Hey! This past Saturday, my flatmates and I ventured to Cork for the day. We woke up super early, rode the bus to the city center, walked a mile to the train station, and took a 2.5-hour train to the southwest part of the country. We first headed to Blarney (just outside the city) to explore the castle and gardens. The castle was STUNNING! It was so cool to experience first-hand how people lived years ago. We climbed up the steep steps to the top and kissed the Blarney Stone. We also crawled through different tunnels to the dungeon. This was hard enough to navigate with added light – I can’t even imagine how people did it with just a torch. After the castle, we walked around the gardens. This was extremely refreshing since we’ve been living in the city for the past two weeks with little opportunity to soak up all the Irish greenery.
After Blarney, we took the bus back into Cork and ate lunch at a local brewery. Some personal pizzas and a handful of pints later, we got up and explored the city for a few hours. We stumbled upon what appeared to be a summer festival at a town square just off of city center. There, we watched a group of acrobats perform a myriad of acts – dancing, singing, gymnastics, and audience competitions. It was so intriguing and nothing like we’ve ever seen before, so we stayed for a while soaking up the live entertainment and culture. Unfortunately, we had to leave before it ended to catch the late bus back to Dublin. Our Saturday was jam-packed with traveling and exploring, but SO worth it!
On Sunday, we slept in a bit and wandered to the city center around lunchtime to visit the Guinness Experience. This museum was actually really interesting. As a chemistry major, I was extremely interested in learning about the fermentation process of making beer. The self-guided tour lasted about an hour and ended at the top of the tower. There, we enjoyed a complimentary pint while gazing out the large windows at a bird-eye view of downtown Dublin. After we finished, we went to eat at an aesthetic café nearby. I have no idea what exactly was in my dish, but it tasted amazing (picture attached). Following lunch, my friend and I stayed in the city and wandered around St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College. I really love the parks here. They’re so much livelier than the parks at home; filled with street performers, children playing, gymnasts doing yoga on the grass, and so much more. The weekend ended with a bus ride back to campus, a long nap, and an evening playing cards (once again) with friends.
I think my favorite thing about Ireland is not necessarily the cities or the museums, but the people inside. The locals and tourists alike are so friendly and full of joy. Although the sun never actually shines here, the people radiate their positive energy everywhere you go.
Sending happiness your way!