Hurling in Ireland Is that a band of rugged Celtic warriors screaming death cries as they charge at full speed down the battlefield wielding battle clubs? Nope, it’s the game called Hurling and it’s one of Ireland’s national sports. They act like warriors by defending their county or club’s pride and taking on all opponents. One of the fastest sports in the world, there’s lots of action to see at any moment of the game. Jessica and I were lucky enough to get the chance to learn how to play Hurling in Kilkenny. We went with a group to the field and started by learning about the Hurley stick. They’re only made of Ash and from the base of the tree. We started off by learning how to use the Hurley stick and the basic rules of the game. The rules are similar to field hockey, but scoring is a bit different. There is a bar between two poles. Over the bar is one point and under it is three. Luckily, we had plenty of time to get the hang of the game. We had a fun little competition trying to score on our host for the chance to win a free drink. The cool thing is that none of the players get paid. Not like in the NFL or MLB. The clubs normally make enough money on advertising to pay for their expenses and maybe just a bit more. That means that all these guys have a day job and do this on the side. That’s pretty crazy when you find out they might practice 15-20 hours a week during the season along with their normal job, family life, and everything else. They’re just playing for pride and glory and bragging rights all around the country. You always end up hungry after practice and so we headed over to Lanigan’s bar for some Irish stew and the winner got to pour themselves a free pint of Guinness. This is part of the Kilkenny Way Experience where you learn how to play Hurling and get a meal and drink at the pub in town.
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135 Kms from Kilkenny
I was in Dublin in June for a work trip, I had booked myself in a pretty good hotel (Fitzwilliam) right on the Grafton street - which is a hip and busy upmarket shopping hub owing to the number of high-end stores and shopping complexes. Dublin, as a city, is clean and almost every street is a treat to the eyes.Few of the must see places:
167 Kms from Kilkenny
Day 9 (Blarney): We went from Kerry to Dublin back this morning via the Blarney Castle. We explored the castle for about a couple of hours, before returning to Dublin's fair city for our farewells and a quiet dinner at the Church bar in the night.Tips:1) Exchange some € and £ for trains/taxis at the local banks in your home country, but there are plenty of official/unofficial money exchange places all over London and Dublin, that offer a much better exchange rate.2) Get a London underground zone 1 and 2 all day pass (£8) every day that you travel within the city. It's the most economical way to explore the city and is valid even on the buses.3) In Dublin, try to book a tour which has airport drop-off/pick-up service. It'll save you €s for bus/taxi.What businesses did I use?Tour to bath and Stonehenge : The English BusTour of Southern Ireland : Paddywagon toursHotel in Dublin: The Townhouse of DublinAirlines : United (KC to London & Dublin to KC) & Aer Lingus (London to Dublin one-way flight)
177 Kms from Kilkenny
On you day trip to Western Cork, the first stop is the historic port-town of Kinsale. In medieval times, the importance of Kinsale to Ireland's political strategy was such, that the neighboring hamlet of Cork, was described as being 'near to Kinsale' - a stark contrast to today's times, when it's exactly the other way round. Charles Fort - a 13th century star-shaped fort built to protect the port of Kinsale from French & Spanish invaders is the prime attraction. The guided tour by a member of the Office for Public Works is hugely informative & entertaining (the fabled Irish wit, yeah?). Much of Kinsale's decline as an important port is attributed to the sandbar in it's harbor. Cork was identified as a natural alternative and the rest, as they say, is history. Kinsale town is a charming little spec of culture and rural bounty. Schedule your trip to Kinsale on a Wednesday and be blessed by the weekly Farmer's Market, held on every Wednesday, right opposite the Tourist Office in town. There's great food, amazing juices, mouth-watering deserts and some absolutely amazing local life to be experienced in this market - do not miss for anything!
261 Kms from Kilkenny
The best part about Killarney National Park, outside of it's abundant natural beauty of course, is the existence of charming horse-drawn buggies! A mode of transport long extinct in most parts of the world, it can be experienced in abundance while exploring the National Park! Dominated primarily by its three lakes - Lough Leane, Muckross Lake & the Upper Lake, the National Park is more than 10000 hectares of pure relentless natural beauty. Reserve at least one whole day to explore at leisure!
226 Kms from Kilkenny
My personal booty-call from Sligo was the fabled Yeats Society/Center - a homage paid to the legendary Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Located in the city center, the Yeats Society has regular readings and performances of his work. At a little known village nearby - Drumcliffe, lie the remains of this ridiculously talented man! Sligo is also known for its dainty little pubs, that come to life in the evening with some great trad sessions and overflowing craic!