Kilkenny - Jerpoint Abbey and Jerpoint Glass

It may been the glorious weather or the sense of finally having a bit of freedom, but our 3 day trip to Kilkenny really felt like a mini holiday and it was badly needed! We had wonderful family time and got to hang out with daughter and granddaughter, as well my daughter's partner and it was just lovely as we had missed seeing them during the various lockdowns. We stayed in the Club House Hotel which is basic but the staff are lovely and it was clean and perfectly centrally located for our stay.

For the first time, we did a tour of Kilkenny Castle - in case you didn't know, OPW sites are free to visit at the moment and this will continue until the end of 2021 so it's a great time to see all the wonderful OPW sites around Ireland. The castle is an opulent paradise, with scenes from times past, including the most darling little room with children's toys from days of old.

Kilkenny Castle Room

Red Couch Kilkenny Castle

Old-fashioned children's toys

There are beautiful paintings and the tour takes approx 40 minutes I would say. We had a small one with us, so didn't linger but I really enjoyed it and would definitely consider doing it again, and spending a bit more time perhaps.

We kept it simple during the break and just had a picnic on day two - I love that the Castle park has picnic benches dotted about now. It's really nice to sit outdoors and eat in the shade of a tree.

On our way back, we visited Jerpoint Abbey. We had been once before but didn't really have enough time so I really wanted to see it again. It's a magnificent structure and well worth a visit. It's in ruins of course, but there are considerable points of interest and according to it is one of the most complete Irish Cistercian Monasteries. If you look closely at the pillars within the Cloister, you will see all sorts of intriguing stone carvings. There are also large stone tombs as you go further into the building and if you go up the little modern stairs, you will get a great overview of the whole monastery as well as a lovely view of the surrounding area.

Jerpoint Abbey Side View

Arch leading to Cloister Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey Kilkenny

Stone Tomb Jerpoint Abbey

View from on Roof Jerpoint Abbey

Once we were finished in the monastery, we backtracked along the road in the direction of Jerpoint Glass which was another spot we had wanted to visit for some time. The glass blower was on a short break when we arrived so we had a good look around the shop. The glass is stunning, I absolutely love glass and suggested that one of the small vases might be the perfect birthday present for me :) 

The colours are so radiant and there are other items on sale in the shop too, like wooden and textile products. Upstairs is a bright gallery, again full of colour! The whole endeavour is family run and has the loveliest atmosphere - I had a good long chat with one of the owners whilst we were waiting for the glass blowing to begin again and there is a plan to eventually have a coffee and seating area for visitors.

Jerpoint Glass Sign

Jerpoint Glass Shelf with Ornaments

Three Amber Vases Jerpoint Glass

Upstairs Gallery at Jerpoint Glass

The glass blower returned and we watched as he made a glass apple from start to finish. Totally fascinating to see how it came together - I think craftspeople make very skilled work look really easy and it was amazing to see the process. The colours in the final products come from small pieces of glass in different shades which are imported from Germany and come in different grades, from pieces to fine sand.

Glass Furnace Jerpoint Glass

So that was our Kilkenny trip - I really recommend visiting Jerpoint Glass in particular because it's great to support Irish craft and there are such gorgeous things available. We went on afterwards to have lunch in Thomastown before we finally headed home.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like my post about Shankill Castle in Paulstown or my recent visit to Ballinafagh Lake

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