Beastie Self-Discovery on the Streets of Cork, Ireland

After our little side trip into local library culture last week, we’re back in Ireland this week. And while we may be bidding a sad (and buttery) farewell to Kilkenny, it’s time for new locales and for Finn McSpool to experience his version of self-discovery. Yeah, probably best not to guess what that means, just keep reading.

Our first stop on our final whirl through the streets of Kilkenny, according to Finn, was Black Adder. I need to stop letting him watching so much British comedy, because we’re actually stopping in at Black ABBEY. Since this place seemed a bit more somber and reflective than St. Canice’s, I kept Finn firmly locked inside my bag while Mr Husband and I checked it out.

“borrowed” from the Visit Kilkenny website

This Abbey was built way back in the early 1200s and was founded by the Dominican Black Friars (hence “Black” Abbey). These fellows may have been obedient to god, but they had other opinions about more earthly authorities and so built their church outside the city walls (which we’re going to get to in a sec) so they could retain some of their freedom to come and go as they pleased. In other words, curfew, schmerfew.

After picturing a Rowan Atkinson-esque monk thumbing his nose and making some snarky comment at a wall guard, you can step inside and marvel at the abbey’s stained glass.

After this moment of reflection it was time to stroll down and grab some lunch in the cafe in the undercroft of the nearby St Mary’s Cathedral. Seriously, if you’re ever in Kilkenny GO there…the food is inexpensive, filling, and super tasty and the staff is warm and welcoming. This guy heard we were going and look how sad he was that he couldn’t join us.

Poor puppy

After lunch it was time for more exploring of Kilkenny’s medieval streets that (much like Edinburgh and York) feature oodles of narrow little secret passageways between the main thoroughfares such as this… Continue reading

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Beasties, Books & Burgers…and Super Zapper Ray Guns

This week we’re taking a little break from Finn McSpool‘s tour of his homeland. Well, not really a break, because this post is all about a Beastie workin’ hard (sort of) for the money…and for the benefit of library lovers everywhere.

Like his human counterpart, David Beastie works at the local library where he toils behind the scenes processing all kinds of goodies like books, movies, and CDs. Of course, first, you have to drag yourself up the stairs to get to your office.

Ugh…

Then, you can’t just jump right into the action. You need to devote a fair amount of time to staring out at the park and watching the squirrels. It’s all about pacing yourself, right? Continue reading

waterford, medieval museum, ireland, museum of treasures

Finn “Robin Hood” McSpool Takes a Detour to Waterford

We’re back with another stop on our tour of all things Finn McSpool. Finn, damn it, stop hogging the keyboard. Sorry, about that. That should read, another tour of all things Ireland. While Kilkenny is a gorgeous little town that I could nestle into for a month or more, one morning Mr Husband and I decided to take advantage of the easy connection from Kilkenny to Waterford via Dublin Coach.

We checked outside. Just a bit of rain, maybe it’ll pass by the time we finish breakfast. At the mere mention of the word “breakfast” Finn was charging down the stairs on his stubby, stripey legs and tucking into a lovely portion of pancakes….MY portion of pancakes!

At least he saved me some.

Apparently breakfast does nothing to drive away the clouds, so we grabbed our umbrellas and trekked off to the bus stop. Bus rides also do nothing to improve the weather and by the time we got to Waterford there was a steady rain coming down. Luckily, we’d planned an indoor activity: The Treasures of Waterford Medieval Museum.

Finn got all excited when he heard the word “treasure” (not as excited as hearing the word “breakfast”, but…), so we bought our tickets and were directed toward this thing.

waterford, waterford treasure museum, medieval museum, ireland

Finn, not using his inside voice, shouted “What in the world is that?” then dashed over to it and began exploring.

Turns out, it’s the remains of a 13th century spiral staircase. Don’t worry this doesn’t go to dizzying heights like the round tower at St Canice’s. instead it leads you down, down, down, and puts you out here….

Continue reading

Getting High in Kilkenny: St Canice’s Cathedral

Yes, that’s CANICE, not cannabis, and by high, I mean literally high, not figuratively. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s take a tour of another sight in Kilkenny, Ireland.

The Cleverly Named St. Canice’s Cathedral

St. Canice might almost sound like it’s named for a woman, but the saint in question is a fellow whose Irish name was Cainnech. Mucking through the trickery of Gaelic pronunciation that sort of comes out to the English equivalent of Kenneth. But old Cainnech must have been a casual kind of guy who preferred “Kenny”. Match that up with “cill” (pronounce “kill”) which means “church” and you have Kilkenny…the Church of Kenny. Yeah, I know, St Canice’s Cathedral sounds way more official and much less reminiscent of Footloose or Top Gun.

Footloose, footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes, ooh wee, Marie…

Annnnywayyyy….

Stepping Into St Canice’s Cathedral

As with many European churches, there’s been a whole lotta worshipping going on at the location of St Canice’s since the 6th century. The current building dates from the 13th century and is full of all those Gothic stereotypes such as big columns, stained glass, and pointy arches to keep everything from falling in on itself.

kilkenny, st canice cathedral, ireland

Until of course you get a witch involved. Continue reading

And Now…Something Completely Different

That’s right, two weeks in a row of Monty Python references! And another week of looking at where I’m headed with my blog and writing.

First off, a big THANKS to everyone who commented and voted on my dilemma of how to proceed. It’s always great to get some input and to know that a few of you would still like to hear form me on a regular basis.

And now, the results of my dithering…. Continue reading