I’d recommend listening to this as you continue reading.
My friend Emma (yes, same name) and I took the bus with the group to the airport and had our bus tickets to Kilkenny. The plan was Airport-Dublin Centre-Kilkenny. The website said it was possible, so we got the tickets ahead of time. It turns out, it’s not usually allowed. Heads up to anyone traveling from the Dublin Airport via bus, the people are very nice, friendly, and helpful. It’s probably better to not buy your ticket until you get there. They’ll help you figure out the best way to get where you want to go. We showed the man our ticket and he simply said “We’ll get you on a bus. Don’t worry.” And he did. We made it to Dublin with a few grumbles from the bus driver, but nothing major. A short wait later, we boarded the bus to Kilkenny. (Note about the online ticket again–the Bus Eireann drivers really hate typing in the code from the printed receipt. Again, just buy a ticket when you get to the station.)
Here’s some good news: we were on our way and there was free WiFi on the bus!
An hour and 45 minutes later, we arrived at the train station. We gathered our luggage and walked across the river and up a road to the hostel. The Kilkenny Tourist Hostel to be exact.
We checked in and headed out to pick up our tickets for the Wine Masterclass happening on Saturday evening. Then, we wandered the town, checking out the pubs to decide on dinner that night.
The sun eventually set and we noticed how hungry we actually were. We found a pub and had dinner. For a while, we were the only ones there. Emma ordered fish&chips and I had the Irish stew. Both were warm and filling, exactly what we needed after a long, cold day of traveling.
The night wasn’t finished yet. We’d heard about a great pub a block away from our hostel that had story-telling and live music. Hot whiskeys called our names and we went.
Now, a song had been stuck in my head since the Giant’s Causeway. All I could remember was “Ay-I-Ay-I-Ay”. So, looking up lyrics wasn’t worth the time. I hadn’t thought about the song in a day or so, though not knowing the title was bugging me. We missed story-telling, so we sat down at the bar by the fireplace, and a couple of guys were playing traditional music. One played the guitar and the flute and the other played the banjo, guitar, and drum. (one instrument at a time, mind you) We ordered our drinks and relaxed for a bit. For those poor souls who haven’t had a hot whiskey, listen up. It is marvelous, especially the way they served it that night.
A shot of whiskey (Jameson is what we drank)
A cup of boiling water
A slice of lemon, studded with cloves
Drink slowly, enjoying the smell and the taste.
This song began to play joyfully in the background. “Ay-I-Ay-I-Ay”. My ears perked up. Emma and I looked at each other. We found the song! We smiled wide and clapped along. Another song began, and a woman began to riverdance, cheered on by the crowd. Later, another woman joined in, the clapping got louder, and the songs grew louder, and finally, at quarter to 11, it was finished. Eyes droopy with sleep, we made our way back to the hostel and crawled into bed. First night in Kilkenny? Perfect.