Our trip to Ireland was motivated by the fact that Mary and Chris (college friends) would be in the midst of a 2 week trip to London and Ireland. We couldn't pass up the chance to catch up with them and see Ireland for a few days.
We met in Cork for the first of our 3 nights thanks to the England Spring Bank Holiday. After our adventurous trip getting to Ireland we started the at the famous Blarney Castle just outside Cork. Here you will find the Blarney Stone that if you kiss may earn you the gift of gab. The problem is you must lie on your back and hang over an opening a few stories above the ground below to kiss the stone. Since I didn't get home with a good shot of the stone I found a good one here that illustrates the challenges of kissing the stone. Its not as dangerous as its seems now that the modern safety rules have been applied. There is a guy to help you down and a guard bars to keep you from falling but the scary effect is still there.
On the castle grounds is a rock close which is a big kids play ground. There were all sorts of trees to climb, caves and tunnels to explore, and bunches of nooks and places to hide. Take a look at this photo of Steph in a neat little hiding place...looks like she is in a rabbit hole. This is Mary posing for a picture after climbing a tree on the grounds. Also see if you can find Steph hiding in the forest. I hit my head on a rock caving without a flash light so I was little gun shy for this part and mainly took pictures. Shame.
After Blarney Castle we stopped at this pub, which if its not Irish I don't know what is, to eat lunch. Then we were off to Kenmare in south west Ireland.
Along the way we stopped off for coffee in the little Irish town of Macroom. This is the only time it rained on us so here is Steph with an umbrella as we walked up to the remains of the castle there. Note that is Murphy's advert painted on the castle wall in the back ground not Guinness. They are rival beers. Oh and here I am with the cannons outside the castle.
Once we arrived in Kenmare, here is a shot of downtown, we checked into the Sheenview B&B and headed out for a night of dinner and Irish music. Believe it or not finding Irish music in Ireland is harder than you would think. We heard John Denver's Country Roads (Country roads, take me home To the place, I be-long, West Virginia, mountain momma Take me home, country roads) multiple times, gees. Plus all of the radio stations played American music! Not cool. Luckily we were able to find a place with locals singing Irish music who even did a Whiskey in the Jar shout out to us Kentuckians! The music is so very entertaining and fun to listen to.
All of our Ireland Day 1 photos are available on Flickr.
The Ring of Beara still to come...