Friday, March 4, 2011

Reunited: Part I

This post is (so) long overdue. I find that the more I do, the less energy I have to write about it here because I know I could easily write pages (is that possible in a blog?) and pages. I want to thoroughly document my experience here, but I'm usually short on time or energy, so the more it builds up the less motivated I am to try to cram it all into one big post. I did make an effort, though, to write about this a few weeks ago, which is why the timestamp on this was originally February 21st. Anyway, let me at least cover one of the two big adventures since my last post: Becca's visit.

It's been about month since this happened so forgive me for leaving out little details I no longer remember. My roommate from home, Becca, is studying abroad in Maynooth, Ireland, a little town outside of Dublin. She came down for a weekend in February just for a change of scene and to see the south.

I picked her up at the bus station Friday night and was thrilled to see her through the bus windows. It was so nice to see a familiar face! We spent the night hanging out and catching up until about 3 a.m., only to get up early the next morning for a bus to Blarney. Becca really wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone, and I was more than happy to go back to the little village. We had great weather for it too (Look at the picture above...yet another picture-perfect shot from the top of the castle). The sun was shining and the skies were clear -- weather Becca said she hadn't had up north yet. She kissed the stone (she'll probably kill me for posting the picture of it. But honestly, Bec, no one takes a good Blarney Stone's just not a good angle.) and we walked around the grounds for bit, taking pictures of the poison garden (of which I still don't understand the significance). Crocuses (purple and yellow ones at that -- yay SMC!) were starting to peek through the ground, and it was nice to see that sign of spring. We ended our tour of Blarney in the Woollen Mills across the street. Some of the stuff they have there is really nice, but I'm holding out for my trip to the Aran Islands for a sweater or something!

After Blarney, we took the bus back to Cork, where we got lunch in the English Market and changed buses to head to Kinsale. I had wanted to go to Kinsale for a while, it being the home of a Desmond Castle (now an international wine museum!), one of a few scattered throughout the country. We weren't even looking for it when we ran into it in the middle of town. I think we spent more time there than anywhere else, even though the museum is closed until April. We took a lot of pictures; well, Becca took a lot of pictures of me posing next to/on/in the castle. It's actually a really tiny castle, more like an old apartment building. Still, we share a name and maybe even some history, though we haven't been able to trace my roots back quite that far. The picture to the left doesn't really show its size, but it's one of the shots of the castle. And below is the nearby Desmond House B&B.

Kinsale's a great little town, a little like Boothbay Harbor, ME or something. We had fish and chips at Fishy Fishy Cafe, the eatery recommended by the Lonely Planet guide Becca and I both have. After that we walked around a little, trying to cram in as much as possible before the now-gloomy sky opened up. We came across a little bookshop (the Irish children's book section was a nice find -- I confirmed that I'm actually learning some things in Irish by reading a picture book) and an art gallery that I loved. I bought a really nice painted card with the UCC quad on it. Then it started to rain, though, so we caught the next bus back to Cork for an evening in my apartment. We started to watch a movie and ended up falling asleep about 10 minutes into it.

The next morning we attempted to find a church with an early Mass since Becca had to leave at 11. We wandered around a side of Cork I never really go to, and we never found what we were looking for. We did get to see the grounds of Finbarr's, though, even though we didn't go inside. We made it to the bus stop on time, and we said our goodbyes. Luckily, Paris was just around the corner, so we had that to look forward to.

...But that's another story, one with lots of pictures (over 400 -- I was only there for 48 hours!) and a few stories to accompany it.

For now, I should get ready for bed. Up early for Kerry and Killarney tomorrow! Pray for clear skies and warm temps!

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