Day 8-11: On Top of the World

"I can see the rolling fields of green and fences made of stone. I am reaching out, won't you take my hand... I'm coming home, Ireland" - Garth Brooks Ireland 

I felt like I was on top of the world!

I can't even describe how amazing it was. I have always wanted to visit Ireland for several reasons: I am Irish by heritage, green is my favorite color and every picture I have ever seen just makes me drool. When my London trip became official, I knew Ireland had to be a small part of the trip. I planned a 2 day bus tour hitting the major sites with 2 days of travel there and back. I went for the full European travel experience by staying in a hostel, only carrying my backpack and eating as cheap as possible. Overall the experience was amazing. There were ups and downs but everything was worth it to see the rolling fields of green and fences made of stone.

We arrived in Dublin around 7pm after a train and ferry ride from London. We had a nice dinner, did some shopping and then hit the sack in preparation for our bus tour. Day one of our tour was to see the famous Blarney Castle. On the way there we also stopped in the port city of Cobh, famous as the final port of call for the doomed Titanic. This was such a cute city and features the third deepest port in the world. Given that I had family who went down with the Titanic, this was rather moving for me. Next was the main event....

Blarney Castle did not disappoint. The grounds were immaculate and stunningly landscaped. You walk through a grove of trees before it clears and the castle looms above you in an intimidating feat of raw beauty. It was breathtaking. We took a million pictures before climbing up the winding, tiny, ancient spiral staircases to the top. The view was amazing and you could see for miles. We waited in line before laying on our backs and hanging down in a hole at the top of the castle to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. It is said that one kiss to the stone gives you the "gift of eloquence" for 7 years. (sorry Zac, I will talk even more now). After some further exploration of the grounds, we found the Poison Garden which features a variety of poisonous plants including Mandrakes and Wolfsbane..... if you have read Harry Potter you will recognize those plants. Pretty cool. I wish we had more time to explore but just to see it was worth it. Our second night was in a cute little hostel in the city of Cork. 

Kissing the stone!
What a view!
Not your average flowers...

Day two of the tour took us to the mystical Cliffs of Moher. First our guide took us to the Mini Cliffs to see the former Coral Reef that is now exposed and features a strange rock face. That was just a warm up. After a quick lunch in the small city of Doolin, we were on our way to the Ciffs of Moher. Breathtaking is about the only word to describe it. Words do not have enough effect so I am just going to let the pictures do the talking. By far the most beautiful place I have ever seen. 

On top of the world!

Our last stop was Bunratty Castle and we only had enough time to take some pictures and use the toilet at Durty Nellies, the oldest pub in Ireland. Then it was back to Dublin for one more night and then back to London this morning. Our train was delayed on the way home due to a fatality on the track.... That was a sad and bizarre experience and we made it home 2 hours later then expected. Granted, that was the biggest hiccup in the trip so I can't complain considering it was my first trip abroad planned 100% by myself. 

It was an amazing trip overall. I am so glad to have seen the home of my ancestors finally after years of yearning. I can cross one more thing off my bucket list thanks to this trip and I know I will be back someday... it's the kind of place you could never stay away from. 
Ireland.... Until next time

No comments