And so off on the road we were at last. We wanted to eschew motorways but travelled on one out of Dublin for about 20 kilometres or so, just to get clear of the built-up areas.
Once out in the countryside we headed off onto smaller roads and on occasion, back roads towards our first stop Kilkenny.
We crossed small stone bridges, saw old narrowboats tied up on canal banks, passed through small villages with barely a dozen houses but always a pub, and through fields as green as green can be.
We discovered just how small distances between places in this country can be - we were halfway across the island in an hour or so!
The campground we checked into was just outside town. A very pretty walk of about half an hour along the banks of the River Nore brought us into town. Kilkenny Castle, right in the centre, dominates and we climbed up to visit. We suspect this will not be our last castle in Ireland... The interiors have been restored and furnished with items from mainly the 19th Century, though the castle itself is centuries older than that. Young girls stationed in each room were incredibly knowledgeable about the castle's history and restoration, and eager to answer questions.
Here at the castle we discovered the Heritage Card, the Irish version of a National Trust card. For only 16 Euros each, we would have free entry to all Heritage sites. At the average entry cost of 4 Euros, the break even would come pretty quickly.
A walk to the opposite end of town brought us to St Canice's Cathedral. Again, though a cathedral, it was modest in proportions, but very pretty and with a round tower (a distinctly Irish structure) and a graveyard full of old stone Celtic crosses.
The day also marked my first drive in the camper. It's bigger than anything I have driven before (being a bit longer and wider than the 4 wheel drives we have owned) and so I was waiting for some country roads to take my first drive. It drives very well, very car like, though getting used to where the four corners are takes some practice. The scary prospect is that some of the back roads are only a bit wider than the vehicle itself - meeting others on the road is interesting to say the least.