We had a full morning in Kilkenny before deciding to head a little bit out of the town towards Dunmore Cave. We’ve visited Luray Caverns a couple of times, and Dunmore Caves made Luray look like a resort. This cave was raw and rustic, with no fancy entrance or organ system. To be fair, it’s a lot smaller than Luray Caverns. It’s simply not as possible to venture as far into the cave. But visiting Dunmore Cave, we got a really good sense of how it felt when it was first discovered.
We arrived about 20 minutes before the next tour and had time to watch an informational movie. We also were able to learn about the formation of the cave through an interactive game. We watched the clouds open in a downpour during our wait. Amazingly it cleared up as the tour started. Bean’s Irish keychain brought us more luck. Good thing, too! The stairway into the cave was long and slippery. There were railings, but it would have been an unhappy walk in the rain.
For a small cave, it had an interesting history. Women and children hid from invaders and many in fact died in the back-most recesses of the cave. The guide was knowledgeable about the formations and history. It kept our attention and I was a little sad it wasn’t longer.
Entrance to Dunmore Caves was a reasonable 5 euro/adult, 4/senior and 3/child. We took advantage of the 13 euro family rate. We had decided against the Heritage Ireland card, but admission would have been included with that.
Kells Priory was not a far drive from the cave. I’d read a little about it and suggested we check it out. Beyond the fact that it existed and was free, I didn’t know much else. So we were a little confused about how to enter. There wasn’t a ton of signage, and we were a little unsure of the area. Was that gate the entrance? Are we allowed in this way? How do we avoid the mud? How are other people getting in? Turns out we aren’t used to old places like that being open and unsupervised. But it was as open and unsupervised as it first appeared. We took a long walk around the area and just enjoyed how wild and lonely it seemed.
We ended our day with a stroll around Kilkenny and a search for dinner. My dad saw Matt the Millers and remembered hearing about the restaurant. It seemed “Irish pubby” enough for our first official dinner in Ireland.
We made a great choice! Our booth was cozy, the food was good and the music was live.
My daughter was clamoring for another trip to Scrumdiddly’s and the girls had dessert there. I held out for a scoop from Murphy’s , another recommendation from our friend. What amazing ice cream! Both places were good, but the flavors at Murphy’s were a lot more original. In addition to caramelized brown bread, we also sampled Irish coffee and an apple and vinegar they were testing out. Amazing, amazing, amazing.
From here we turned in and looked forward to our next day in Killarney!