Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 19 At Sea

Today turned out fairly nice. The sun was in and out a good portion of the day and I took advantage of that fact. It felt so good to just sit back and soak up the sun. We are heading for Ireland, home to my mother’s ancestors. It will be my first visit and I anxiously await our arrival. I will once again get up early for our sail into Dunmore East, our port for Waterford. I will be on tour again…an all day one at that! Here is a description:
Medieval Kilkenny & Castle
Today’s tour brings you to Kilkenny, medieval capital of Ireland, seat of the medieval Irish parliaments and rival in importance to Dublin. The city’s origins date back more than 1,500 years. The great building ability of the Norman’s is very evident in the 11th and 12th century buildings they bestowed on the city. This medieval city is characterized by many beautifully restored buildings the most splendid being Kilkenny Castle, stronghold of the Butler family until this century. The castle began life as a Norman fortress and gradually became more domesticated through the centuries. The picture gallery includes portraits by Van Dyck and Lely. A guided visit will introduce you to the castle, its splendid antiquities and the stories its historic walls contain. The 13th century cathedral of St. Canice is the second longest cathedral in Ireland. The site on which the Cathedral Stands has been a site of Christian worship since the 6th century. The cathedral has necessitated many restorations during its life, the first by bishop Ledrede in 1332 after the central tower collapsed from an over application of lead by William outlaw as penance for being an accomplice of Dame Alice Kytler, accused of witchcraft. In 1650 Oliver Cromwell did his best to ruin the cathedral by stabling his horses therein, smashing the font, windows and throwing out monuments and tombs. The cathedral has been carefully restored over the years with the dedication of various bishops and the Deans of Ossory. A traditional Irish lunch will be enjoyed in a local Pub. Following lunch, there will be free time to visit the well proportioned 18th century buildings oppositethe castle, which have now been converted, into an imaginative enterprise called the Kilkenny Design Centre, where local artists produce high quality crafts. A large retail outlet fronting the street supplies some of thebest goods on sale in Ireland and is an attractive place to do some shopping. Rejoin your driver and guide for your return journey to Waterford, which will take you through some of Kilkenny and Waterford’s lush green countryside. A photo stop will be made in the quaint Irish village of Inistioge. This is a charming village with a tree-lined square, lying in a pretty part of the Nore Valley where the river winds between wooded banks flanked by hills. Inistioge has been the location for numerous films including Widow’s Peak and Circle of Friends.

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