Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Castles & Ruins

The 11th century ruins of the Augustinian Kells Priory in Co Kilkenny are one of the largest sets of ruins in Ireland, but are not really well known—and that can be a good thing, as it means you won’t be fighting crowds & you can wander about at a leisurely pace, snapping people-free photos & soaking in the fabulous atmosphere.
The 11th century ruins of the Augustinian Kells Priory in Co Kilkenny are one of the largest sets of ruins in Ireland.
  Each time we’ve gone we’ve pretty much been on our own except for perhaps a dog walker or two. We brought some friends from Dublin-which is why there are people in the above photo 😉 -and they were amazed. I really recommend a visit to Kells Priory. It was a grey October day when I took these photos, but it only added to the atmosphere.

Here’s a short clip of the ruins at Kells:
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Only about 10 miles from Kilkenny City, Kells Priory is well worth an excursion! If you are interested in a very thorough history & information on what you are seeing when you are there, definitely click to this site:  After  our walk around, we had quite an appetite, so we headed a few miles down the road to Stoneyford, to the Knockdrinna Artisan Cafe & Shop for a bite to eat.
The Cafe at Knockdrinna Artisan Farm Shop

They were having a celebration day as they had just won the top award- Supreme Champion– in the British & Irish cheese awards for one of their own cheeses- the Kilree. They won several awards this year- Best Semi soft Cheese; Best Irish Cheese;  Gold medal for Kilree Goats Cheese;  Gold Medal for Knockdrinna Meadow Sheeps Cheese;  Silver medal for Lavistown Cow’s milk cheese. Knockdrinna really does make delicious cheeses- and you can buy online as well as at their shop & at farmer’s markets. A small farm located in the village of Stoneyford,  Knockdrinna makes their cheeses on site, and you can go around the farm & see some of the farm animals. Click here to find out more about Knockdrinna.




Enjoy your visit!

Peace & tranquility on the river Barrow! At the Mullichain cafe, St. Mullins, Co. CarlowSt. Mullins is a magical little spot down the river from us here in Graignamanagh. If you believe in fairies, you will certainly feel them here- look at their impressive fairy mound:

The motte at St. Mullins.  photo fr

Now, I know that according to Carlow County Museum’s St. Mullins page (do look- lovely photos of the ruined church & more,) Richard de ClareStrongbow had it built in the 12th century, but we think he just took it over from the sidhein fact, if you ask Martin or Emer at the Mullichain cafe, they can show you the big old hurley left behind by one of the Good People!
One of our favorite things to do is to walk down the riverside path from Graig to Mullins for something nice at the Mullichain cafe.

Having fun along the river Barrow


The Mullichain is in an old stonebuilt 18th century grain storehouse, lovingly restored. Full of charm, it is perfect to get cozy in upstairs on a rainy day. On a sunny day, it is such a treat to sit outside and enjoy the river valley scenery.  Everyone is friendly, and the Mullichain is a wonderful place for just a coffee & dessert (the coconut macaroon is a must for us!) or something more substantial- everything is tasty!

Mmmm coconut macaroon!

You can also stay in their cottages, which look pretty special. Have a look at their website, which has these reviews of the area, including Graignamanagh, just up the river tow-path from the Mullichain. The reviews do a much better job than I would of conveying how special this whole area is, and I recommend you read them.

One tip I will give you- if you’re doing the apprx 5mile walk in high summer- bring a hat, because on some stretches flies like to buzz around your hair- yuk! Thankfully, the magic of St. Mullins keeps them away, so you can enjoy your lunch there in total peace!
Want to paddle instead of walk? Try these 2 kayak and canoe companies- they both do trips in the area.
(a friend of mine learned to kayak with & did a short trip with them & had a great time.)
(I’m sure this crowd is lovely, too!)
** FYI photos not accredited on this post are my own- if you’d like to use one, just ask. Thanks!**