Inistioge (“Teoc’s or Tighe’s Island”) is a most pleasant example of the little Irish village with church, cross, spirit-grocery, petrol-pump grouped round a quiet shadowy square. Time stands still, and the children under the lime-trees wait happily for the bus that has forgotten to come. The village lies in the prettiest part of the lovely Nore Valley on the west bank of the Nore, good trout and salmon river.
The stubborn Newre, whose waters grey
By fair Kilkenny and Ross-ponte board,
As Spencer described it. It is here crossed by an old and elegantly-arched bridge, ornamented on the southern side by Ionic pillars. Two ancient towers, one of them incorporated in the clock-faced parish church, recall the Austin friary that was founded in 1210. A ruined Norman fort overlooks the river, and far to the east is the rounded head of Mount Brandon. Nearby is the once-famous and finely-wooded demesne of Woodstock, formerly the home of the Tighe family. “It is impossible”, wrote a 19th century traveller, “to render justice to this fascinating place.”
Here in this happy Eden of our earth,
Dwelling with Nature and her holy train,
A mortal woman gave a spirit birth,
And Psyche made immortal once again.
Flaxman’s effigy of the poetess, Mrs. Mary Tighe (died 1810), authoress of “Psyche”, may be seen in one of the village churches.
Inistioge is a real hidden gem that is worth a stop on your Ireland tours.