A few weeks back I had a fantastic Girly Day in Kilkenny. Departing just before dark on a Saturday afternoon, I was dismayed to be leaving the city just as the evening festivities were getting underway. I pledged to myself, and to the readers of The Top Tips for Trips Blog, that I would return soon to sample Kilkenny's famous nightlife. And that I did.
Last weekend myself and 16 female female descended on Kilkenny to celebrate a double birthday. Not ones to let our climbing ages prevent us from acting as young as we feel, we decided to stay in Kilkenny Tourist hostel.
This was a good move because
a- It was super cheap (€17 pp)
b-nothing like sharing a room with 12 others to keep you entertained!
c-the hostel had lots of info on what was happening around the town, all displayed on a blackboard
It was a bad move because
a-all bathrooms were shared
b-all bathrooms were gross
c-The guards were called during the night to apprehend a peeping tom (although to be fair this did add to our list of entertaining stories!)
On a recommendation from our hostel we went to Titlers (on Butterslip) for a pub lunch. The pub is in a lovely old building with lots of little enclaves and cosy corners. Because it was so bright outside it seemed incredibly dark inside, a little too much so for day time drinks, but it did have a very large roofed beer garden for smokers. Food wasn't great.
After a few drinks here I couldn't resist slipping out and doing a spot of shopping in Kilkenny. Thirsty after just a few purchases we rejoined the gang in Matt the Millers. They were seated around a giant barrel with its own taps in the centre. Friendly staff and very comfortable, with a good buzz coming from its many different floors.
Back to the hostel for a quick change and in next door to the Italian Connection, where we had a slap up cheap and cheerful italian meal. Wine was flowing. As we stepped back out onto the streets our night had officially begun.
We immediately encountered a couple of bouzies on the path and buzzed off them for a while as we waited for the snake of girls to exit the restaurant. After much arguing back and forth about where to go (I was pushing Bridie's, but to no avail :( ), we gave up scrapping and swung into the nearest spot-The Playwright, across from Titlers. Here we had a couple of drinks while absorbing dins. It definitely was a stop-off spot rather than an all night venue for us, lacking a bit of atmosphere and charm.
Well on the way-and on the way again-we trotted (now split from one another) to the Left Bsnk. This is a large and very busy late bar contained in a beautiful old building. It is the kind of place that could be restored into something fabulous and made really chic and stylish-but isn't. Maybe it was once. We pushed our way to the font of the bar to buy a million drinks and then lucked out with an empty landing space where we danced around two stairwells. It might not sound great, but it actually was a great spot-near to the smoking area (again covered), which had a much less busy bar, and lots of room to shake our moves. Things were swinging in the Left Bank, when suddenly it closed. The venue is big enough to be a nightclub so it is a shame its license doesn't allow it be one.
Like dirty dish water we're flung from the Left Bank into crowds coming from bars all over town. It was 1:30 AM and everywhere but three places were closed. Looking around the scene on the streets it was easy to see why Kilkenny chose to smack down on its licensing, an attempt to discourage hens and stags.
Hitting the fresh air people immediately donned their rowdy coats-screaming back and forth at one another about where to go next. Of course this wasn't true for everyone; worse for wear girls wander around in a drunken stupor, lost and coatless. The atmosphere was jovial, but just.
We're in flying form, ready for a marathon night of drinking and dancing. We regroup and decide on Morrissons for our next destination. Arriving here it is plain to see that there isn't a spare inch inside. It is heaving. The smell of mass human odour oozes out its doors, where a swaying mob are trying to enter. Skip.
Back to Matt the Millers, where the casual bar from earlier has transformed into a steaming cesspit of leftover punters from now closed pubs. We don't care though-this is the only place we can go-our night is definitely NOT over. Drunkly determined and thirsty we head up the stairs past lines of smooching strangers and red-faced randomers and carve out a corner for ourselves where we can drink, dance and scream the night away.
This ended too early for us too, but there were no more options. Out onto the streets for us and an entertaining meander home with lots of buzz, banter, barneys and well, barfing, from our pedestrian pals. Home to the hostel for an almost pre-teen slumber scenario, swapping tales from the night that was in it and repeating them in the morning for those who had lost their memory in their sleep.
Overall I would say Kilkenny Day trumps Kilkenny Night hands down. We all had a great night but it was more funny than fantastic. A touch too Temple Bar for us. Perfect for a hen. Of course we didn't manage to get nearly enough venues in, and I was with a group of 16 girls, so were on that kind of night........I am sure there are lots of lovely , more local-frequenting spots that would sweep me off my feet. Luckily I am back in Kilkenny over the Eater Bank Holiday and will be keeping my eye out for them. If you have any recommendations please send them my way!