‘Kilkenny captures the wonders of Ireland’ – leading travel writers lavish praise on city and county
By COLIN BARTLEY
KILKENNY tourism received a major boost this week after the city and county received glowing reviews from two highly influential North American publications.
The city’s medieval charms cast a spell over Canada’s biggest selling newspaper and one of Boston’s leading dailies.
Boston Herald writer Moira McCarthy said of the city: “A friend posed an interesting question: “What if I only have time to go to one place in Ireland. Where should it be?
“And then I remembered the place where you can almost have it all – Kilkenny!
“Kilkenny captures the many wonders of Ireland. History, culture and natural beauty abound.
“With roots going back to the sixth century, it’s got history galore. Its famed Medieval Mile discovery trail links the past starting from the 13th century. And all along the town you’ll find culture (it’s an artist’s haven), great food (and pubs, natch), tons of shopping (with locally owned shops) and of lots of natural beauty,” the review added.
Toronto Sun travel writer Christina Blizzard ventured outside of the city to explore some of the attractions county has to offer. Ballykeefe Distillery in Cuffesgrange and Woodstock House and Gardens in Inistioge came in for special mention.
In her article, headlined ‘Gardens and castles and Ireland, Oh my!’, Ms Blizzard said she was blown away by the range of attractions Ireland, and particularly the South East region, had to offer.
“Across the historic southeast, stately country homes and historic castles provide a dramatic background for glorious gardens,” she wrote.
“Roses, irises and a host of flowers that Canadians usually don’t see until mid-summer bloom early and last long in this temperate climate.”
Exploring all these sites was clearly thirsty work, and so it led Ms Blizzard to the award-winning Ballykeefe Distillery.
She added: “If all this tramping through gardens is making you thirsty, drop by, Ballykeefe Distillery near Kilkenny. It’s a new, family-run business that expects its first batch of single-estate Irish whiskeys will be available in August 2020.
“Owner Morgan Ging, whose family has been farming on the land since 1713, decided to diversify the operation to include a distillery. If you can’t wait for the whiskey, try their award-winning Irish gin or vodka. If you’re really feeling adventurous, check out the poitin — Irish moonshine, now thankfully legal. Slainte!”
The gardens of Ireland really made their way into the writer’s heart, and it was the history in the gardens that appealed to her most.
“The Irish love their gardens — and think in terms of centuries, not years, when it comes to planting. Many have trees that have been collected from around the world. Woodstock Gardens near the ancient city of Kilkenny. The original house was destroyed by fire in 1922 and the Victoria gardens were largely abandoned for almost 120 years. The garden became totally overgrown until it was gifted to Kilkenny County Council in 1999. Since then, five million euros have been invested in the garden, which attracts 40,000 visitors every year,” Ms Blizzard exclaimed.
The Toronto Sun has a weekly circulation of over a million and is the largest selling tabloid in the state of Ontario.