Our first stop was Kilkenny! Between the five of us, we had two guidebooks...Rick Steves and The Lonely Planet, this gave us many opportunities for cross-referencing information regarding guest houses and restaurants. We decided to drive into Kilkenny to check out the options for accommodations before deciding on The Berkeley House. Not the least expensive place, but as cheap as we were willing to stay in!
Once we were checked in, we headed out to find a place to eat. We happened upon Kyteler's Inn..which seemed apropos for a group like ours.
The original owner of this Inn was Dame Alice le Kyteler whom was born in Kilkenny in the year 1263. In her time she gained much notoriety not least because sheacquired four husbands and a considerable fortune. Her enemies eventually conspired to accuse her of witchcraft and have her burned at the stake. It is now generally accepted that the charges against Dame Alice and her associates were trumped up but what is on record has been certainly true is that Kyteler's Inn was "a place of merrymaking and good cheer".
It was here that Sara and I had our first Irish Guinness and started to learn how minor a part of meals vegetables can actually play. After dinner we did a little walking through the town and then went back to our rooms to "talk to Rick" (this is how we referred to checking the guidebooks) and the hostess about where we could go to listen to some traditional Irish music. The lady at the hotel gave us a very basic map, outlining blocks with no street names and pointed in a general direction. We made our way down a dark alley in the direction of the pub that was supposed to be having live music that night only to find that we had manged to find our way back to the one establishment we had already visited...Kyteler's Inn! I would like to point out, that we found it from an entirely different direction than the first time!
We settled into new seats and ordered our second Guinness in Ireland. The music was fun...penny whistles, accordion, guitar and a potpourri of other instruments mixed in...but the best part was the table next to us. First a little background...we had expected to come to Ireland and see groups of carousing men singing along with pints in their hands...what we didn't expect was groups of carousing women singing along with pints in their hands!!! These girls were hysterical to watch! Singing drinking songs, dancing, laughing, they were having a great time! I don't know why we expected drinking to be a mans sport in Ireland. (An aside: One of the most popular beers on tap in Ireland? Budweiser! I kid you not! At least they have Guinness to make up for it!)
We stayed out fairly late that night. F and A turned in early and Sara, C and I went to the all night grocery for some snacks before bed. Sara picked out some potato chips that were 'spare rib and 5 oriental spice' flavored, and I chose a Turkish Delight which was nothing like I expected from reading about it in the Chronicles of Narnia as a child (I think I was expecting this instead) mine tasted like perfume....which was better than the spare rib potato chips ended up tasting after an entire bag.
Thus ended our first night in Kilkenny....and Irish Breakfast greeted us the next morning!