Inistioge – pronounced Innis-teeg – must be the fairest of all the beautiful villages verdant Ireland. Entrance to the town is over a ten-arch bridge that crosses a slow, narrow river. A row of old white buildings overlooks the river and the animals grazing next to it. A small village green is surrounded by buildings painted in pastels in the Irish manner. One of the two churches located just off the green is ancient and has old graves scattered around it. A charming pink pub – once featured in a major movie – catches the eye of the visiting photographer.
The village takes its name from the Tighe family whose estate, Woodstock, presided over the town for centuries. The remains of the beautiful home, destroyed nearly a century ago during the struggle for Irish independence, are on the crest of the hill above the town. The owner and his family fled in 1922, leaving the abandoned gardens of the estate to grow and flourish for decades. After many years the Kilkenny County Council began restoring the gardens where enormous trees are found today: giant California redwood trees, 50-foot –wide Chinese rhododendrons and a little-known specimen called a “monkey puzzle” tree. Today the gardens are magnificent.
The view from Woodstock’s hill is of the river, the arched bridge and miles of rolling countryside. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen – and one of the greenest!