I had the absolute privilege of visiting Ireland on a last minute whim in August. My friend Mitha organized the entire trip, and we started and ended in Dublin while going on a three-day rail tour in the middle.
On day one we headed to the Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone, we went through the city of Cork (in the south of Ireland), and we visited the town of Cobh (pronounced Cove). We ended the night in a nice hotel in Killarney. On day two, we did a day’s journey around the Ring of Kerry, which is basically large loop around the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwestern part of Ireland. It was, I should mention, incredibly gorgeous and very green. As for day three, that’ll be the next post!
Blarney Castle is set up as a tourist destination. As legend has it, kissing the Blarney Stone (a specific stone up at the top of the castle) will give you the gift of eloquence. The catch is that you may have to go up a bunch of narrow spiral staircases, lie on the floor when you get to the top, hold on to some rails, turn upside down, and kiss that stone. It’s a long way down! I did it anyway. =)
This was the Blarney House on the same estate. Very different style, but very, very pretty.
After lunch at the Blarney Mills, we headed through some towns and then visited Cobh, which is the town the Titanic departed from.
Naturally, there is a whole museum dedicated to the Titanic in Cobh.
On day two of the rail tour, we drove in a big loop around the Ring of Kerry. The first stop of the morning involved Irish coffee, which is hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar.
This stop was so cute… this shepherd and his sheep dogs do a whole demo. First we were introduced to a bunch of varieties of sheep.
Then he did a whole demo with his three sheep dogs, showing us how they herd sheep in all directions following three discrete sets of whistle and vocal commands, even from half a mile away up the hill. I was entertained.
We were really lucky when the sun broke through the clouds and we got the gorgeous blues and greens of the countryside.
We even caught a little rainbow.
Finally, a shot across the Killarney Lakes as we were driving by.
One more Ireland post filled with countryside and sea cliffs will be coming soon! For now you can revisit Ireland Part 1.