Irish Independent - Weekend Magazine - - Food -

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’

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