To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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kilkenny at dawn befor the rain

Eurotrip 2006 Ireland

As much as I like Dublin, I only go to see my boys, so this year we went down the country to savour the "real" Ireland. Why Kilkenny you may ask ... it seemed like a good idea at the time...the Design Centre, the castle etc... It took about an hour to get to out of town due to Dublin grid lock before we ripped down the N78 through Naas, Athy and onwards (I used to drive that road regularly).

Arriving in Kilkenny we asked a passing couple the way to the B&B .. They were Polish and they didn't undertand a word we said. We later discovered that whilst last year was that of the Chinese this was that of the Polish immigrant. We even discovered a Polish Social Club down on the Quays. Well I suppose there are cultural affinities between Ireland and Poland: Good catholics; lot of meat processing plants. and after all we are all EU brothers.

Anyway when we found the B&B a moment later, the owner, concerned that we got into an appropriate restaurant before they closed, recommended us to Langtons Hotel where I partook of Guiness and Ham and Cabbage, the most "traditional" Irish dish available. Technically everything on menu was "Irish". The Traditional Irish breakfast the following morning at the B&B was equally Kosher so it's just as well that I have a dispensation from the Pope. Its a pity though he didn't interceed about the rain which started immediately after breaksfast and continued until we left the following morning.

It put a slight dampner of the town "walk about". In fact to keep out of rain we ducked in and out of pubs and churches ( .. this was Ireland) The castle, ancestral home of the Butlers wasn't a great success but then it's not quite in the same class as other places we have visited, such as the Doge's Palace, Venice; the Pitti Palace, Florence, the Topkapi, Istanbul and of course Hampton Court, London.

There was also a slight problem that I had built up Kilkenny to my partner as the design capital of Ireland to which coach loads of Japanese tourist visited to buy quality designer pieces (Oh so.... the nearest thing to a Jap was the nip in the air - it was chilly and the only other oriental faces we saw was the 2 delivery men from Futian dropping of supplies to a local chinese restaurant.

And in truth the Design Centre wasn't really "buzzing". This may be because the season simply hadn't started and they weren't geared for visitors - It's possible that Japanese tourists simply descend en masse in a 24 hour period every year for frenzied shopping and we just missed them. Pity really.

All in all though the irish countryside was as I remembered ... wet, lush and green

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