As I wrote in my last post, I was so sad to leave the city that I had called my home. But despite all of my attempts, I left my flat, tears in my eyes, and headed to the airport. The tears didn’t stop until I looked out my window and saw my new home for the next month. Next up: Ireland!
I landed in Cork on Thursday, May 4th. As sad as I was to be leaving the city that I had called my home for so long, the moment I touched down in Ireland, I could tell this was going to be a home for me as well.
My first couple of days in Cork were spent wandering around Cork city, meeting all of Tori’s friends, and trying not to bother her as she studies for her last finals.
On Tuesday, May 9th, I woke up early, missed my first bus, and then waited for the next bus to Limerick city! My time in Limerick was short, but good. I got into the city around noontime, and spent most of my time there touring King John’s Castle.
Tipperary and Clare
The same day, I was to meet my long (REALLY long) time family friend, Father Ted O’Rielly (he can also be referred to as The Mad Monk or Father Nightmare by my grandmother). It was first communion season so it was great that I got to see him during such a busy time. We spent most of our day driving around the countryside of County Tipperary and County Clare. We drove up a big mountain, where, despite the fog, we were able to see nearly seven counties. Our day continued with a tour along the lake, and dinner beside the water.
On Thursday, May 11th, Tori and I woke up as early as we could, and caught the first bus out from Cork City Center to Kinsale! Now if you know me, you’ll know that I go to school at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Kinsale, Ireland happens to be the “sister city” to Newport, Rhode Island! A sister city is a “twin town” that is formed between some sort of legal or social agreement in the two towns. We walked around a bit until we came to The White House Pub, which had a sign on the outside for Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. We walked in, talked to the bartender, and signed to guest book, which was filled with the names of other Newport residents who visited Kinsale. Tori and I have made it our new mission to find the guest book in Newport for Kinsale! Kinsale was beautiful to say the least. We walked around in awe for a few hours and then made our way to Charles Fort so we could incorporate some education into our trip.
My next trip was to blarney, and what an amazing trip it was. I swear the gardens around Blarney Castle were some of the most amazing I have seen in my entire life. I spent about four hours just wandering around the gardens, but I still don’t think that it was enough time! I think I could spend the rest of my life there and be happy! I wandered around the castle, explored the caves, and saw Ireland’s only poisonous garden,
which featured plants including wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin, opium, and cannabis. Eventually, it was time to climb the castle. If you know me, and if you’re still reading my posts at this point I assume that most of you do, you’ll know that I am terrified of heights. The fear is so great, that just climbing the narrow stairs of the castle made my stomach turn. Once I reached the top, and believe me, it did take a while as I was clinging onto the wall walking one toe at a time, I walked over to the not-so-long line of people, assuming that was where I needed to be. Once it was my turn, I looked down, and saw a big gab in the floor, which reveled a 90-foot drop. As you can imagine, my initial reaction was something along the lines of, “Nope”, “Not a chance in hell”, “You’ve got to be kidding me”, or some combination of that. But after about ten minutes of holding up the line and panicking, the man working convinced me to do it. So I sat down (shaking), leaned back into the hole (still shaking), and kissed the Blarney Stone. So now, according to Irish legend, I have the gift of eloquence.
Dublin pt. 1
Lucky for me, there are not many place I go without finding a friend. Even luckier, when in Ireland, most of those friends also happen to be family! My cousin, Biz, who had been living in Dublin for the past year, was a Godsend to me on this trip to Ireland. She put up with my confusion and frustration over flights, dates, and tours. She let me invade her home, store my bags, and sleep at her house. She introduced me to her friends, made me Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the morning, and an absolute joy to see! We are both looking forward to the Curtin Family Reunion in July, where we get to share both of our adventure stories with our family. Thank you Biz, and see you soon!
Bus Tour 1
My first days in Dublin were spent, for the most part, with my friend Abbie and her sister Emily. This was especially exciting for me, because Abbie and I had met in London in our study abroad program. Over the past few months Abbie has become one of my very best friends, so saying goodbye to her was not easy. Getting to see each other so soon after our first goodbye put my “see you later” into perspective. When I first got to London, I didn’t know a single person. When I left London,
I left with amazing memories, friends all over the world, and some of the best friends that I have ever had. As my friend Mikayla puts it, “It would be so dumb for us not to be friends after this! I mean think about it, ‘Oh wow remember that amazing time I had with those people I don’t talk to anymore?’ You can’t recreate what we went through!” And Mikayla was right. Seeing one of those great friends so soon after made us both realize that it really wasn’t goodbye; we realized just how “easy” it is to hop on a plane, drive hours in a car, update the group message, and share on Facebook!
While in Dublin, we did as the Dubliners do: we ate, we drank, we danced, and it was all great craic! The highlights of our time in Dublin were barhopping throughout the Temple Bar District, touring the churches of the city, the Literary Pub Crawl (where we were the youngest by at least 20 years), and our guided tour of the Jameson Distillery (although I’m not sure which was funnier, watching Abbie cringe at the taste of whiskey, or how we must’ve looked walking out after our complimentary drinks!)
A few days later, we met up with another London friend, who is actually our German mama, Steffi! Like I said, I am so lucky enough to have such great friends living all over the country and all over the world. So watch out Steffi, because the next trip we’re all saving up for is to Munich, Germany!
So after another night of barhopping, this time with our whole gang together, we woke up bright and early for a bus tour to Kinvara, The Cliffs of Mohr, the Burren, and Galway! I wish that I could put into words how amazing the cliffs were, but it truly is impossible. My best advice: go see for yourself, or try to stare at my pictures long enough to try and get a feel for it. Absolutely breathtaking, and absolutely terrifying.
When the day was over, we all said goodbye (again), but thankfully we were all too tired to cry.
Bus Tour 2
If you know me, then you might know my housemate, Tori. If you know Tori, you’ll know that she’s great. But if you know me, and you know Tori, you’ll know that she is often very sick of me and the chaos that seems to follow me. And if you know Tori, she will tell you that this is often heightened on bus tours. We woke up bright and early and made our way to the Ring of Kerry for the day! Although it rained the entire day and we were (again) the youngest on our tour by 40 years, we had a blast! We had a great time all day, but it was a VERY long day. Apparently, whenever Tori tried to take pictures around Kerry, whenever she looked back at the pictures, I always managed to get in the pictures and ruin the view. So with only two hours left in our tour, it was understandable when Tori yelled, “Oh my God Kerry!! Can you not be in just one photo?!”
I was so excited to go to Kerry because I figured that when I told people, “Yeah my name is Kerry…” they would be like, “Wow! Your name is Kerry? That’s so cool and Irish!” This was not the case. My name isn’t so much a very Irish “name” but more of a very Irish “word”. So when I told people “My name is Kerry,” most people responded, “Kerry…? Like…County Kerry?”, “What? That’s your name??”, and my personal favorite, “Your name is Kerry? Well you parents could’ve just as well named you Dingle now could’ve they?!”
Despite the rain, Kerry was one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to (the little that I saw of it at least!)
Dublin pt. 2
My next stop was back up to Dublin (I know, I know, it was poorly planned and I was literally all over the country). This trip would be shorter than the last, but no less fun! Steffi and I met up again one last time for more tours of Dublin, last minute souvenir shopping, our last Dublin pub crawls (for now), and a tour of the Guinness Factory! Disclaimer on my “Perfectly Poured Pint” certification: the teachers made me go first, so naturally I messed it up on my first try (eventually I got the hang of things, so if anyone needs a “Perfectly Poured Pint” of Guinness, hit me up!)
Later that night, I was able to meet up with my cousin Marie for dinner, and grab drinks with Biz and her friends one last time.
The next morning I was off to Shannon to catch a flight into London to connect me to New York. My trip to Ireland didn’t feel at all like my other trips, in the sense that it truly didn’t feel like a vacation, it felt like I was coming home (just as it felt that I was leaving home!). Although I was there for almost a month, I didn’t spent nearly enough time or see everything I needed to see. So watch out Ireland, because I’m not quite finished with you let.
I’ll be back!!