Day 4
Day 5 of
My trip to
Day 6

Yet another castle, this one in Kilkenny.
Day 5 will be the eve of St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland, the saint's day is a national holiday, and they celebrate it for four days... starting with this day. Whatever we end up doing today, it will be enhanced by whatever local festivities are going on. The day starts in Waterford, where we will visit the Waterford Crystal Factory. I had no idea that this crystal was renowned around the world. Only when I started telling people about my various Irish destinations did I realize that this was a major tour stop. Being that I hadn't heard of Waterford crystal until recently, this part of the trip probably won't hold a lot of interest for me. Although it could be interesting if we get to see some of the manufacturing process in action. People have told me that Waterford crystal is really expensive, too, so I doubt I'll buy a whole lot of authentic souvenirs here!

When we're done in Waterford, we will then drive north to Kilkenny. (If you're a fan of "South Park" like myself, then the name of that town is kind of funny. But
A parade of pubs leads the way
to Kilkenny's city hall.
I think I read somewhere that "kil" is Celtic for "church", and many towns have names including the word.) Kilkenny is home to a castle that takes the town's name, and we will get to tour it. The castle was built in the twelfth century, and actually served as the owners' residence until it was donated to the nation in 1967. I'm rather upset that we won't get to spend an evening in Kilkenny, as my guide says that it is "a paradise for avid drinkers." Not that I'm that avid, but the fact that the town has over 80 official pubs crammed into such a small area makes me want to explore all of them!

So much beer, so little tolerance.
Kilkenny will be our last major stop before arriving in Dublin. The bus will stop in a town named Athy (I can't find it anywhere in my guide), and we're supposed to have a break for tea and scones at someone's farmhouse. I wonder if the house's owners have set up a souvenir shop in a guest bedroom somewhere. After we've had our fill of midday snacks, we will begin our final drive to Dublin, where we will spend the last two nights of the trip. I have been doing some research on how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in Dublin, and it's absolutely awesome. Unfortunately, I won't be around for the final two days of the celebration, but I'll be there for the first two days, probably the most exciting part. On St. Patrick's Day Eve (today), they have a celebration down by the River Liffey which runs through the center of the city. If it wasn't a big holiday weekend when I was going, I would probably plan a pub crawl, as there are all kinds of pubs and bars throughout the city. But it should be much more festive, lively, and fun to celebrate the holiday and party with the Irish on their turf!

Day 4 before     Tour finale: day 6