10:00AM – En route to Blarney Castle
We checked out of the hostel at around 10:00AM. Breakfast was toast with jam and tea. We crossed a river to get to some of the shopping places nearby. Some of us looked to buy some souvenirs, but most places were closed because it happened to be a bank holiday. This was the first time I would be driving on the other side of the road. But, I was not nervous at all. After walking around the shopping plaza, we drove to Blarney Castle, which was about twenty minutes away from our hostel. Just before we hit the castle, we saw a “swap meet”. We paid the 2€ fee and started to walk around. Most of the things people were selling were junk from their homes. However, I did see some Germany military medals, old coins, and stamps. We stopped to buy some apple pie from some cute Irish girls. They seemed to be having a bake sale.
12:00PM – Blarney Castle and House
The castle was about an eight minute walk from the “swap meet”. We debated whether or not we should move the car, but by the time we came to a decision, we had already walked there. For the 12€ student price, we entered the huge ridiculous estate. It had to of been at least 20 acres. The castle and estate have been passed on generation after generation with the intent of never to be sold. Most estates are expensive to maintain, therefore have been converted into golf courses or museums. However, the Blarney Castle’s revenue from tourists has been able to fund the estate. The estate also has a river that runs through the estate called the Blarney River. Rumor is that there is a gold plate in the river, however it has been said that previous owners have tried to drain the river, but have not been able to find the plate. We toured the Blarney house and it was amazing just to think that people still live on the estate. It housed old paintings and portraits of the family. The youngest of the family born in 1991 have gone off to college. It is rather insane to imagine being born with that much wealth. Originally the family received the land from the King as someone in the family had led the country to victory in several wars. Surprisingly the couple prepares their own breakfast and they only have one maid in the house. One of the rooms has a lift that goes to the kitchen. Food was brought up directly from the kitchen. There was also a table whereby you would put money in a drawer and then it would go down into a vault. The house had old antiques that dated hundreds of years. We walked to the castle, which was at least 300M away. It was a legitimate castle made of stone. Then we climbed the narrow stone stairs up to the top and there we kissed the blarney stone. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with great eloquence or skill at flattery. It was pretty difficult to kiss the stone as we had to lean over the edge backwards. Rumor is that the king had put the stone in a difficult to reach place to prevent people being able to reach it.
4:00PM – Off to Kinsale
Kinsale is a small town south of Cork. We had heard from other tourists that there was a terrific seafood restaurant called Fishy Fishy. But, before heading to Kinsale we detoured to the Cork Airport to get our cigarette fuse box fixed to charge our GPS. While at Budget cars, we had to open the control box, which was underneath the driver’s steering panel. Then took out the fuse that was disconnected. It took the mechanic and us a while to find the correct fuse because we were looking at the wrong fuse box manual. When we did find it, it was a quick fuse swap and then we were on our way. We drove to Kinsale. My first impression was that it was similar to fisherman’s wharf in SF. Of course it was a bit smaller and crowded. The people in Ireland have got to be the friendliest people. We stopped a friendly drunk Irish man to ask for directions to Fishy Fishy. He had his arm around one of my buddies and repeated the directions twice to make sure we understood. We ate at Fishy Fishy and it was amazing despite the fact that it was a pricey meal. The group ended up playing credit card roulette and I ended up paying half the bill (45€) Then we got honeycomb ice cream, which tastes like vanilla and caramel bits mixed in. This is my favorite flavor in Ireland. If you do not know already, Ireland’s ice cream is delicious. My guess is that this is the result of the farm animals being so well fed. Literally the entire country is covered in green grass. I did not once see any yellow grass. In any event, I digress. After ice cream, I bought a 2€ scratcher, which did not win me money.
6:00PM – Headed to Killarney
It was a two hour drive to Killarney from Kinsale. We arrived at Neptune’s Killarney hostel at around 8pm. This hostel had nicer bathrooms than the one we previously stayed at. Like most other hostels we stayed at, breakfast was complimentary as consisted of toast with jam and coffee/tea. We immediately went to hit some bars. The first bar we went to was called O’Connor’s Traditional Pub. Evidently it was a touristy location as we saw a bunch of dollar bills hung from the walls. We went to a second dark pub and it had live music, but then immediately went to a third pub. The third pub was more traditional and had live old school Irish music. It was interesting, but we quickly became hungry. As you may have noticed already, in Ireland food places close at around 8pm. The only places still open were fast food places which served oily fries (chips) and burgers. After we ate at the fast food place, we went to another Pub called the Killarney Grand. This pub actually had an interesting mix of people. While there were young people, I also saw some older people. At the end of the pub, there was a nightclub, which went largely unoccupied the entire night. We ordered some Bulmer’s cider beers and then meet a couple other travelers. At around this time, the live band J90 started to play some sick music. They covered all the popular American songs and they were quite good. I met a French girl and we hit it off, so I bought her a Guinness pint. But then I had my eye on this other girl who ended up dancing in front of me. My buddy hit it off with a German girl. They exchanged emails and she even offered to have her cousin show him around in Germany. We finished the night at around 2AM.
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Four of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Five of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Six of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Seven of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Eight of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Nine of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Two of Nine
Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Zero/One of Nine