It’s 9 a.m. here and while I should be getting ready for class I’m just way too excited to start this post. Quick UCD update: In hopes of meeting more students at UCD, we all decided to join some of the school’s clubs and societies that they offer. There’s some really cool options for students including wind surfing, mountaineering, and judo. I didn’t choose any of those. But I did join the boxing club (after they promised I didn’t have to compete if I didn’t want to). I also joined the Saint Vincent Di Paul volunteer club, and the music society. The music society kind of creates a network for musicians at the school and also holds open mic nights and provides vocal workshops. Can’t wait till they start up.
But anyway on to the fun stuff. Saturday morning Josie, Ashley and I headed off to Kinsale in Co Cork. I don’t even think words can describe how much I love this place. We arrived at our hostel Saturday afternoon and it was comedically terrible. We all sat in the room and laughed for ten minutes about our beds and the smell of the hostel and then decided we might as well get out of there and start exploring. We found Jim Edwards (thanks Karen) and grabbed lunch. Because it was so early we decided to walk around for a bit, but none of us were prepared for the rain and ended up soaking wet and seeking refuge in a little chocolate shop called Koko. We asked about a bar I had read about online… turns out it’s been closed for ten years.. not embarrassing at all. While we were using the man’s store as our protection from the rain, we figured we’d have to buy chocolate.. it’s the polite thing to do right? So Ashley and I bought “chocolate shots”: literally liquid milk chocolate in a shot glass. Clearly that was the official start to our fantastic night.
Since the owner of the chocolate store couldn’t figure out which pub we were looking for, (awkward) he suggested we go to the Greyhound. Mostly because they had fireplaces and we could warm up and dry off from the rainy weather. We headed over there, but didn’t take the France Vs England Rugby match into account and walked into and incredibly crowded pub. Just as we were about to leave due to a lack of places to sit, a group offered to share their table and as awkward as we felt at first, I am so glad we decided to stay. Our table-mates turned out to be a lot of fun. A comedian from Galway named Breda Larkin and a drummer in a local reggae band called Karma Parking from Zimbabwe named Jono. Jono’s been living in Ireland for almost 13 years and because we clearly had no idea what we were doing still searching for a bar from 10 years ago, he helped us out. He brought us to a pub called Seanachai where he literally knew everyone. It’s just like when you walk into a bar dad, except when he walks in the reaction from the bartenders is a little more welcoming than “shit he’s here, hide the scotch.” 😉 We made friends with the wonderfully gay surfer bartender Dale and the dreadlocked co-owner of the bar, Danny. We listened to Danny and Jono add a bit of a reggae sound to some Irish trad music with their drums and then danced to a reggae DJ until the bar closed. Then we got to hang out with a bunch of the bartenders and local people in Danny’s apartment above the bar. It was one of the first times we didn’t feel like the tourists that we are!
We woke up the next morning not even a little bit hungover (I swear Kinsale is magic) and decided to explore. The weather was so perfect: enough rain to make a few rainbows, and then sunny for the rest of the day. We made our way to Charles Fort and the views on our mile and a half walk were like looking at a 3-D postcard:
We still had some time before our bus came to take us away so we did some more exploring of the town. Here’s some pics from Saturday’s rainy exploring and Sunday’s sunny exploring:
On our way back we took a detour from Cork city center and found Blarney Castle. I wish we had more time to explore but we had to catch the last bus out of Cork at 6 so we had just enough time to kiss the stone!
The past few days have been so much fun. After a long day of classes, the rest of today will be spent catching up with some long lost sleep. Thank you so so much Karen, Torker, Ceil, and Ted for contributing to the “Nellie can’t afford to buy pints in Ireland” fund. It was put to great use this weekend!!! Hope everyone at home enjoyed their super bowl Sunday! How amazing was Bruno Mars?!
Until next time!