I had last Sunday completely free, so I took a day trip down to Kilkenny (20km south of Carlow) to grab some lunch and walk around the town with two of my teammates, Armand and Kaz. We checked out the Kilkenny Castle and the expansive lawn behind it before walking the running path back to town for some lunch. Kilkenny is a beautiful town, and I hope to go back in the near future.
Armand (Latvian) and Kaz (Japanese) are two of my teammates that live in Carlow full-time (a lot of people leave town/go home on the weekends), so I’ve gotten to know them quite well. I’ve enjoyed learning more about their backgrounds and how they ended up in Ireland and playing for ITC Basketball. We all have such different stories, which makes for some fun conversation in addition to the fact that none of us share the same first language. I can always count on some good laughs when the three of us hang out!
Today, I had the morning off from class and coaching, so Armand offered to drive Courtney and me up Mount Leinster, a mountain that sits on the border of County Carlow and Wexlow. It was a beautiful drive in the countryside and up the mountain characterized by narrow roads, a lot of green, wild horses, and sheep. We drove up to the lower peak to park and skipped out on the 45-minute hike to the top peak given that it was cloudy and windy. Despite it being a relatively sunny day in Carlow as we drove up the mountain we couldn’t see anything but clouds as we walked out to the lower peak. I hope to go back on a clearer day when we can overlook all of Carlow. Armand told us that they’ve had barbeques on the mountain, so that may be in the cards at some point this year on a nice day! We finished our morning trip in Bagenalstown (Armand’s first hometown in Ireland) for coffee and donuts next to a swan-filled river before Courtney and I had to head back to Carlow for coaching. There’s never a dull moment with Armand.
Without a car, it is tough to get to some of the neighboring towns for a day trip. I’ve been lucky to have Armand around who is very generous with his time and always willing to offer rides and hang out.