KICK BACK IN KILKENNY
Ive explored a lost town in Kilkenny. I shot one of my favourite Irish photos there. I’ve eaten Michelin-star meals in two different restaurants, and walked into the earth to find one of Ireland’s darkest places. Each time, I could have been home in time for tea. That’s the beauty of this place. You could fit the population into Croke Park, with a few thousand left over, but they still serve one of the richest taster plates of heritage, food and outdoors activities Ireland has to offer. The lost town? You’ll find it on Joe O’Connell’s farm at Jerpoint Park. The photo? It’s of the arched bridge at Inistioge. The darkness? That was deep inside Dunmore Cave, when a guide switched off the lights. All this, less than two hours from Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Waterford.
“It’s a really walkable city that is choc-full of culture and heritage,” says Kathy Purcell of Castlecomer Discovery Park. “There’s a cosmopolitanism; the look and feel of it is beautiful as you walk around.” Just like the Marble City, where a slip or alley might lead you to a hidden history or an unplanned night out, the towns, farms and curving flow of the River Nore also make this a county that keeps giving.
Of course, you shouldn’t go home for tea. You should stay over. A new #MoretoExplore marketing campaign has kicked off. Like everywhere, Kilkenny will a little different. But it will be reassuringly familiar, too.
In our new staycation series, Pól Ó Conghaile celebrates lost towns, stellar food... and something called ‘hurling’