Living in a Story Book

After a night of tossing and turning in a hostel bed being awoken by roommates at various times of the night, I refreshed in the morning by enjoying a lovely cup of coffee by the window in our hostel. As I sipped much missed American style coffee, I looked out to a fairly sunny day in Ireland - slightly rainy but serene and calming. This was a perfect start to a lovely spring vacation and my first day in Ireland.

Today we headed to Blarney Castle to see the beautiful scenery and kiss the famous stone. Blarney is a short twenty minute bus ride from cork. We were lucky to start our day with some gorgeous weather, but as we found out, it tends to be sunny one minute and rainy the next in Ireland. Before heading up to the castle, we explored the gorgeous landscape around the castle. With mossy rocks, babbling brooks, and quaint bridges, the scenery is absolutely beautiful. I felt as if I was living in a story book the entire day. This may be in part due to the fact that everything is so green here! The grass is a shade so bright it seems neon - I love it!

As it began to rain, we went to climb Blarney's castle and kiss the stone. The steps were soo steep! With my fear of heights (inherited from my dad) and slight claustrophobic nature, it definitely took strength to get up there. However, it took even more courage to stick half my body, upside down, through a hole on the top of a tall castle in attempts to kiss the stone! Everything happened so fast I had no time to prepare... Sit here, hold on here, lean back, and smooch! Quite frankly I think I was too freaked out to lean back far enough to reach the stone and ended up kissing right above it...oops.

After we had all kissed the stone, or attempted to anyway, we left the castle gardens to meander our way through Blarney. We ended up heading to an Aran wool mill which was filled with traditional Irish sweaters – many of which were woven by women living on the Aran Islands. We shopped around for a while and all ended up all buying the exact same sweater - we can all match next year!

With our cardigan, cream colored Irish sweaters in tow, we saw a small restaurant featuring a "Tea break special". What better way to take a midday break and experience Ireland than with a lovely hot cup of tea, homemade scone and jam? We sat in the restaurant for hours, sipping our tea, talking, and relaxing. Unlike my weekend “trips” in the past, I foresee Ireland being much more of a vacation and I am looking forward to it continuing on that note.

After loosing track of time over tea, we quickly got back on the bus to cork, rushed to our hostel to pick up our bags, and ran back to the bus station - making our bus to Limerick within minutes of its departure! We all got a little exercise with a late afternoon jog when trying to catch our bus, but we made it. We were off to Limerick to stay with a friend of Tiffany's who is studying at the University of Limerick. When we arrived, Molly was so nice and we spent the evening chatting. Many thanks to Molly for the great hospitality and free lodging!

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