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)
The best part about Killarney National Park, outside of it's abundant natural beauty of course, is the existence of charming horse-drawn buggies! A mode of transport long extinct in most parts of the world, it can be experienced in abundance while exploring the National Park! Dominated primarily by its three lakes - Lough Leane, Muckross Lake & the Upper Lake, the National Park is more than 10000 hectares of pure relentless natural beauty. Reserve at least one whole day to explore at leisure!
Schull is where we stopped and decided to take a stroll around the town. The first impulsive shop we entered was a friendly jeweler's. He embarked upon a storytelling session about how the shop was found by his great grandfather who happened to spend several years in undivided India, in Lahore, which incidentally is now part of Pakistan! We then dove into another adorable little shop which was selling priceless souvenirs. I bought a few bookmarks that were impossible to ignore and decided to move on to our next stop!