|Kilkenny Side Street|
|Butler House and Gardens behind Craft Gallery|
The Design Center was a mixed bag. What as good was very, very good, (and unfortunately but understandably way beyond my budget) but there was also a goodly part devoted to factory-made goods. Now I know that things like Waterford Crystal and the china with the shamrocks on it are part of Ireland's tradition - and I am good with the crystal, I really am - but I have a problem with them being in a "craft" gallery. That may be snobbish on my part, but then I come from the craft tradition and definition of the Southern Highlands Crafts Guild, and when you about literally cut your teeth watching people like Virginia Dare Strother and Going Back Chiltosky, you do tend to cop a bit of attitude.
|Club House Hotel: Your back is to the Check In Desk, now you get to find your room.|
The Tourist Information Office had no B&B for us, but instead sent us to the Clubhouse Hotel. That was quite an experience. First we had to find it. While walking Kilkenny was no problem, finding where to leave the car in the lot behind the hotel was an adventure. Directions included going down an alley; we went down the wrong one to find ourselves in a situation where I thought we were going to mess up yet another rental car. Luckily the Golf had a very tight turning radius and we managed to get out without messing up ours or anybody else's vehicle, though some of the shrubbery suffered. We finally found the right very narrow alley, though we had doubts even as we saw signs saying it did belong to hotel. The hotel itself was, well, different. It started life as a Hunt Club back in the 1700s, then morphed into a hotel. It's like of like Topsy, it "jest growed," and if I thought the hotel in Dublin was a bit confusing with all the doors that looked like fire doors but weren't really, that was nothing compared to the Clubhouse. What with all the different levels and hallways going off at odd angles, I considered putting down a trail of breadcrumbs but was pretty sure they'd have been swept up. The room was on the order of an American hotel room, except colder water and one of those irritating shower heads that just didn't go far enough from the wall to be much good that the Irish hotels have but the B&Bs do not. Oh well, I wasn't there for the ablutions.
|Matt the Miller's Pub on the River Nore|
There was a small group at another table who had also been waiting for the No-Show Band. Turned out it was being lead by a professional tour guide. He had talked to the staff and found out that another pub a few blocks away was sure to have a very good local band. So we pried the perpetually apologizing staff off our arms and set off to find Matt the Millers. The walk was long enough for the extra food to settle down and make some room for the Guinness we knew we be having. The band was just finishing setting up - and I have go give the Irish pub bands credit. Mountain bands can drive you crazy with their constant tuning. They are obsessed with tuning; they'll dang nigh stop in the middle of a song to re-tune. Irish bands get in and get to work. This bunch got right down to it, and it was a hit parade right off my play list - they opened with "Mary Ellen Carter," and two tunes later it was "Ballad of Saint Anne's Reel." (Yes, I know I mis-spelled it on this blog title, but I can't figure out how to correct it without the computer deciding I'm starting a whole new blog, which is way too much work for 1 letter.) No Johnny Cash, but lots of Stan Rogers and Liam Clancy and I was one happy Yank.
Unfortunately, I am a night owl - my mother has long sworn I was born to be a night watchman - married to a lark of the most extreme sort. Tom was pumpkinizing in the worst way. I gave serious thought to letting him go his way. I had every confidence I could find my way back to the hotel just fine. It was finding my way back to the room once I got to the hotel that gave me pause and made me leave long before I wanted to. If I'd had my way, I'd have probably been there till the sun came up. It so would have not be a problem for me. We passed several other pubs oh the way back to the hotel with music, though none as appealing to me was what I'd been listening to. But the hotel room wasn't as appealing as any of them, even the pub with the weird off-key guy with the badly tuned guitar and no sense of rhythmn. I sat on the bed in a fine snit and contemplated bread crumb trail substitutes while Tom went to sleep.