While in Ireland we took an hour train ride to the smallish town of Kilkenny. The village is teeming in Irish culture, quaint shops, handmade pottery and a historic castle. We, however, went for the hot dogs.
Kilkenny is one of those places that probably comes to mind when you think of Ireland. The narrow streets were packed with stores, the sounds of street performers could be heard pretty much everywhere, and vibrant green of the landscape was tempered by the rainy gray sky. Only there for a night, we stayed next door to the castle in a hotel that made you feel like you were in a modern-day version of one. The giant peaked towers of the place come into view as you walk through a gated courtyard, neatly trimmed shrubbery and blooming trees on either side. I had to restrain myself from skipping through it, a la The Sound of Music.
AND THE BREAKFAST. oh my handmade goodness. Baby quiches and bacon and eggs and more pastries than you could shake a treadmill at. In the words of Larry David, it was pretty, pretty, pretty good.
After fortifying ourselves with breakfast, we ambled about, taking streets at random and just killing time until the hot dog vendor opened up. The previous day we had tried to find this phantom man, but alas, our frankfurter finding was futile. There was nary a dog in sight. We were heartbroken! Where were they? Where was he? We decided to make our way through the famed Kilkenny Castle, and **hopefully** by the time we were finished, the sausages would be a smokin’.
We weren’t allow to take any pictures inside the castle. So instead we tried some cute poses and jumping shots. We failed. Although, secretly, that was my favorite picture of the whole trip.
When we finally emerged from the Castle grounds, we walked out into the street and HALLELUJAH! There he was, that weenie frying son of a bitch! We quickly walked to the stand and placed our order. The two minutes it took to cook the dog and fries felt like 20. The entire reason my brother and sister-in-law wanted to go to Kilkenny was for this moment. When you’re living abroad, sometimes you miss things about your home country so badly, that you’re willing to take an entire trip just for the off chance that you’ll be able to get a little piece of it, and sometimes, a hot dog can taste really, really good.
The rest of our time in Kilkenny was spent gallivanting town, taking an afternoon nap, and getting a new pair of glasses. We finished off an amazing Italian dinner with a stop at the Dylan Whiskey Bar. It was a weeknight and the place was deserted, so we got a mini lesson on the liquor. Normally a throw-it-back-and-try-not-to-taste-it kind of gal, this was a completely different experience and makes you appreciate really good, aged whiskey, compared to, say, the stuff in a plastic bottle that I was once well acquainted with.
As someone who is not huge into sightseeing and enjoys a laid back trip more than an action packed one, the whole day was just lovely for me. Taking a train trip for a hotdog might seem silly, but it is one of my fondest memories of the country, the spontaneity and quirkiness of it leaving a lasting impression. Kilkenny itself, whiskey included, left a really good taste in my mouth.