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Ireland: Cork, Galway, Tipperary, and Kerry!

IRELAND | Wednesday, 29 June 2011 | Views [733]

Last time I updated my blog, I was sitting in Innishannon, Cork watching Obama’s visit to the Emerald Isle. Now I’m sitting in San Diego, California watching some hummingbirds feast outside my window – what a difference! The last six months of travel have been so incredibly eye opening and life changing and even with my blog, there are so many moments that I cannot adequately express and share with words.  However, I will try to wrap up my last five weeks in Ireland as best as I can.

After spending some time in Innishannon, I headed to Blarney, home of the infamous Blarney Stone. I was there for a few days and reunited with Nicola, my travel partner all through India. I finally got to meet her family that I had heard so much about throughout our travels and time in Korea and we ended up having a few nights out over the weekend with her sisters. We had a pub session at a seedy joint in Blarney one night and then went into a posh club in the city called The Bodega the next night, so I got to see a wide variety of Cork nightlife! After spending a few days with Nicola and her crowd, I went to stay with my Auntie Mary, who is my father’s sister. She lives very close to the center of Blarney town and I was able to walk into town and do a good bit of touring. The highlight of my trip there obviously being my trek up Blarney Castle to kiss the stone of eloquence at the top. Apparently kissing it gives you the gifts of charm and conversation, so naturally I haven’t noticed any changes (hardy har har!!).

From Blarney, I returned to Innishannon to regroup for a day before catching a bus up to Galway to stay with my mother’s sister, my Auntie Lucy. Auntie Lucy is my godmother and the aunt I’ve been closest with over the years, so I was really looking forward to seeing her and catching up with both her and her husband Tom. Lucy and Tom live in Gort in a gorgeous house where you can easily walk down into the village. While staying in Galway, I got to catch up with my Auntie Pat (Mom’s sister) and her daughters, Auntie Bernie (Mom’s sister) and her daughters, Andrew (cousin on my Mom’s side) and his wife and daughter over the course of my stay. Galway is a beautiful place and Lucy and I have somewhat schemed that I’ll move there in a few years time once I have my masters and clinical license in tow!

Following my incredibly enjoyable trip to Galway, I caught yet another bus to Dublin where I went to visit and stay with my Mom’s friend since college, Mary, and her husband Aidan. They have an amazing house in an even more amazing part of Dublin and I was able to see a good bit of the city during my weekend there. It was a short visit however as I had to catch yet another bus back out to Clonmel (in County Tipperary) as I wanted to visit my Auntie Phil (Mom’s sister) again before my trip out to Dingle that I’ll get to in a minute. Auntie Phil cooked me up yet another incredible dinner and we had a great evening of conversation. The following day she took me back to her and my mom’s hometown of Ballylanders so I could visit my grandparent’s graves again as I have no idea when I’ll be able to do that again. Sadly, it was a very short trip with Auntie Phil and after doing a bit of upkeep of the graves, she drove me to Mitchelstown where I caught a bus to Cork where my cousin Sean picked me up.

The next day, Sean and I headed to the coastal town of Dingle that is in the county of Kerry. Dingle was such a highlight of my trip as the scenery was breathtaking and I genuinely had a great time there. In Dingle, we hooked up with Sean’s university friend Micheal who had actually come out to California and stayed with my family while I was in Korea - so we finally got to meet after hearing so much about each other! Micheal showed us the nightlife of Dingle and of course we did a pub crawl down the main street that ended up with a visit to the chipper at the end of the night! The next day we headed out on Micheal’s boat to look for Fungie, the famous dolphin of Dingle, who hasn’t left the bay for nearly thirty years. We ended up spotting Fungie, but unfortunately I was only able to get pictures of the after splash of his jumps as my camera wasn’t quick enough to catch the man himself! That afternoon, we did the Slea Head drive and looked out at the Blasket Islands and made a plan to head out to them the next time the three of us find ourselves in Dingle. The following day, Sean and I had a lovely tea overlooking Dingle Harbour before doing one last look around the town and then headed out to Micheal’s house to meet his mom and have one last ‘cuppa’ before our drive back to Cork. We then ended up driving back out towards Mizen Head (Southwest Cork) to pick up my cousin Cathal on the way back to Innishannon.

At that point, I only had a few days left in Ireland, so I went into Cork city and met up with my Uncle Bernard, his wife Rotua, and baby Martha to say our goodbyes. I also got to meet up with Nicola and two of her sisters to have one last pint of Bulmers and a rather teary farewell on Oliver Plunkett Street! The next day was my cousin Aine’s birthday so we had a lovely dinner in the town of Kinsale and that was my last full day in Cork as I went up to Galway the day after to stay with my Auntie Lucy and Tom as it is very close to Shannon Airport where I caught a flight to Heathrow before the last long leg onto Los Angeles.

 

I know it will take me some time to digest the trip of a lifetime that I have just completed and I’m sure I’ll look back on these blog entries and wish I had shared more details, but I love carrying certain stories with me as they were something that truly had to be experienced firsthand. I have seen so many remarkable and wonderful things during these last few months and I am so proud and pleased that I was able to do something like this and make it home safely. Who knows when my next trip will be, but wherever it is, I’ll be sure to write about it here. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my trip, either by being along for the ride or reading about it here!

 

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