Thursday, 30 March 2017

Inistioge, the monkey puzzles and others things we discovered in our trip to Co. Kilkenny!

Yes, my fault! What can I say, I like the coastline... and most of the times when we have the chance (and the budget) to go away for the weekend I tend to look for coastal towns/villages for our trips.

But this time the kids convinced me - I "made the mistake" of asking for their opinion about places to go for St Patrick's weekend and, after some looooooong and extremely hard negotiations it was agreed that we would go to Co. Kilkenny (although one of the boys said he did not want to see Kenny die - who knows where kids learn these jokes!!???)

The weather was... very Irish - what could we expect for St Patrick's day??? Rain, some sunshine, wind, more rain, more wind.... and we were only there for a little bit more than a full day, but we could still discover AMAZING PLACES:

I specially loved the village of INISTIOGE and its surroundings. And I admit I had not heard from it before but it is beautiful! Could look at that ten-arc stone bridge over river Nore forever and take pictures non stop, because from wherever you take it, the picture looks stunning! (and I am a horrible photographer, by the way)

Just one kilometer up the hill from picturesque Inistioge, we found WOODSTOCK GARDENS AND ARBORETUM.

We were so lucky that the weather was not perfect, and that everybody was at St Patrick's parade because the place was almost empty and you could literally breath peace and harmony while walking. Natural beauty at its best! Perfect treatment for stressful hearts and overworked brains, promise! Spacious enough for the kids to run around and play hide and seek behind the trees and bushes

It also has a lovely playground that the boys fully tested - of course! - before we left, while we filled our positive energy tanks taking a stroll around the place.

Had to leave earlier than we would have wanted to, because of the rain and couldn't finish our visit, but let me show you some pictures we took of the Noble Fir Walk and the Monkey Puzzle Walk inside the park because they are just impressive:

Did you know that there were trees called monkey puzzles???? I didn't! but obviously, there are..   This tree is actually called Araucaria araucana and it is native to Chile where people believe it is sacred. It is one of the Earth's oldest living tree species - it has survived nearly unchanged for more than 200 million years - woooooow!. We also read that each one of these trees can very well live beyond a thousand years! (the things we learn...). They look very different when they are younger though.

Regarding the city of Kilkenny: it is just a pure pleasure to walk. This time we just wanted to enjoy the festive atmosphere in the city, and that is exactly what we did: wandered around for a while, sat down to rest for a while in a very cozy bench we found in our way and enjoyed a lovely walk in the gardens of the castle (approx 20 Ha of garden...). 

Ended our tour, of course, in the playground literally beside the castle having a cappuccino while the kids were burning some energy jumping from one activity to the other.

There were lots of other places that we could not visit this time, like the Jenkinstown Park in Dunmore or the Kilfane Glen and Waterfall (this last one is only opened to public in July and August, but the pictures look just amazing!). They are the first items in our "to-see" list for our next trip!

Regarding the accommodation, we chose the lovely Brandon View House B&B in Graiguenamonagh:  the location is perfect and the views from the house could not be better!,  the rooms are comfortable and breakfast is really good. The owner, Helen, was very helpful and my boys just fell in love with the three dogs (Fred, Molly and Bruce) who are always willing to play with the younger guests. 

As a summary: we'll be back! 

If you have any suggestions for places to visit in the county for our next trip, please do not hesitate to let us know and we'll follow your suggestions :-)


  1. Woodstock was one of our favourite daytrips as kids, we haven't been in years and years, I must bring my own kids.

    1. Oh really? I'm sure your kids would love the place as well!Mine were delighted with it and looking forward to go back and explore the rest of the estate that we could not see because of the rain...

  2. Is a great place and report. Nice activity for all family. Well done Laura!!!

  3. Hola Laura,

    Este fin de semana seguí tu consejo y nos fuimos a Kilkeny. Es precioso y nos encantó el castillo. Muchas gracias por tu recomendación. No dudamos volver para volver a darnos una vuelta.



    1. ¡Cómo me alegro Marisa! La ciudad es una pasada y el resto del condado igual! Seguiré colgando recomendaciones en el blog, así que..."stay tuned!" :-). Un besote