I am back. Back blogging that is. I am also back from Kilkenny a lovely and vibrant inland city in the south-east of Ireland. And no, I was not sequestered in Kilkenny for the duration of my blogging break, just for a few days last weekend.
I went as part of a small group of friends, just four of us in all, to celebrate (belatedly) the birthday of one of our number – the lovely M. I drove down to the Marble City (Kilkenny is thus called because of the local black limestone which looks like a slate-colored marble) on Friday morning, ahead of the others who were arriving early Saturday afternoon. This gave me extra time to look at and admire the city’s many majestic and historic buildings and to drink in the creative atmosphere that wafts scent-like in the Kilkenny air. Kilkenny, you see, is the de facto craft capital of Ireland.
I stopped, on my way down, a few miles shy of Kilkenny in Bennettsbridge a small village on a pretty stretch of the river Nore. I only intended having a short coffee break but in the end it was two hours or more before I got back in my car to journey onwards (more about my Bennettsbridge stop in another post).
It was mid afternoon before I finally reached my destination. And my did the next few hours whizz by. The highlight of my afternoon was a visit to the Future Beauty exhibition in the National Craft Gallery.
The Gallery’s website says about the exhibition that “Future Beauty? is an exhibition of everyday and extraordinary objects – pots, jewels, sculpture and furniture … the show invites us to consider the current shape of art and design in Ireland, and, to consider the ways in which the thinking and the objects from these makers may influence our understanding of art and design in the future”.
I love craft so seeing so many beautiful pieces by such a talented troop of makers under the one roof was a real treat. The exhibition continues until the 18th March and it will be in the Farmleigh Gallery at Farmleigh House in Dublin later this year – from the 2nd August to the 29th September. If you have an interest in craft and beautiful objects it is so worth seeing.
So how did the four-go-to-Killkenny-to-celebrate-a-birthday trip go? Wonderfully well. We had the main celebration on Saturday night starting with an early meal in Campagne restaurant and then we headed to Kilkenny’s Watergate Theatre where we saw the travelling London Classic Theatre company perform Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and we topped off the evening with a celebratory night-cap in a local bar.
Incidentally should you be in Kilkenny searching for good food Campagne is first-rate. Campagne’s owner Garrett Byrne was in a previous foodie life head chef at the excellent Chapter One, a one star Michelin restaurant in Dublin. As an added bonus Campagne has a very good value early-bird menu.
The good things in life are often soon over and so it was with my Kilkenny visit but conversely some of the best things in life can endure and one of them is friendship.