Today we had yet another excursion, this time heading over to the sheep farm and lakes of Glendalough, as well as the town of Kilkenny. Much like the rest of Ireland, these two places were very reliant on tourism as their main industry source.
Our first stop was at the sheep farms in Glendalough, which were run by a father and his two sons. While there, we were able to witness a sheep dog herding sheep first hand. It was impressive to say the least. The dog was extremely well trained, obeying its owner’s commands right on the dot. The speed at which it moved to get around and herd the sheep was also a cool sight that I probably won’t see again. In addition to a demonstration of the sheep herding, the owner of the farm talked to us about how much the industry there has changed over the years. A couple decades ago, the main industry was the wool industry, which they made a living off of, but that has been on a constant decline. Now, they breed their sheep to sell to other farmers and markets for food, and the wool industry has transformed into the tourism industry for them, because they now have the demonstrations that we witnessed today, as well as a petting area for the lambs. It’s crazy to see that even in the countryside of Ireland, the people are experiencing the same effects of tourism as the people in the larger cities.
Next, we traveled to the town of Kilkenny, another smaller town in Ireland. Kilkenny is known for its castle, tower and cathedral that have been there for almost a thousand years. In fact, the tower is one of the two towers of its kind in Ireland people can still go into. Also, the entire township of Kilkenny was built around the tower, including the cathedral that is right next to it, which happens to be the longest standing cathedral next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Once again, most of the revenue from Kilkenny is gained from the tourism industry, as all the historical sites cost a fee to visit. The city also has many shops throughout the streets, just like any other tourist destination in Ireland. Kilkenny was one of the coolest cities that we have visited in my opinion.
Today’s destinations were a lot different than the ones we have visited in the past week, and I really enjoyed the sheep farm and lake at Glendalough. The lake was especially different, because it was right in the valley between two hills, so the views were phenomenal. Kilkenny, although much like the other towns that we’ve visited, had unique features that helped represent Ireland in the past, making it a distinct destination.