A lot to see today but not too far to travel. Breakfast at 8:00am so a bit of a sleep in to catch up on yesterday. Great accommodation at this B&B run but a lovely couple and a great Irish Breakfast with home made bread and scones. I knew today could only be better. No time to write up yesterday and process the photos but that can be tonight if we get a good run during the day. First task, set the route up in the GPS as that also didn't get done last night. Who said things would get better. For reasons unknown to man or woman kind, my route planning software decided it no longer wanted to work. No this may not sound like a crisis, but when that route has all the GPS locations of each point we want to visit, it becomes difficult to again try to set these up while on the road. One and a half hours later with no software solution and with a basic program for the day we head out to explore Kilkenny Castle and the town surrounds.
We will probably be castled out fairly quickly but this one was a good one to start at for an overview. Created back in the 13th century and restored 200 years ago it was quite impressive, All the housing, coach houses and stables are still intact but re-purposed and the grounds are immaculate. After spending some time at the castle, we headed for the car and somebody yells "Hello Bevan". Could it be for me as no one knows we are here? We turn around to see the owner of the B&B driving past waving to us. Told you it was a great place.
We are to find that much of the history of east Ireland centres on the invasion by the Vikings and subsequently the English and the wars associated with each. Hence the proliferation of castles and watch towers in most towns. Some in good condition, most in ruin and of these, some are maintained tourist attractions and others, even though of significant historical significance etc. of a local area, are just being overgrown by trees and in the middle of a field.
After Kilkenny, we headed for Kells to have a look at the old Priory. Driving into the village just on lunch time, we spotted a lovely spot on the River Kings where there was an old flour mill. This was to be a short stop for lunch but we we caught but a local Irishman with the gift of the gab. This bloke talked non-stop for 3o mins giving us the history of the area since around 800AD. Talk about a fountain of knowledge. Great experience and had also been a visitor to Queensland many years ago. The mill, built in the 1700s, was one of 16 mills that were along this stretch of the river. Only a couple now remain as tourist attractions. The original wheel and associated gears in the mill are still working and are constantly turning. Inside the mill beside the well greased gears, you cannot hear them turning.
On to Kells Priory. Believed to be the only priory in Ireland built inside fortified walls, a lot of the buildings are still standing, in poor condition but sufficient to see the streets etc of the layout. Being close to the River Kings, a portion of the river flow was diverted through the fort to drive the mill inside. Not far from here we we located a site of ruins of the Kirlee Monastery. Among the trees in a cow paddock, "Beware of the bull" sign and all. Harking back to Viking days, not much remains now except the lookout and sanctuary tower,what is left of a small chapel and a cemetery where, believe it or not, some of the graves are stilled maintained by family descendents and a new tombstone has even been erected. The site is important for the High Cross nearby which was erected to honour one of the High Kings of Ireland. When crossing the flooded River Kings upstream from Kells, one of his servants was swept away. When no-one would go to his aid, the King himself went in and was drowned. After the flood, his body was found at Kells and he was buried near the monastery.
From here, my manual route planning let me down and we missed a couple of sites but time was getting away so we headed direct to Waterford, once the home of fine crystal. The Waterford factory is no longer working but the business is still active in the town retailing and providing an attraction for tourists. Once again there is the old Viking/Norman era fortification of a tower, now the oldest civic building in Ireland.
On the way to Waterford, because it wasn't the planned route, we actually hit a section of 120 kph highway. Great, we can make up time. I haven't yet mentioned that the car has a very close gate between 3rd gear and 5th gear. Often goes into 3rd when I'm changing to 5th. Well, it does 120kph in 3rd no worries but I realised the error and changed into 5th. A little while later we get an alarm and the message "Engine overheating, shutting down, call for service". Pulled to the side of the road and coasted for a while and the temperature quickly dropped to normal and we continued. I figured it must be another sensor fault and continued, then wondered if I had done the 3rd gear trick again. No further problems.
From Waterford it was on to Cashel to see what is known as the "Rock of Cashel", a fortified building on top of a rocky hill dominating the town. Unfortunately, it was raining by now and access was limited and closing time approaching so we were unable to get a good look at the place. Onwards to Tipperary, a long way to get there but only a short drive from Cashel. Not a lot to see but definitely had to say we've been there. After business hours by now and still raining, we wandered past the old Bridewell Jail, now in use as offices but with a long history and was actually put back into use as a jail early last century during a civil war.
Into Mitchelstown about 6:30 and time to have a dinner to celebrate out 39th Wedding Anniversary. Nice dinner of lamb cutlets but could not match the flavour of my sister's White Dorpers.
Back to the room to get photos sorted and processed for yesterday's and today's updates then another hour trying to sort the route mapping software. I've run out of ideas for now and will have to seek a solution when I get back to London.
It's now almost 7:00am after 2 hours putting the last 2 days down into words. Now it's time to build a bridge and get over the routing problem, sort out a new process, have breakfast and get on the road.
Happy Father's Day to all you Fathers out there.