|Kilkenny Castle was in far better shape than any of the castles I have visited in the Middle East.|
At Kilkenny, a few hours south of Dublin, we stopped to visit the town castle and its stables and gardens. Though the castle was clearly of the same origin and similar construction as many of the
Crusader castles I had explored in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, the experience of visiting it could not have been more different. For starters, this castle was wholly intact—restored to some degree of course, but it had also been continuously inhabited and maintained since its construction around 1200 AD. While goats and shepherds had the run of the Levant's long-abandoned Crusader castles, this castle had not only a roof, but also fully intact salons and a grand portrait gallery.