Thursday, July 4, 2013 @ 4:37 PM in 2013 Europe
Last night walked around and couldn't find anything worth listening to as far as live music was concerned so I came back to the hostel. I started talking to some of my bunkmates and it turns out two of the girls were from Australia and were a month into their year long backpacking trip. We met up with a couple other people from the hostel and went out in search of music again. We ended up finding a Trad band with some Irish dancers at a pub and watched them for a while. Afterwards I came back and went to bed. I knew today was going to be a long day of hiking so I wanted to get a good night's sleep.
Yesterday I was at the tourist office and found a map of all the hiking trails around Kilkenny. There was an 11km (6.8mi) hike (one-way) that started about 2 miles from the hostel. The trail is called the Nore Valley Walk and follows the River Nore down to Bennettsbridge. Along the way there were old abandoned mills and quarries used to mine all the limestone found in Kilkenny.
The map showed a way to cross over to the trail from my side of the river but it ended up being a little less clear than I had expected. I ended up doing an extra mile or so backtracking and navigating over a huge bridge. There were some nice views of the valley from the top of the bridge though.
The weather on the hike today was great. There were some clouds but it was mixed with long spots of sunshine. I didn't need a jacket today either and was actually getting a little warm in my hiking pants.
After the first part of the trail where I had an issue finding it, the trail was very well marked and went through a lot of fields and grazing land for cattle. I saw a heron and some swans hanging out in the river too. It took me about 2.5 hours to make it to Bennettsbridge from the time I left Kilkenny. I was able to get through the entire Mumford and Sons Babel album and the entire M83 Hurry Up We're Waiting album on the way there. I wasn't really walking too fast and was stopping to take photos too. The bridge in Bennettsbridge looks nice so I stopped there for a few photos.
I had packed a sandwich so I hiked into town and ate in a park. On the way out of town I was craving something else so I stopped into a local convenience store and bought an Aero mint candy bar. Not being someone who eats much sweets, it was pretty good!
The way back ended up being about 30 minutes faster. I guess I had upped my pace and was full and re-energized from lunch. After I got back to town I made my way back to the hotel to give my feet a rest. All in all I think I did about 15 or so miles today. My legs feel pretty good... probably from all the walking I've been doing over the last week.
Tonight I'll head out again to try to find some music and probably have another pint. There won't be any fireworks here tonight for the 4th. Maybe I'll run into another American or two I can say happy 4th to! I've still got to figure out what I want to do about dinner. I had some spicy cajun red bean stew last night at a pub and it ended up being really good! Tomorrow I get on a bus and head to the Dingle Peninsula for a couple of nights.
Posted from: Ireland