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Student blog: A rainy day in Killaloe

Britta Kaukver is a postgraduate student in Irish World Academy studying the MA in Irish Dance Studies. Britta is a dancer, dance teacher and choreographer from Estonia. In this blog post she tells us about a trip to Killaloe organised by UL in September.

It was a rainy Saturday morning and the bus was there to collect us to take us to the day trip organized by the village events. I know that part of the trip was a castle and cathedral visits as well as a boat trip but I didn’t actually have more information on how the day will be. So it was really an unknown adventure.

As we drove on the bus the rain poured from the sky and I was thinking if I made a mistake by wearing sneakers instead of rainboots. But as we arrived at the Nenagh, the rain was lessened into almost nothing. Perfect indeed!

The first stop was the castle of Nenagh. We got to climb to the rooftop of the tower that was the last complete standing piece of the castle remnants. This used to be a medieval castle built in the 13th century. And not some nobleman summer residence but rather a fortress. You could see it already from the staircase that took us to the roof. Any invader would have to climb up one by one to take the tower. One man could have protected it on the stairs, as they were so narrow and steps steep. The view was beautiful and framed by the architecture of the tower top itself. You could see the church on one side and on the other the little houses of the city tightly hugging each other in the misty weather.  It was really a great place for pictures. 

As I was going back down I admired the middle floors. They really looked like a perfect place to have some sort of small and intimate concert or something. That is my weird thing (although I think that a lot of dancers do that ) that as a dancer I always also consider the floor. There they had really nice wooden floors- so why not a small dance showcase piece? Just a thought. 

When we all had come down we made a group picture and then we all had time to wander around this town as we pleased. It had started to dribble rain again but that actually suited to this Saturday morning. 

It is so nice and peaceful to walk around in a foreign town, wander on unknown streets. There weren’t many people up and about just yet. Everything is a bit slower, sleepy, but you got all the time in the world. I felt very much awake and it felt good. After a while, I decided to step into a cafe. That was called Jenny’s kitchen- a bakery with gluten-free treats. The place was full of that freshly baked cake smell and the cakes displayed looked just amazing. I decided that to celebrate that lovely morning, or was it already midday (?), with a treat from there. I took a latte and a chocolate muffin. This muffin tasted as delicious as it looked- simply pure chocolate! And it was really fresh as it steamed when I cut it.  By the way, I would definitely recommend that place! 

I sat there for a while and simply watched people come and go. That is the perfect place to see how the local community works and how they spend their Saturday morning- with kids, families, friends. It is generally interesting when you are in a new place.  

But our tour went onwards and took us next somewhere a bit higher. We made a short stop at the local lookout place. The view really was beautiful, but as it often happens, it is something that you can’t really put on a photograph- it wouldn’t capture it in its wholeness. 

From there we went next to Killaloe to go on our advertised boat trip. That was on the River Shannon and Lough Derg. Again beautiful views. When we got there I thought that I really ought to have put on more layers but it actually was not that cold/windy as it felt at first. At some point, it started raining so most of the people moved to the deck below to get the shelter from the rain. Few of us stayed on to the upper deck to enjoy the moment without noticing the rain much. 

Our final destination was the Killaloe Cathedral- St Flannan’s Cathedral. There we were welcomed and we had a small guided tour around. The highlight was definitely the exhibition of the unautomated bells of the church. Those who wanted could try to ring the bells themselves as well. 

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