Herding Around Kilkenny

Our second day trip was a blast as we ventured to the true countryside of Ireland. If you thought the Cliffs of Moher were country just wait until you visit Kilkenny and the farms the rest of Ireland has in store. I didn’t think I would’ve enjoyed this day trip as much as I did the first one, but I was quickly proven wrong. We first started out the day trip by visiting a farm where we were shown how the farm dogs are trained to herd the sheep around different acres of the family’s farmland. It was amazing to watch. The man said that the dogs weren’t quite fully trained but he could’ve proved me wrong! I was, to be honest, blown away and that was only the first stop we made! Next we visited Glendalough which was stunning. Our tour guide talked about it’s significance of the land and the role St. Kevin had in that; I learned something totally knew. Lastly, we ended up in Kilkenny where we spent the few hours to explore the city and even visit a castle. The castle on the inside was gorgeous, although I wish we could’ve seen every room.

I found it really interesting how the cities of Kilkenny, Galway, and Dublin are so different yet so similar at the same time. Kilkenny was definitely the most rustic out of all the cities with many of the buildings looking more older and covered in stone, where Dublin has very much been modernized with the loads of new businesses flooding into the city. In terms of businesses you’ll find in each city, you will find way more chains in Dublin and find more small businesses in Kilkenny and Galway. It was really nice to see the local shops and be able to support small businesses. There are many people just starting their businesses as seen when Kilkenny held a market of a plethora of small shops all along the street. It was very interesting to note the differences of the entrepreneurial mindset between well-established businesses and new, very smalls ones. Both are very passionate, but smalls shops seem to hold a lot of hope and passion for what they do. These people are the entire company and don’t have any employees of their own. They do everything to run their business including marketing themselves, selling their products, and dealing with finances. Other than those small shops and boutiques, you’ll find their main attractions run without those same intentions. Another interesting point that I found was that these cities (Galway and Kilkenny) were less diverse and all of those business were run and operated by locals; this also including the bigger businesses as well.

Urban vs. Rural Ireland continues to be an ongoing observation as we wrap up our time here. We have met so many people that have come from rural Ireland and have ended up with jobs in urban Ireland and vice versa. It’s interesting to hear everyone’s story, but what common theme I have gathered is that it seems rural Ireland won’t last for too long as many Irish and Non-Irish people would like to urbanize these places asap. I’m not sure if I would entirely agree with this mindset as I think the diversity of Ireland in such a small country is what makes it so unique and so worth visiting.

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