Daily Posts from Ireland
Day 14 Last day in Ireland spent in Swords - May 29. Day 15 Morning flight back home to Hilo - May 30.
This was a bitter sweet and sad morning as my friends and I realized that we only had less then 24 hour left in Ireland. We spent our last morning in Kilkenny making our last shopping rounds about the town. As my friends and I walked by shops I spotted a candy shop and in the window I saw Wonka Bars. I was so excited! I had to get one and couldn't stop saying "I've got a golden ticket!". I felt like Charlie as he bought his very our Wonka bar. My two friends can witness to that, haha! This made my day. After meeting back with the group at the hostel we traveled to the train station to head to Dublin and then Swords. That is just outside of Dublin a 30 minute car ride. Our last night in Ireland was spent having a nice dinner as a group reminiscing about the moments we spent together and one's we won't forget. It was a fun time! I believe everyone went to bed early to get ready for the three plane rides back home to the Big Island. The sleep felt so good! Morning came and we all were moving slowly from the lobby to the van to carry us to the Dublin Airport. I could feel how sad everyone was. I did not want this trip to end... but I was time to go home. We got to the airport and said our goodbye's to Mela, who was staying back to traveling around Europe with her family. Lucky dog! Haha. This trip was such an amazing experience for me and I know for my two childhood friends as well. I felt I've gotten closer to them and I would love to travel with the both of them again. Goodbye Ireland! I so enjoyed your friendly people, beautiful landscapes, your wild Atlantic sea and your amazing history. I can't wait to travel again!
Day 13 Dunmore Cave & afternoon stroll in the woods. Followed by a great last dinner in Kilkenny - May 28.
This was our last day in Kilkenny. We started our day with a tradional home cooked Irish breakfast and finished around noon. Then we made our way to Dunmore cave. This cave reminded me a lot of Volcano National Park cave back home on the Big Island. The story goes of Vikings who chased Irish villagers into the cave and who died by the flames and smoke the Vikings lite to try and force them out. The cave was like a fairy tale, I could see why Europe has many leagues and myths. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing or shopping. My friends and I went to Papa John's to get some pizza for lunch and walked back to the hostel to eat and rest. It was fun! We had seen lots of different European ethnicities that were staying there as well. Later in the evening the whole group of us went for a nice nature walk in the park and woods to do more site seeing. Ireland's weather this day was beginning to warm up. I regretted wearing so much layers. We saw lots of dog owners having a evening walk and my friend, Felicia, could not resist to pet them and snap a few photos too. That was too funny! We also saw a lot of hen parties, I had no idea what that was until that nice. Haha, seeing all these bridal shower groups of women walking around all dressed up like Jersey Shore women. That was so weird! On the week day nights it quiet but come Saturday night and it's a party town in Kilkenny. Our last night in Kilkenny we eat at a sweet little restaurant called Petronella. Named after a woman who was a servant of an accused witch, Alice Kyeler, but Petronella was buried at the stake instead and this was the first witch killing in Europe. Despite the sad story the food here was so good and the owners were so friendly.
Our group got off to a later start, 11am because the week before we had been going to sleep at 2-3am and get up at 7am but now we have been going at a more lenient paste. It was really nice! We walked from the hostel not too far down the road to St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower, one of only two medieval towers in Ireland that can be climbed. It was so amazing to climb up the stairs and to think what the priests and monks had to do to hide from vikings and other invaders. The view from the tower was unbelievable! We could see the whole town of Kilkenny. After this we viewed the inside of the cathedral. I saw tombs that have been there probably for 100 plus years and beautiful stained glass windows of scenes from the bible. Taking a nice stroll though Kilkenny town to Kilkenny Castle, named one of the best castles in Europe. The inside was remodeled in the Victorian era. My friends and I could not image how people in these times could live like this. The castle seemed to be right out of a fairy tale like beauty and the beast. We walked outside to the stunning court yard with a big fountain. Looking at the castle from this side was spectacular! Now I know I am in Europe! So much history...
After we had breakfast at our hotel, Camden Courts, in Dublin. We walked to the natural museum, which is called the dead zoo. We looked at taxidermist animals from Ireland and around the world. It was a site to see! It was like stepping back in time to the early 1800's where science was at its prime. After looking around Dublin my friends and I headed back to the hotel to meet the rest of of group. We made our way by taxi to the train station. This was my first time in a train! We traveled an hour to a town called Kilkenny. This will be our home base until May 28.
This was a sad day for us all. We were leaving the Atlantic Aparthotel in Donegal that we called home for a week. We said farewell to owner John. We had such a fun time with! John was with us the whole time going on the tour with us and telling us great facts about the places we went to. Thank you John for giving us a great Irish experience! From there we headed off to Dublin. We arrived a couples hours later and walked to the Natural Museum of Ireland - Archaeology. Where we viewed the bog bodies from 400 A.D. and jewelry lost and persevered in Ireland's bogs. This was an amazing site to witness! After this we had free time to go shopping. I was so happy I found and bought a wildlife book of Ireland and Britain. That I have been searching for. My two friends could not stop laughunijh because I was and am still intrigued with. It's a beautiful wildlife book!
We woke up early to drive to the Giants Causeway. This site is a geological wonder! A volcanic result of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns right next to the Atlantic sea. Every step is shaped exactly like a hexagon. There is a Gaelic folklore to this magical place. It was said that a giant, Finn McCool, created the steps. Battling with his rival another giant from Scotland. This place is so beautiful! The fog was hovering over the coast while we walked closer to the Causeway. We saw Humphrey the camel shaped rock, a friend of Finn and his boot as well floating in Portnaboe bay. When we got to the Causeway I spent most of my time by myself walking around. Observing and thinking of this amazing natural structure. God is so amazing! It was if he carved the steps of the mountain. I prayed to God when I put my quarter in the wishing wall. This was a special moment, I though of my dad and family as I walked on the steps. Looking at the cute flowery plant life that grew in the rocks. After spending a couple hours at Giants Causeway we went off to Derry. To view the local mural art of Bloody Sunday from the perspective of people who grew up and witnessed these sad events. The Irish against the British for civil rights. It was a heart felt moment and we got to meet the artists themselves. The 3 of them grew up right there in Derry and told us their stories of the events that were occurring in the 1970's. They made it a point for us to know the murals were of historical meaning to tell the stories of the people who went through Bloody Sunday. This was not about choosing sides, Catholic or Protestant. We ended our last night in Donegal singing Irish favorite songs with Niamh in the pub. It was a hoot!
Today was a fun activity day. The group had a choice between high ropes, kayaking or horse back riding. I choose to go kayaking on lake Marvin. We geared up again in thick wet suits and additional vests and helmets. The view from the lake was amazing! We saw Drumcliffe mountain and farm lands with sheeps. We paddled a little ways down the lake and through reeds in the water. The sun stayed out for all of the afternoon. I enjoyed it! But wish we relaxed more on the lake, less paddling more viewing. Highlight of the day was seeing big wave surfer, Richie Fitzgerald. We had no idea he was in his surf shop in Donegal town and a few of us got a group photo with him. I am star struck! He was so friendly and nice, talking to us. So cool! At dinner we went down the road to La Sabbia. Where we ate free range and farm to table meals. I had the roast beef with mash potatoes. That was really yummy!
Our surf spot - Tullan Strand
We all woke up a bit later then usual from last nights parting (for most, hehe) and had a yummy traditional Irish breakfast. Before we got wet suited up to go surfing in the cold but beautiful wild Atlantic Ocean. Our wet suits were 5 millimeters thick and everyone's feet were covered with booties. We were all pretty warm. The Atlantic wasn't super cold as I thought it was going to be but I know the wet suits helped a lot to keep us warm. It was refreshing! The whole time when I was wading in the water I was thinking of my dad, who was a true soul surfer. I was so glad I caught a few waves for him and I know he would have been so happy for me. I enjoyed playing in the water! After I headed back to the beach to put my board down, I later on the sand for a minute then ran back to the water. It was a freeing feeling, I love it! The rest our the afternoon my two roomies and I slept in until dinner time. I ate a delicious Irish stew and after eating went to the movie theater to watch a great documentary movie called Waveriders. That made me think more of my dad. So many great memories to connect with the tradition of surfing. That is my link to the life style though my dad and being from Hawaii.
In the morning Niamh talked about Irish history and about the poet from Sligo County, W.B. Yeats. We left our hotel in Bundoran to site see in Sligo town. Our group walked around Drumcliffe cemetery the barrel place of W.B. Yeats with a beautiful view of Drumcliffe mountain. My two friends and I ate lunch on the river side and after 3 hours of shopping around Sligo, our last destination was Glencar. Where a beautiful waterfall flows and the whole group try ice cream at that exact spot called "99". This was a great day! I felt like our Hawaii group and Michigan (delta college) group was more friendly.
ABOVE: Glencolmcille - Traditional Irish Village
BELOW: Sliabh Liag Cliffs in the rain
We started the day with a short lecture on Ireland's history. Which was really interesting to hear about the Irish immigrants and Ireland's connection to America and Canada as well. My great great grandfather was one of the millions of people to leave Ireland in the time of the famine to Canada. After the speech we hoped on the bus to Glencolmcille museum of a traditional Irish village. The houses were original, just restored to show how they would have looked like in the 1800's. A wee bit later when the souvenir shopping was finished. We drove further up the road to see the Sliabh Liag cliffs. It was raining heavily the whole time we were there. My friends and I walked the mile to cliffs in the rain viewing sheep grazing on the cliffs slopes. It was amazing!