My last day in Ireland was definitely an emotional one. Even then, I decided to cover maximum places I could to make the most of the day. This is the day I understood what the coming days of solo traveling would look like! I walked up to the National Museum of Archaeology, National Gallery of Ireland, Kilmainham Gaol, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Guiness Brewery, and lastly went for shopping at Penneys and at Carrol’s Irish Gifts. I actually got lost that day when I was trying to reach Kilmainham Gaol. And that’s when I plugged in my earphones, started the Rick Steves Audio guide, and listened to Ireland’s history while I walked towards the Gaol (45 minutes walk), which closed down the minute I reached there! ???? I learned a lot about problem-solving, and managing my emotions in times of crisis that day!
For all lucky Harry Potter fans, you may have heard of Warner Brother Studios which has most of the Harry Potter sets and costumes and is just two hours away from the heart of London. For all Titanic fans who have seen the Titanic multiple times, here's the ultimate way for you to express your fandom. Belfast is a small town in Ireland where the Titanic was built. It is small but it is still the largest city and the capital of Northern Ireland. The entire town has remnants of the Titanic ranging from mementos to a small ship making factory to museums dedicated to the Titanic.
On you day trip to Western Cork, the first stop is the historic port-town of Kinsale. In medieval times, the importance of Kinsale to Ireland's political strategy was such, that the neighboring hamlet of Cork, was described as being 'near to Kinsale' - a stark contrast to today's times, when it's exactly the other way round. Charles Fort - a 13th century star-shaped fort built to protect the port of Kinsale from French & Spanish invaders is the prime attraction. The guided tour by a member of the Office for Public Works is hugely informative & entertaining (the fabled Irish wit, yeah?). Much of Kinsale's decline as an important port is attributed to the sandbar in it's harbor. Cork was identified as a natural alternative and the rest, as they say, is history. Kinsale town is a charming little spec of culture and rural bounty. Schedule your trip to Kinsale on a Wednesday and be blessed by the weekly Farmer's Market, held on every Wednesday, right opposite the Tourist Office in town. There's great food, amazing juices, mouth-watering deserts and some absolutely amazing local life to be experienced in this market - do not miss for anything!
Day 9 (Blarney): We went from Kerry to Dublin back this morning via the Blarney Castle. We explored the castle for about a couple of hours, before returning to Dublin's fair city for our farewells and a quiet dinner at the Church bar in the night.Tips:1) Exchange some € and £ for trains/taxis at the local banks in your home country, but there are plenty of official/unofficial money exchange places all over London and Dublin, that offer a much better exchange rate.2) Get a London underground zone 1 and 2 all day pass (£8) every day that you travel within the city. It's the most economical way to explore the city and is valid even on the buses.3) In Dublin, try to book a tour which has airport drop-off/pick-up service. It'll save you €s for bus/taxi.What businesses did I use?Tour to bath and Stonehenge : The English BusTour of Southern Ireland : Paddywagon toursHotel in Dublin: The Townhouse of DublinAirlines : United (KC to London & Dublin to KC) & Aer Lingus (London to Dublin one-way flight)
My personal booty-call from Sligo was the fabled Yeats Society/Center - a homage paid to the legendary Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Located in the city center, the Yeats Society has regular readings and performances of his work. At a little known village nearby - Drumcliffe, lie the remains of this ridiculously talented man! Sligo is also known for its dainty little pubs, that come to life in the evening with some great trad sessions and overflowing craic!
Hurling in Ireland Is that a band of rugged Celtic warriors screaming death cries as they charge at full speed down the battlefield wielding battle clubs? Nope, it’s the game called Hurling and it’s one of Ireland’s national sports. They act like warriors by defending their county or club’s pride and taking on all opponents. One of the fastest sports in the world, there’s lots of action to see at any moment of the game. Jessica and I were lucky enough to get the chance to learn how to play Hurling in Kilkenny. We went with a group to the field and started by learning about the Hurley stick. They’re only made of Ash and from the base of the tree. We started off by learning how to use the Hurley stick and the basic rules of the game. The rules are similar to field hockey, but scoring is a bit different. There is a bar between two poles. Over the bar is one point and under it is three. Luckily, we had plenty of time to get the hang of the game. We had a fun little competition trying to score on our host for the chance to win a free drink. The cool thing is that none of the players get paid. Not like in the NFL or MLB. The clubs normally make enough money on advertising to pay for their expenses and maybe just a bit more. That means that all these guys have a day job and do this on the side. That’s pretty crazy when you find out they might practice 15-20 hours a week during the season along with their normal job, family life, and everything else. They’re just playing for pride and glory and bragging rights all around the country. You always end up hungry after practice and so we headed over to Lanigan’s bar for some Irish stew and the winner got to pour themselves a free pint of Guinness. This is part of the Kilkenny Way Experience where you learn how to play Hurling and get a meal and drink at the pub in town.