Posted by: brookenado | June 23, 2014

Last Stop: Cork, Ireland! (One last study abroad adventure, part I)

Dear readers,

Sorry for that mini hiatus there!  What can I say?  Life’s been a bit crazy and of course, now there’s the World Cup to suck up all of my attention and then some.  But now we’re back on track, and I’m bringing you a way, way, way overdo post (in more ways than one).

When I started this blog I was studying abroad, and I never got around to posting the last trip from my travels in 2012.  Yes, when I said way overdo I mean seriously, deplorably late.

Cork, Ireland Euro Cup 2012

Better late than never, right?

If you’ll recall, I was studying in England, and made some wonderful friends who I traveled with (all detailed in the Travel Tales).  Two of us were able to make one final trip – a week’s worth of adventures in Ireland and Scotland!  As it was nearing the last two weeks before heading home, we were also getting to the last of our traveling budget.  So, in true broke student fashion, we put hard work into cutting corners and saving a few pounds were we could.  And part one of our last journey took us to Cork, Ireland for a few days…

Cork is one of Ireland’s larger cities, but it’s certainly not what you’d picture as a ‘city’.  There’s a quiet bustle about it, and life seems to flow like the river that runs through the city.   The wide St Patrick’s Street is colorful and features plenty of modern and specialty shops, restaurants, and a neat little market.  The city itself is scenic and easy to navigate.  We spent three days there, but two is probably perfect to explore the main street and surrounding attractions.

If you’re visiting Cork, be sure to check out the English Market and Fitzgerald Park.  The University College of Cork is on the on the way to the park, and insanely enough, Amanda actually knew one of the students who went there but was studying abroad at her school!  So although we wouldn’t be running into her we decided to walk through the campus, which was lovely as well.

We stayed at the Bru Hostel, which was decently priced, not too far from St Patrick’s Street, and had a good atmosphere.  They hosted live music in the bar one of the evenings we were there, and after chatting with our two roommates we ended up going to dinner with one of them – a traveler about our age from Canada!  (Had my first taste of banoffee pie that night, too.  Delicious!)  It’s one of the amazing parts of traveling, I think; you can meet someone on the fly, automatically have a conversation starter, and you get to share an instant connection with someone and someplace new!

The next morning we decided to fit in a trip before catching our flight to Edinburgh to visit Blarney Castle as it was only a 15 minute bus ride away.  Up until this point Ireland had been sunny, and beautiful, and so good to us!  But that day it rained.  A lot.

Rainy day

Bring it on, rain.

But we didn’t let the weather stop us, please!  We trekked on, I kissed the stone – didn’t think I was going to because blegh, germs – but when we got to the top of the stairs where the famous stone lies I decided, ‘what the hell?  If it kills me, I die knowing I’ve been blessed by the Irish, with the ability to speak the most eloquent final words.‘  Alright, so it was actually more like, ‘eh, why not?

Blarney was worth the stop, the ticket to get in, and getting drenched.  At the top of the castle are stunning views of the green countryside and the town, and the grounds are beautiful.  Stroll around the grounds, check out the gardens – I particularly enjoyed the Poison Garden -, the streams, and even the cave you can walk through.  The town is also home to the Blarney Woolen Mills, a fantastic place for some gift shopping so we spared some time for a quick shopping trip before catching the bus back to Cork.

While our few days in Ireland made for a nice, mellow adventure on our final trip, getting to our next destination wouldn’t prove to be quite as easy as planned.  Final UK study abroad trip to be continued…

Thanks for reading, cheers!  And best of luck to whatever nation(s) may be carrying your hopes and dreams in the World Cup this month.  Until then…

Mischief managed

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  1. Wow! Looks amazing!!!!

    • It’s certainly a charming little place (I took way too many pictures of flowers and parks) – I so wish I could go back to the UK! Have you had the chance to see any of Ireland?

      • Not yet! Hoping to go next year actually to England Scotland and Ireland for the first time!

      • Oh that’s right, I remember you mentioning that! So exciting, I hope you get to go, too!

  2. I went to Cork once and promised to never return. It was night and there didn’t seem to be much there. But after reading this, maybe there’s more than I thought? Thanks for sharing!

    • When we were there I had the impression that there wasn’t much to do at night either (though the locals would know best!), however it is a beautiful area that I enjoyed exploring. Having been now, if I were to go back I think I’d be more prepared with the mindset that it’s going to be a quieter stop along my travels – bit different than the norm, but not in a bad way. So glad you enjoyed reading and thank you for the comment! Cheers to wanderlust and new adventures 🙂

  3. Hi Brooke – WOW!!! I’m so glad you went to kiss the Blarney Stone! Now I won’t be the only one in the family to have done that and it is checked off my
    Bucket List. Now you have to go to the CANARY iSLANDS and ride a camel,and to the very top of the alps in Zermatt, in Switzerland. Now I am
    leaving in 2 weeks to travel to the artic circle and see the NORTHERN LIGHTS and LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN! That will about complete my BUCKET LIST unless I add someplace else when I get home. I’m also going to Berlin to view the wartime sights, Dresden, Rothenburg and Munich to view the concentration camp. So, some history and some fun . I hope you keep up your adventurous spirit an d get to travel all there is to see in this world!
    LOVE, Grandma

    • I bet you’re going to have such a wonderful trip, I wish was going, too! Looking forward to seeing pictures and hearing the stories, though. And I certainly hope I get to experience all of the amazing places you’ve been to! ❤

  4. Love it! Can’t wait to hear about Scotland! ❤

  5. […] Part I left off heading to the Cork airport in Ireland, but because of the storm we were experiencing only got worse, our flight from the tiny airport was cancelled.  (Waiting through the delays to this point, Amanda and I spent our time attempting to dry our completely soaked layers with the hand dryer in the restroom.)  Admittedly I grew somewhat nervous having not been in this situation before, so I was glad not to be traveling on my own! […]

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