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Published: February 2nd 2015
This past weekend a small group of us, 3 Americans and 3 Germans, Anna, Sarah, Eva, Sarah Ro, Chrissi and myself went to Cork and Kinsale. Our travels started in Friday when we caught the bus to Cork in the morning. Once we got to Cork, about a 2 hour bus ride, we walked to the hostel we were staying in so we could get rid of our bags. This was my first hostel experience and I have to say, it was not that bad, granted us 6 had our own room with a bathroom. After checking in, we went and grabbed a coffee before catching another bus out to Blarney Castle. By the time we got to the castle we were running out of sunlight so it was a quick visit, but we got to climb to the top for breath taking views and got to kiss the famous stone. I still haven't felt the gift of gab come upon me, but maybe it takes a while. Once we got back into Cork we searched for some traditional Irish food, but most pubs had already quit serving. We finally settled at a bar and I got nachos that were delicious, I know, how American of me! We went out for a bit before heading back to the hostel to get some rest. Saturday morning was a good breakfast at the hostel for 3 euro and then we went to the English market that is a fresh food market. The Queen even visited it on her visit to Ireland a few years back. After the market we went to the Crawford Art Gallery and looked around at the art that is mainly from Irish artist. The best part besides the beautiful works, it’s free. After this we then took bus to Kinsale.
Kinsale is a small town on the southern coast of Ireland and is a tourist mecca in the summer months. We arrived and grabbed some lunch at a little cafe, I had shepherd’s pie and it was so good. After that we headed to the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at called the Olde Bakery. This place was probably the highlight of the trip. Upon arrival we were greeted by Chrissie and she greeted us as if we were her grandchildren. Once we picked out our rooms, Chrissie talked to us about what to do in Kinsale and about various other things including the history of the building, it used to be a bakery, gay marriage in Ireland, she supports it, and about the many guests and other stories that they have had throughout the twenty years they have been running the B&B. After about an hour of talking Chrissie kicked us out so we could go and see the city and we made the hour walk to Charles Fort that offered us some history with beautiful views of the town, the harbor, the sea, and the surrounding countryside. After visiting Charles Fort we walked back to Kinsale and grabbed dinner at a pub. I was so cold from the walk that I had my first Irish coffee. It was not bad, but I think I would rather just have plain coffee or the liquor, but not mixed. We then went on a search for some live music and found a DJ before we returned to the same pub we ate at for their live music. We were by far the youngest people out that night.
Sunday morning was the highlight for the trip. We had breakfast at the B&B and was it something. Not only did I get my traditional full Irish breakfast, but included was an assortment of cold cut meats, cereal, yogurt, fruit salad, scones, brown soda bread, and coffee, tea, or juice to wash it all down. I was very happy by the end of the meal! Yes I tried white and black pudding, but I have to say that I was not fan of either. After breakfast, it was more talking with Chrissie and Tom, who was the cook, before we left. Chrissie told us one more story of how their old neighbor used to be a drug lord and hit man and at the time Tom was a detective with the Garda. Talk about awkward! As we said goodbye, it was hugs and kisses from Chrissie as if we were her grandchildren. I would definitely go back for another stay and highly recommend it for any of you that read this.
Now we took the bus back to Cork where we went to the Shandon bell tower at St. Anne’s church and climbed to the top for some spectacular views of Cork. On the way up, you are able to ring the bells and they even provide a book of songs you can try and we decided to play Amazing Grace. It was really good actually, I guess we are natural bell ringers! After that, Sarah Ro and myself went on a church sightseeing, whirlwind trip around the city. My favorite church was St. Peter and Paul. It was so beautiful inside that it was truly breathtaking. After our little self-guided tour, we met up with the others, who had gone to the butter museum to catch the bus back home. It was an exhausting trip, but well worth it for the experiences and sights that we got to see in such a short amount of time.
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