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Published: December 15th 2009
I took a trip to London with my friend Megan, but since I'm coming back to London next semester, I'll leave most of my London stuff for next semester. However, the major highlight of that trip was Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. Westminster is absolutely gorgeous for non-history folk, but for people who are particularly interested in English history, this was absolutely incredible. I was so excited the entire time that I was in the abbey. It houses the tombs of Elizabeth I, Bloody Mary, and Mary Queen of Scots, three incredibly famous queens. It also has an area called Poet's Corner with tombs and tributes to many incredibly famous poets. Here is a link for more information: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/visit-us. St. Paul's was a beautiful cathedral and provided a wonderful view of the city.
Enough about London... back to Ireland.
On November 28-30, I went to Ireland with my American friends Megan, Kacie, Alex and Adrienne. We flew in to Cork early on Saturday morning. We wandered around Cork for a bit, but quickly found a taxi out to Blarney to go to Blarney Castle. There are buses from Cork to Blarney, but we didn't want to wait. Blarney and the Castle were incredible. This is the Castle that houses the infamous Blarney Stone, that is told to give you the gift of eloquent speech upon kissing it. The grounds of the castle were wonderful, even in the winter. Everything was still intensely green. The castle was not a working one and we spent the day without heat, as we did for most of the trip. I'll explain later. See pictures on facebook for a better view of the area. We made our way through the castle's windy staircases to the very top. We were noticing how high we were getting, but I always feel comfortable as long as my feet are planted on the ground, which was not going to last very long. Unbeknownst to me before my trip, the Blarney stone is at the bottom of an attachment to the castle that hangs out over the ground hundreds of feet below. In order to kiss the stone, you have to lay down on the roof of the castle and hang over the ledge upside down with a man holding your feet. Needless to say, I freaked out and refused to do it, only to give in to peer pressure, knowing that I would regret not doing it. There are hilarious pictures of my terrified face as I leaned over this rock. I don't even think that I kissed the stone itself because eventually I refused to lean down farther and the guy just let me kiss the rock that housed the stone. I don't need eloquent speech anyway. At least I kissed something, right?
We wandered around Blarney for a few more hours and then went back to Cork to catch our bus to Ennis, where we were staying. Ennis is a small Irish town that is famous for its music scene in the pubs. This area of Ireland had been experiencing flooding and it was apparent. The river that our hostel was on was incredibly high. Apparently the hostel had been flooding and we were lucky to have a dry place to stay. We went out to dinner and a pub that was playing music, but we obviously tourists and the other people were all locals that could have been our parents, so we only stayed for a few songs and then went back to go to bed.
The next day we went out to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. I have wanted to go to these cliffs since I was in high school. I have a few books of Ireland at home that I used to look at whenever I was sad and tell myself that one day I would be there. There was a picture of the Cliffs of Moher that I bought and has been on my wall since I went to college. Needless to say, this trip was really emotional for me as I realized that my dream of living in this area of the world was reality. The Cliffs were absolutely breathtaking and I could have stayed there forever if not for the raging wind. It was nice to look out at the Atlantic and know that somewhere out there was home. I'm so happy to be here, but I have really learned to appreciate home a lot more.
We returned to Ennis for dinner and were exhausted. Adrienne and I went out to one pub to hear more music but arrived at the end of the session, so we went back and went to bed. We had an early flight the next morning.
Ireland has definitely been my favorite place to go so far. Scotland and Paris were also amazing, but I think that Ireland meant more to me because of my emotional attachment and heritage. Many Irish people noticed my name and asked me about it, which made me feel really proud to be Irish American. I think that if I ever have a lot of money, the first major purchase will be a house in Ireland so that I can spend time in the States and visit Ireland whenever I want. If you get to take one international trip in your life, make it Ireland.
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