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Hen night

Rose Inn Street, Kilkenny Ireland

I got a flat on Rose Inn Street in Kilkenny soon after I arrived in town in September 2001.

Rose Inn Street is as old as Norman Kilkenny. In the 1200's, the Anglo-Normans built the castle at a bend in the River Nore, at a site that had been an important fording point. They put in a bridge there soon afterward. Medieval Kilkenny was composed of property on either side of the river.

There were two main arteries through ancient Kilkenny, and still are. High Street goes north-south, parallel to the river, and John Street, east-west from across the bridge; Rose Inn Street is really a continuation of John Street, this side of the bridge. (It "ends" at the next intersection, where begins Patrick Street — and it is at that point, too, where a right-handed turn leads onto High Street.)

During the 1798 rebellion, a blacksmith operating at my address was making pikes for the republican cause. He had made a hole in the castle-grounds wall, at the back of this property, and he was storing the finished weapons in there before delivery. It was a bold move, and the English killed him for it.

203 years later, I moved in, above the mobile-phone store.

Rose Inn Street takes on a special character on weekends after dark, when large amounts of drink are involved. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are progressively intensive. General drunken loudness dominates the scene these nights beginning around 12:30 and lasting until about 4 o'clock.

Pubs close at 12:30 on these nights.* Of course, many people still want a drink. Up John Street are two major late bars — O'Faolain's and Langton's. Loads of drinkers go to these places. Langton's is a huge old ballroom dancefloor, a barn of an open space. O'Faolain's is the ruins of an ancient Welsh church moved, rebuilt, and housed in a modern structure. They're both full of people on a weekend.

Rose Inn Street is en route from many a pub to these late-bars, and between clubs both sides of the river. So there you have it. Plus, below my window and down two doors is Abrakababra, a typical Irish (bad) fast-food joint, open late. It's not good food — but drink is involved.

Fortunately, I sleep well in adverse noise conditions. So long as I've no need to respond to the disturbance, I'll sleep. Trains, viaducts, highways, housemates.... On Rose Inn Street, it happens to be revelers full of drink. Oddly, I don't think I'd sleep well in my own country if people were making the same level of noise below my window. But then again, Americans are different.

Anyhow, this is Ireland. These people are Irish. They're doing what they do. There's no harm in it, as the Irish themselves say. It'll be alright.

*Thursday closing time later changed to 11:30 PM.