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.
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.
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…