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On a recent, fantastic visit to Barberstown Castle, I also took the opportunity to explore the village that Barberstown lies on the edge of, Straffan. Straffan boasts a Steam Museum and a Butterfly Farm, but I was there off season, so I had to get a bit more creative about my activities. (Apparently when the Steam Museum is open, Robert Guinness himself sometimes leads tours around the steam engine, tea house and walled garden).

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There's the Straffan Inn, the quintessential Irish village pub, which offers a warm welcome even on a rather bleak February evening. I enjoyed a very pleasant glass of Merlot and some low key people watching.

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There's also a pretty church and graveyard and a convenience store that I became slightly obsessed by, because it sold rather exotic Irish versions of things like crisps and sandwiches.  All in all, it's a very beguiling short walk from Barberstown and a lovely place to spend an hour or two. I don't know how it feels in July, but on my visit it was a small community getting on with its business and totally uninterested in the stranger in the hired Skoda bombing around its country lanes.

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