you let it be. There were smiles all around and I know I wasn’t the only one who left the session with a jig in my step and wanting to own my own bodhran to practice on. A definite recommendation.
Finally it was back to the River Court Hotel for my leaba. It was so nice to have Patrick and Smith there. With Smith comfortably fast asleep, I was delighted to able to share stories of my afternoon and evening adventure with Patrick as it really was a Kilkenny experience to remember. I look forward to returning to the Marble City again. I’d like to experience all I did with Patrick and our son and I know she has even more up her sleeve to show us.