The very first picture I took in Ireland is probably my favorite.
I loved Killarney so much. The people were incredible, the town so beautiful, the food fresh. The air felt clean. It might’ve been cold and rainy, but it made me so happy. Leaving made me sad, but we had more to see and do.
We weren’t staying in Dublin for that part of the trip. Instead we were staying in the seaside village of Bray, which sounded fine and dandy to me. Off we went on the new adventure early Sunday morning. In Ireland. If you’ve ever been to Ireland, you know what that means. We had no idea.
First stop though: Blarney Castle. ON and I climbed to the top so she could kiss the Blarney Stone. I thought about kissing it too, but after climbing all the stairs in the rain, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get back up. You have to lay down on your back all the way at the top of the castle. Once you’re on your back, you wiggle backwards while someone holds you up and you kiss the stone. Kissing the stone is supposed to give you “the gift of the gab.” Supposedly after you kiss the stone you can convince anyone of anything. So yeah, not something I needed to do. But I didn’t regret climbing to the top of the castle.
When we got down, we walked the Blarney’s Poison Garden. FASCINATING. Mandrake, Wolfsbane and Henbane were all there. The historical novel reader in me was thrilled, not to mention my inner Harry Potter fangirl.
We left Blarney and headed to Bray, but first we needed to make another stop: The Rock of Cashel, a celtic cathedral ruin. I loved Cashel. They had a potato famine wall and The Rock felt ancient. They’re restoring part of it now.
Cashel was the first place it quickly because apparent Ireland on Sunday wasn’t like Ireland other days. Only one tiny tea shop was open.
When we got to Bray we were a little disappointed because we weren’t right on the beach. Our guide told us it was a short 30 minute walk to the ocean, and we decided we’d kick ourselves if we were that close and didn’t go check it out.
Half way there it started raining. When we got to the beach, we realized Ireland really does close shop on Sunday. The casino on the beach was open. Nothing else. My friend Susan frowned and told me it looked just like Dover. We visited Dover two years before. I was fine with it looking just like Dover. Pretty rock beaches make me happy. Pretty rock beaches in Ireland make me even happier. When it started pouring on our 30 minute walk back to the hotel, I tried to focus on the positive. It was pretty tough, though. We were cold, walking uphill, and a little bummed that nothing was open. Susan told me she was never listening to me again about getting out of the hotel room and going to check out the scenery.
But we laughed about it the rest of the trip.
The next morning we woke up and headed into Dublin and the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The trip was supposed to take around 20 minutes. It took 2 hours. The traffic was awful. At first we thought it was rush hour in the big city, but then we learned the truth. Michelle Obama was in Dublin and the city streets were almost at a standstill.
When we made it to Trinity, we learned Michelle Obama was there, so the display was closed. Bummer.
We did eventually make it in to see the Book of Kells display. Fascinating stuff. And we got to shop Dublin. I’d like to go back some day and do the Viking tour for sure. Maybe see an Irish dance show. But not on a day the First Lady is visiting. Some in our group actually got her picture. We all laughed at the fact that they had to go to Ireland to see her.
Our night closed with the only bad meal of the trip: Carrot Curry. It was so bad it was funny, though, and that made it okay.
When I went to bed that night, I repacked my suitcase and sighed. I’d completely fallen in love with Ireland. I didn’t want to leave. But we had Wales, Scotland and England to go. #
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