My father liked to tie old buckets high up in the rafters of the sheds of our farm, he did this so that the birds would have a safe place to nest. They thanked him for this by producing large numbers of little babies that sang constantly as he went about his work. We had a menagerie of animals. Cows, calves, hedgehogs, cats, dogs, even a peacock that liked to show off his rainbow fan of feathers whenever he felt he was lacking attention.
The seasons were welcomed, each had their own job. In summer we mopped our brows as we carried in bales of hay and straw and longed for 99’s and bottles of lilt to quench our thirst. Autumn was a little quieter as the molten brown and russet red leaves covered the yard, the pace of life slowing with the onset of the fall. In winter, the calves with their soft baby hair and hungry cries would begin to arrive breaking the stillness of the darkest of nights. Then spring would bring renewal and energy as the yellow mist of the daffodils greeted us. My summer was filled, free as a bird with a bike and a terrier dog, long golden days to run wild or just be.
Looking back I was like lots of little children brought up in rural Ireland, we thought it was normal to run off up the hills and only come back when our bellies called out to us. No one worried too much other than getting caught in the rain or into mischief.
Now many years later I search for places to bring my own children so they can experience what we took as our rite of passage.
One place full of magical hiding places is the priory in Kell’s village, not far from the city of Kilkenny. This beautiful old ruin is situated along Kings’s river. Once a place of worship, it looks more like a fortress. You can feel the history seep out of the grey walls.
It is nestled in a green field often filled with sheep. As you park and walk down towards this monastic site with it’s rambling walls and hidden past, you will know you have discovered a magical little gem. the perfect place to remember how it is to be carefree.