Begins with a K (26/5/14)
Next on the list: Killarney. While traveling there, my bus had an hour layover in Limerick, which seemed like a simple, small town. From Limerick, my bus passed by the little village of Adare where thatched roofs seemed the norm in a certain part of town.
When I finally arrived in Killarney, it was rather late in the afternoon for the town. Shops were getting ready to close and people were getting ready for the night. Most non-pubs, like grocery stores and shops closed by 6-8pm. Heck, Eddie Rockets Diner, closed at 9! Anyhow, I decided to take a walk into Killarney National Park either way. During my short exploration of the place, I saw so many flowers I really wish I had my flower guide with me to identify them all – or at least a good number of them. In the end, the rain ended my short exploration for the day.
On my walk back to the hostel in the rain, I saw four tourists on bikes in the park. When I got back to my hostel, as it turns out, they were my roommates for the night. They were co-workers from Slovenia on vacation together. Small world sometimes…
Killarney: a National Park as a Backyard (27/5/14)
Traveling alone was proven to be worth it today or of all the days I’ve traveled alone this far.
I woke up this morning to have breakfast and say next with the American, from Arizona, who slept on the bunk below mine last night. We got to taping and became quick friends. It’s awesome to meet someone who’s as interested in knowing you as you are them – especially as friends – no expectations, just sharing moments of life and happiness together. After breakfast, we took a walk to Ross Castle where we took a tour. Then, a delicious lunch at Jam Café, where I had a delicious salmon fish cake, potato and spring onion salad, and apple and celery salad. Though it was a good meal, both of us were in the mood for some ice cream for dessert so we had I’ve cream at the “infamous” Murphy’s ice creamfrom Dingle. We sampled quite a few flavors before I finally settled on the gin ice cream and her on the Irish coffee ice cream with Jameson whiskey. SO GOOD. Seriously best I’ve cream ice ever had. Our short time together ended with me walking her to the train station and seeing her off during her last moments in Killarney.
After my new friend had left, I made the crazy decision of walking 6 km/4 miles to the Muckross House and Gardens, though tours had already finished for the day. It was creepy, awesome and strange all at the same time. The park was rather misty and rather cloudy, and there was an endless trail of trees and sweeping views every so often. I ended up wandering around by myself until 8pm, only seeing the locals out and about biking, walking their dogs, walking with friends or just walking alone. They use the park like their own backyard. It was awesome! When I was finally exhausted, I started walking back, but with my strange sense of direction, I exited in front of Muckross Park Hotel, a 5 star, classy hotel with a spa attached. I had no idea which way out was to town, so I walked in to ask for directions. It turned out, some random guy there was heading into town in a bit and offered to give me a lift into town. During our drive into town, I was in utter shock as I noticed the length of the road I had walked to get to Muckross House only a few hours prior.
From One “K” to Another (28/5/14)
This morning, I woke up exhausted so I left the hostel 2 hours after my planned travel time. Due to my procrastination of getting up, I spent all day traveling to Cork, waiting at the Cork bus station for 3 hours, going to Clonmel and waiting another hour before I finally reached Kilkenny. So I was traveling from 1030am until 645pm. What a pain. On the bright side, being awake when we were in Clonmel, I got to see the location of the Bulmer’s/Magner’s brewery.
Upon arrival at Kilkenny, I found out there was another brewery to be seen there: the Smithwick’s brewery. However, it was too late to take a tour as the non-pubs closed at around 7pm here as well. So, I ran to get groceries, made dinner and ran out again to get down swing dancing for the night. I stayed out dancing until 2am at the beautiful Left Bank pub where I had my first taste of swing aerials, as the instructor found it fun to toss me around. The night ended with a short hang out at the instructor’s apartment with some new swing friends.
Kilkenny/Waterford: A Swinging Ending (29/5/14)
My full-day in Kilkenny. I went on the Rothe House tour and explored their 0.5 acre garden for a few hours, followed by the Kilkenny Castle tour. My, that house was too beautiful, especially the picture gallery. I got hungry soon after and dropped by their Thursday market and got a duck pie from Peter the Pieman for a late lunch. He said he’d been making pies for 15 years. It was indeed a good pie, with what seemed like an au gratin potato crust rather than the regular pie crust. It was REALLY good.
After a day alone, I called up the swing instructor who was teaching last night and he gave me his tour of the little town of Kilkenny. It was rather fun. Then, we took the train over to Waterford for more dancing at The Reg, where I was thrown around some more for aerials after lessons. We were out until 3-4am this time, dancing and spending time with another swing dancer, before taking the first BusEireann towards Dublin Airport back into Kilkenny.
Returning to Dublin (30/5/14)
Time to head back to Dublin. I opted for the train back. I was so glad the train left only a few minutes late, otherwise I would not have caught it. I had underestimated the time it took to walk to the train station, but thankfully I got the train. The scenery back to Dublin was lovely, but after taking busses for so many hours, it sort of all looked the same: green with a lot of field margins, scattered houses, and livestock.
Upon arrival in Dublin, I can now say I’ve been in Heuston Station. It’s a busy place and almost as big as a a Tube station in Central London. Soon after my arrival, I settled in at a friend’s house and then met up with another friend for an evening tea at Oolong Flower Power one last time. This time we didn’t have cakes, but it was still great catching up.
Last Weekend in Dublin (31/5/14)
So, I’ve been wanting to go to the Harlech House since I first saw pictures of it and was really excited when I found out that it’s really close to my school. However, the whole semester, I hadn’t found the time to go see it. Today was the day I went. My Brazilian friend was excited as I to go when I told her about it, so we took the walk over – which was surprisingly a short distance from her house. I do not regret it. AMAZING house, even though we didn’t get to walk in or anything, as people live there.
Then, we went crazy shopping for things. I bought my first decent backpack – after school has ended, I know it doesn’t make sense. I was also lucky enough to snag a brand name swimsuit at TKMaxx. Then, we ended the day with dinner at Jo’ Burger, a rather expensive burger joint – but I have to say, the burgers were TOTALLY worth it. It was an exciting day, though simple – nothing special.
The Last Walk Around (1/6/14)
My last full day in Ireland and I spent it with a friend who’s as much of an explorer as I am. We just spent time walking around, talking about life, its difficulties and wonders. It was definitely a worthy last day. The odd part about the day was that it didn’t feel sad, as if I was leaving the lovely city of Dublin, the country of Ireland forever, but rather I was leaving for a short time before I’d return again.
Things I Learned “today”
- The butter is yellower in Ireland because the cows are grass-fed not maize-fed.
Words/Phrases of the Day
- Jaunting cars = think “carriages” or “coaches” but open top
Killarney National Park:
A view with a jaunting car.