Where You Should Visit in Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Two out of Nine

Jun 18, 2012 -

Day 2  

8:30AM – Woke up to a chilling 40 degrees F

We are not used to this chilly weather. I surprised myself by waking up so early. Of course the others were still sleeping. I walked down the stairs to get some complimentary breakfast in the kitchen. Don’t get too excited, this is not a five star hotel. Breakfast was cereal with milk and toast with blueberry jam. I met an older man. After speaking with him for twenty minutes, I found out that he is originally from Long Beach, worked in Silicon Valley, and lived in Holland for a while. He was maybe in his late 50s. That is my best guess is based on the fact that he said he had grandchildren. While chilling on the couch, I chatted with a young Australian chick. She had just graduated college and did a semester abroad in Barcelona. She just found a job in the Temple Bar area and has been traveling alone for a couple months now. Unfortunately, I didn’t get her name.

 10:30AM – Pick up our car from Budget

If you didn’t know already, most people in Europe drive manual stick-shift cars. Unfortunately none of us knew how to drive a manual car. We opted for the automatic, but even then we were in for a new experience. In Ireland they drive on the left side of the road and the driver’s seat is on the right side versus the left in the US. We took a taxi to the nearest Budget in Dublin. They have two locations in Dublin; one in the airport and the other downtown. We rented a Ford Mondeo Diesel, which seats five, for about 42€ a day excluding insurance and GPS. The GPS was about $13€ a day. It took us a while to figure out how to drive on the other side of the road. We took turns driving. The issue we ran into was that all of would stay too close to the left side of the road and thereby graze the side of our car against bushes. We picked up some burritos on the way to the Wicklow National Park.

1:00PM – Driving to Cork via Wicklow National Park, Kilkenny, and Rock of Cashel

Did I mention that the weather in Ireland is ridiculously cold? Our plan was to stop by the Wicklow National Park on our way to Cork. Our GPS didn’t have an address for the national park, but we did get an address close to it. The roads were narrow and lacked street signs, so we had one navigator while another one of us drove. We stopped by some scenic areas and even saw ruins of a castle. It was far too chilly and windy to stay long in the national park. We continued on to Kilkenny and stopped by Kilkenny Castle. Our first castle in Ireland! The castle was originally built for a military leader, but later became the house of the Butler family. The Walter families were butlers to the King at the time and were given 10% of all wine tax (imposed on all imported wine) and land. They had changed their name to Butler later on. Much of the castle is now house-like, which included a dining room and drawing room. Most of the items in the castle were from the time, but were not originally from the castle. They had one or two items that were originally from the castle in each room.

4:30PM – Early dinner and food run at The Field Bar

We stopped by the Field Bar, which was located across from the Kilkenny castle. We had a Kilkenny local beer. It was not as bitter as an IPA, I enjoyed it. The waitress was a short cute Irish girl. If I didn’t know any better, she probably must have been 18. We had no idea what to order, so we asked her what her favorite dish was. She said she was vegan and only ate sandwiches. When we followed up and ask her what kind of sandwich, she said BLT. I thought to myself, doesn’t the BLT include bacon. I must have misheard. In any event, we ended up sharing a chicken and steak dish. We met who seemed like the owner of the place and he asked how long we were staying in Ireland. He mentioned that he lived in California for a while and is a huge Portland Trailblazer fan and detests the Lakers. As we walked out of the bar, a band walked in. However, we did stop by another bar for a while to listen to live music.

6:00PM – En route to Cork via Rock of Cashel

By this time, most touristy places are closed. Nonetheless, our journey took us to the Rock of Cashel. As expected, the castle was closed when we arrived. However, we stopped by to see the castle from the outside. Surrounding the castle was green grass and what must have been forty sheep. The castle looked like it was partially under construction. We saw that it had some wooden sticks and plastic coverings at the very top. Like with most trips, they don’t go as planned. We noticed that our GPS was not charging in the cigarette lighter. After calling Budget, we drove to Cork Airport to get it fixed. By the time we arrived, the repair center had closed. So, we swapped our GPS and were told to come back tomorrow to get the fuse fixed. What a bummer!

9:00PM – Checked into Kinlay House Cork hostel

We headed to Cork and checked into Kinlay House Cork hostel late. This hostel reminded me of college dorms, except that it was not well lit. That part of it reminded me of an insane asylum. Especially since the doors had small rectangular windows in them. We had two bunk beds and our luggage barely fit inside the room. The sun had set already and it had to have been past 9:00pm. This meant that we would have a difficult time finding good food as most places have closed already. We met two girls from Canada, who were Dutch. Some of us played games this Dutch card game with them. They had already been in Ireland for two weeks now. Incidentally, we also met the old man we saw in our Dublin hostel. We headed out to get some dinner. It took us a while to find a place that was open that still served food. Most places that were open around this time were drinking places. The only place open was a shitty burger place. It started raining, so right after we headed back to the hostel to retire for the night.

Ireland - The Emerald Isle - Day Three of Nine
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 Zero/One of Nine
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