My husband and I have just returned from a week-long vacation in Ireland. About a year ago, we managed to score an amazing deal on a land-only semi-structured tour package, put together by the folks at Sceptre Tours and coordinated by Straightline Travel. During our time in Ireland, we drank at 16 pubs in 6 days, meandered through much of the countryside in the southern part of the country, wandered through a magical forest, partied in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day, and explored the history and lore of this majestic country.
Our first stop was the medieval city of Kilkenny. Having just arrived in Ireland after nearly 24 hours of travel, we were feeling fairly jet-lagged, but did manage to wander aimlessly throughout the city and take in the medieval architecture. Most stunning was the Kilkenny Castle, built in 1195.
Our first meal in Ireland was at the historic Kyteler’s Inn. Established in 1324, this pub takes its name from Dame Alice de Kyteler, born in Kilkenny in 1263. The daughter of wealthy Norman parents, Dame Alice amassed even greater wealth from her four husbands, who all died from sudden, mysterious ailments. Not only was she one of the wealthiest women in Ireland in her day, but she was also one of the first women in the country to be accused on witchcraft and sentenced to death by burning. Fortunately, she managed to escape execution, escaping to England where she was never seen or heard from again.
History aside, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dine in a pub with a black cat as part of its logo.
Although Kilkenny is home to the famous Smithwick’s Pale Ale, our first pints of the trip were actually of Kilkenny Red Ale. Beer really does taste better in Ireland.