Looks like we've started to hibernate. Another cold night and so another slow morning. Eventually around noon we leave the van, this time taking the scenic river route into Kilkenny. A very pleasant 30 minute walk and I wonder if some of the trees en route were Wych Elm. Certainly impressive whatever they were.
First stop is Kilkenny Castle.
(Although that untouched photo was taken in the wonderful light as we walked back at 8:30 tonight)
Thanks to Emily & Jonathan, for our Christmas gift of English Heritage membership, entrance is free. It's a pleasant enough stately home/castle with some stunning wallpapers
and these wonderful river gods
Then on to St. Canice's cathedral with it's fascinating mediaeval round tower and still existent cathedral close.
An ex monastery and important building in the history of Irish Christianity it has a fascinating interior complete with anchorite cells, a leper squint where the poor outcasts could peek through to observe mass and lots of full relief tombs. Despite the opulence of some of the tombs, the dark architecture maintained a sombre tone.
Or would have done if not for the most wonderful serendipity. Tonight the cathedral is offering Haydn's Creation Mass and this afternoon the small orchestra and slightly larger choir were rehearsing.
Were they any good? I was transfixed, so much so that the lady in the entrance gate recognised my joy and suggested taking a seat just to listen. In a world where 'wonderful' is so overused, it was truly wonderful, some gorgeous soprano harmonies amplified and given timbre by the high vaulted ceiling and solid walls. Rarely does music send shivers down the body. Would have been lovely to have got tickets for tonight's performance but we may have felt the cold without additional clothing layers.
We'd already decided the tower climb would be a challenge too far but left with a view to exploring the grounds of the only cathedral close in Ireland. The weather had other plans. It was chucking it down and cold with it so we beetled our way back to the pub - the same one we visited yesterday. In fact after a much needed first pint we decided to stay, eat and have a second. And that meant our loyalty card was completed so we got to share an additional free pint. Wonder how many others get a full loyalty card after being in town just two days!