Monday, October 5, 2009

County Cork

We went to Blarney Castle!  It was a 20 minute bus ride from Cork City.  We arrived in the morning and the weather was a bit cold.  But we grew warmer as we walked around the beautiful Blarney grounds.  

This is to show how many stairs we climbed to get up to the Blarney Stone!  It was so many stone stairs on that spiral staircase.  I was getting a bit worried towards the end because the staircase narrowed.  

Getting ready to kiss the Blarney Stone!!!

The man's job here was to hold onto my waist so I wouldn't fall to my death whilst attempting to pucker up.  He did quite a nice job and asked me, "Let's see how she kisses in the morning?"  

You probably have a hard time seeing but I'm kissing the Blarney Stone!  My lips are just beside the guy's head on the right side:)

Mom, this picture is for you!  It's a giant rock resting on another one.  I bet it'd look great in our yard but I'm not exactly sure how we'd get it back to Iowa.

This is the grave of Nano Nagle.  She was a nun who did many great things in the 18th century, especially with schools for children.  We found it by accident.  While in Cork City we were wandering around looking for a great second hand shop that was in Erika's Ireland book.  We looked and looked and finally a nice man asked us if he could help us (we obviously were lost).  It turns out that the shop had gone out of business, but we were right where it should have been.  He talked to us for 20 minutes telling us the things we should see.  We ended up visiting Nano Nagle's grave which was situated in a beautiful garden.  

Here's me in the garden smelling the beautiful flowers:)

We listened to some folk singers in the downtown!  I think these people were Russian or something because the language was not Gaelic.  It was such a fun kind of music to listen to, really happy!

On Sunday we went to Kinsale!  It was the most gorgeous town I have visited so far!  It's a cute fishing village south of Cork City.  We took a walking tour with this man.  He had graduated from University College Dublin with (surprise, surprise) a degree in history.  He knew so many stories and facts about Kinsale.  

This is the main street of Kinsale.  We walked all over to see historic houses that lover's had bought for their significant other.  One time it worked and the other it didn't.  We saw statues of explorers, an old stagecoach house, the oldest pub in Kinsale (from the 17th century), and the house where a giant eight foot tall man lived.  

This is the fort that was built by the Normans at Kinsale.  We hiked up to a hill to see it.  All in all, it was an amazing weekend!  There were 14 of us who came to see Cork and stayed in the hostel.  In our spare time we heard music at the Folk Festival events in downtown.  Each night we went out to several pubs who had live music.  Friday night featured very traditional Irish folk music.  There was a wooden fllute, a guitar, and other instruments that I did not recognize.  I think they were traditional Irish instruments.  On Saturday night we saw a country-like Irish band.  They played Irish songs mixed in with American hits.  The band was on a stage and all of us were down on the floor dancing around.  After they finished we went to another pub to hear a woman folk artist.  She was really good!  She had a really strong singing voice.  We didn't stay there long though, because we were packed like sardines in a can in that tiny pub.  I am looking forward to staying in and around Dublin this weekend.  I think we'll go to Howth to check it out!

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