Tomorrow my sister leaves for a mission trip in South America, and the day after that, I leave for Ireland. Kevin has been very patient while I rearrange my piles of clothes.
Right now, we’re both out on the patio, enjoying an unusually lovely Pacific Northwest evening. No breeze, clear skies, cool but not cold. He’s reading and I’m going through my Lonely Planet guidebook, finding more fun things to do on the weekends. My first weekend abroad will be spent navigating Cork and preparing for (gulp) work, but after that, I’ll have nine weekends, which will hopefully allow for a dozen or so excursions. I’m looking at the Bus Eirann site right now to try to figure out exactly how far I can get in a day.
So far, I’ve found some pretty cool things to try:
-Blarney Castle, although I won’t be trying to kiss the Blarney Stone. Apparently you have to perform some sort of very perilous backwards-bend over a bar, and then attempt to kiss a rock that’s been kissed by millions of visitors. Not worth it.
-Youghal, a beach town less than an hour from Cork, which has two beaches, a defensive riverfront castle, and a 12th-century church.
-Clonakilty, which has a Saturday farmer’s market and an ancient ring fort.
-Clear Island will be a challenge for me, because it’s one of the few places in Ireland that still speaks Gaelic (or Gaeltacht, according to Lonely Planet). It’s wild and full of birds and oh yes, it has a castle.
Has anyone been to Ireland before? Do you have tips for using public transportation? Recommendations of places I should try to visit? Shady streets I ought to avoid (very important, especially since I just watched “Taken” today)? Let me know!