Ireland Day Two: The Day of Castles

Our second day in Ireland was the day of castles!

Ryan and I initially planned to spend the first half of the day hiking in the Wicklow Mountains, but those plans unfortunately had to be scrapped due to weather. We were so, so bummed but since we have no control over Mother Nature, we rolled with the punches and shifted our loose itinerary around quite a bit.

Rather than setting out on a hike first thing in the morning, we checked out of the hotel right away and drove for a little less than two hours until we reached the adorable city of Kilkenny.

kilkenny ireland

kilkenny

Tons of different shops, cafes and restaurants line the streets of Kilkenny and Ryan and I had no trouble spending several hours walking around and exploring.

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Of course we had to pay a visit to Kilkenny Castle, a stunning castle that is more than eight centuries old!

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle Ireland

Everyone who told us to visit the castle before we left on our trip encouraged us to talk to the guides in the rooms and ask questions which was great advice. We learned a lot about the Butler family who once owned the castle and had a great time chatting with a few of the guides, especially the man who told us to be sure to let him know when we were ready to move in. Ha!

Unfortunately pictures were not allowed inside the castle, but I made sure to snap some photos of the gorgeous garden (sans roses since we’re obviously not visiting during the right season for beautiful flowers).

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IMG_0111 Everyone say hi to the lady in the pink jacket!

After our time in the castle, we walked around for a little longer until our stomachs told us to stop for food.

We passed by a small deli called Fresh… Pam’s Deli and the glorious smells from inside beckoned to us and we knew we found our spot.

Fresh KilkennyWe both loved everything about this place.

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My latte was fabulous and though the woman who made it couldn’t remember the name of the coffee, she said it was made locally and I couldn’t stop raving about it.

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A perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

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I also ordered a turkey bagel sandwich which immediately intrigued me when I saw that it was made with stuffing! Since stuffing is my all-time favorite Thanksgiving Day food, I couldn’t resist and was very happy with my selection. It was also quite the filling sandwich and kept me full all afternoon.

After lunch and a bit more time in Kilkenny, it was time for another two-hour drive to our second castle of the day.

Recognize this one!?

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Blarney Castle

The famous Blarney Castle is on all of the Ireland “must see” lists and while we had a feeling it would be quite touristy, we still wanted to see it because we heard that it really is pretty spectacular.

The cold, rainy weather worked in our favor because it was practically deserted! We didn’t wait in any lines and only saw a small handful of people.

Visiting Blarney Castle

We climbed to the top of the castle (freaky small staircases!) and were in awe of the beautiful view of the castle grounds. Everything was so green and lush.

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Once we reached the top, we saw a guide waiting to help anyone who wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone which, as legend says, is supposed to bring anyone who kisses it the “gift of eloquence.”

Ryan was more than game.

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After Ryan kissed it, he turned to me and said, “Your turn!” I laughed and refused and told the guide who helped Ryan kiss the stone that I heard all about what supposedly happens to the Blarney Stone when tourists aren’t there. He told me it wasn’t true and then showed me a bottle of cleaner that is used on the stone. I still wasn’t so sure, but decided to do it anyway… but very lightly and very quickly!

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It was pretty darn cool, I must admit.

Now it’s time for me to head to bed. Ryan and I have another big day ahead of us tomorrow. We’re hoping to see the Cliffs of Moher!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!

Comments

  1. Sammy Jean says

    Ah! That looks terrifying! And it sounds like you’re having a wonderful time. Enjoy the rest of your trip! Thanks for sharing everything!

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  2. Dawn says

    What an amazing vacation! I’ve only been to Dublin, but someday I would love to go back to Ireland and explore all of the little towns and countryside! Just curious, is it hard to adjust to driving on the other side of the road? I would be so scared!

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  3. Joanna says

    So glad you are loving Ireland! I am living in Limerick, Ireland at the moment (about 30-40 mins away from Cliffs of Moher) so I’m excited you are here exploring!! Hope you have an amazing time and hope the weather gets better as well :)

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  4. says

    Bummer you didn’t get to see Wicklow Woods or the roses at Kilkenny Castle. I went to Ireland a couple of years ago and have some gorgeous photos of them. But you got to kiss the Blarney Stone. Jealous! And isn’t driving in Ireland WILD?! The roads are so narrow.

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  5. Emma says

    The Cliffs of Moher are stunning! We were in Ireland last week and I am loving reliving the vacation through your blog! :) If you have time, you can tour the Smithwicks brewery in Kilkenny! And even if you don’t care for Guinness, the storehouse in Dublin is worth a visit!

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  6. Ashley says

    Hi Julie!

    Your post and photos are amazing! I’m so jealous! Just out of curiosity, did your passport get accepted with the smiling photos you posted last year. I actually am waiting mine and I’m hoping I don’t have any issues since I smiled.

    Thanks!

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  7. Karen says

    You should definitely visit the Aran Islands if the weather is good tomorrow!
    And order banoffee for dessert.
    What’s your favorite part about Ireland so far?

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    • says

      the people! we have loved spending time in pubs each night because we’ve enjoyed meeting the people so much. they’re incredibly friendly and always have great recommendations and stories. the seafood is also so fresh and delicious. and, of course, you can’t beat the GREEN scenery! we finally had a bit of sun yesterday and it was stunning.

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  8. Liz L. says

    I am enjoying reading your posts…and it’s very cool to “see” Kilkenny Castle and the Blarney Stone again…two places I visited on my one and only trip to Ireland! Funny, that I didn’t worry much about kissing the stone back then (when I was in college)….but I lived to tell about it so it can’t be that germy :) You will love the Cliffs of Moher….stunning! Looking forward to more posts about your trip….have fun! BTW- the Ritz looks like an amazing hotel…wow!!

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  9. Emma says

    I just found your blog and I love it!!! My parents are from Ireland, the rest of my family is still there. Anytime we go back it’s family time so I ‘be never got to do all of those fun touristy things. The Blarney Stone pics are amazing!!!! Have a great time, can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip.

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  10. says

    Oooh, I’ve actually been to Kilkenny castle years ago, too.
    I hope you’ll keep having lots more of fun on your trip – and not get your plans crossed by the weather again ;).

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  11. Caitlin says

    Beware of the drive to the cliffs of moher, its a very very small country road and buses will not yield to you! I’m very jealous, I wish i was traveling! Sounds like you are having a blast

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  12. Laurie Sutton says

    I loved this post because it brought me back to the time I spent in Ireland with my sister. We also kissed the Barney stone and were a little intimidated hanging upside down. I hadn’t heard any stories about the stone at that point so I didn’t hesitate! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

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  13. says

    Hey Julie!

    Looks like y’all are having tons of fun in Ireland! I went to Northern Ireland a while back and loved it! Are y’all planning on going to Giant’s Causeway while you’re there? Beautiful.

    I also had one other question…I love the boots you wore today. Where are they from?

    -Abby
    todentalschoolandbeyond.blogspot.com

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  14. says

    Kilkenny is SO cute! I would love to go there one day! I am pretty germaphobic but I think I would have to get past that to kiss the Blarney Stone… I mean, it’s a big deal!! I am glad you went through with it. :)

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  15. says

    Oh my goodness, that sandwich looks delicious! I haven’t heard about what happens to the Blarney Stone, but I will be sure to look it up. Glad day two went off with less of a hitch than dy one.

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  16. says

    haha. You know I’m a coffee fanatic when I gravitated straight to the picture of your latte! I bet it was amazing! It’s so fun to see all of your adventures! Thanks for posting them! :)

    Amanda

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  17. Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner says

    I swear Europe has the tiniest staircases! Haha I love all the photos! Hope you guys have a great trip!!

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  18. Kelly says

    One of my friend’s family is from Ireland and his dad claimed they used to pee on the stone too…didn’t stop me though haha, I felt like it is one of those things you have to do :) You’ll love the Cliffs of Moher, they are fabulous.

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  19. says

    Irland looks great from your pictures. It actually makes me thinking about going there one day. I love travelling. Post more about different places you visit.

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  20. Annie says

    Ireland is the best! I love it so much, the scenery (so green!), the people (so friendly!!!, I went to the Aaran islands once after drinking the night before and my tummy didn’t like the rocky boat’s ride at all. I ended up throwing up and one man came to me and brought me a cup of tea!! ), the food… even the weather ha! bummer about wicklow but at least you got to do other things instead :)

    Enjoy the cliffs, dunno if you’re a harry potter fan but the cave scene in half blood prince was filmed there!

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  21. says

    funny, my brother is in ireland, too. Dublin.. Maybe you meet each other without knowing :-) I really liked the wicklow mountains when I went to Ireland. Have fun over there!

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  22. says

    OMG!!!! This really looks like a great place to take a vacation. I so envy you guys for you really had a great time. I’m gonna tell my husband to take me there on our anniversary for some great experience like you guys! Thanks for letting us know.

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  23. says

    Wow, Ireland is such a great place to have a vacation too. The castles are so beautiful, full of mysteries and histories. I actually liked the story about the Butler Family. Ha ha. Turkey Bagel Sandwich looks yummy! Great food selection! Also love the adventure that you had upon climbing the staircase of the castle, as well as the kissing of the Bagel Stone! That’s so cool! So happy for the both of you. :)

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  24. says

    You were lucky, I was saw this pictures and the river from the bridge is look great really romantic. I love the way you take a pictures in front of the castle. Wish I have one but impossible, that just a dream.

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  25. says

    So excited seeing your pics – I am going to Ireland in May with my partner to look up some long lost relatives in Cork. We are then traveling around and will visit most places you have been to. Can’t wait!

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  26. Julie says

    Im loving reading your tales! My (new!) hubby & i leave this afternoon for our honeymoon in Ireland. We’re staying in 4 different castles around the country so its exciting to see your posts of what we’ll soon visit. We’re traveling to Kingscourt, Galway, Tralee, & Dublin. We have a rental car so I’m excited to hit up some cute little spots between each of our layovers. The bit about the Blarney Castle was a good tip. I’ve gone back & forth about kissing the Blarney stone bc it the concept alone seems disturbing. I didnt even know the rumors about the locals! But i also feel like if I go to ireland its just one of those things you HAVE to do! Enjoy the rest of your trip! Looking fwd to seeing more posts about your adventures.

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  27. Kristina says

    It looks like you guys are having a blast! If you spend a night in Dublin, the Brazen Head pub is one of the best bars that I visited while there. It’s the oldest bar in Ireland (dating back to 1198!), plays traditional Irish music and has very good Irish food.

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  28. says

    Hey! The weather looks like the weather I’m having here in Georgia. I wish I had some castles to explore. I want to go to that castle home on Downton Abbey!! Where is Downton? Is it in Ireland??? I need to look that up. Have fun!!!!!

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  29. says

    Oh, it’s so beautiful! My urge to go back to Europe is stronger than ever now. Interesting on the kissing tradition. I would have gone for it too. Gotta experience it all, right? Worth the possible contamination risks. 😉

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  30. Jessica says

    Too fun!! I’m an avid reader of your blog and had to laugh. My boyfriend has a stutter (it’s not too bad, but it really bugs him) so I had to show him your tidbit about kissing the Blarney stone and he immediately told me to pack my bags, haha! Anyways, I’m glad to hear you two are enjoying your time :)

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  31. says

    Yay – you kissed the Blarney Stone! We did that too when we visited Ireland a few years ago. It was so intimidating. I felt like I was going to fall through those grates. The girl ahead of me in line had a panic attack right as she got ready to lay down and kiss the stone. She didn’t end up doing it, but I was next which made me super-nervous. Turned out to be a fun memory and a fun photo to share with friends! Glad to see you’re having a fun time.

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  32. Sara says

    Let me know if you’d like me to Photoshop that lady out for you, just so you have a nice photo of the two of you without a random stranger! I’m happy to do it. You could just email me the photo; let me know if you can’t see my email address in the comments. :)

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  33. Jean says

    Hi Julie!

    If you are looking for a great place to eat with awesome beers, try out Porterhouse Temple Bar! So delicious and unpretentious. I think you and Ryan will really like it.

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  34. Angie says

    I hope you get to the Cliffs of Mohr! It is a must see!! Glad you are having a great time in a country that is a favorite of mine!! Erin Go Braugh

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  35. Jessie says

    Love Ireland! If you hit good weather, the Cliffs are AMAZING!! Not sure if it is on your itinerary, but Galway was, by far, our favorite town we visited while in Ireland. I also second going to The Brazen Head in Dublin and also have to recommend The Temple Bar. So good!

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  36. says

    Awesome pictures! It looks like you’re having a blast and making the absolute most of it :) My husband and I will be travelling through Europe from April through August, and we’ll be wrapping up our travels with stops in London, Ireland & Scotland. Your pictures have me so excited!

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  37. Alexis says

    I am so excited that you are in Ireland . I am planning a trip to Scotland and Ireland in August so your posts are giving me ideas. In April I will also be visiting Greece for 9 days. I love traveling and I am trying to take full advantage while I am stationed overseas. Glad you are enjoying your vacation.

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  38. says

    I do recognize that castle, only because my boyfriend traveled to Ireland for work (Microsoft has a big data center there) and he visited the castle while he was there. So cool. I hope you guys had a blast!

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