We’ve all heard that Irish weather is unpredictable—I didn’t fully grasp what this meant until the past few days of experiencing it! You need to be ready for either sun or rain every day, no matter what the weather report says. Today I went back and forth between sunglasses and my umbrella more times than I can count—luckily the showers only lasted for a few minutes, then it was right back to sun.
The day began with a visit to the charming little city called Cobh. I loved the colorful houses lining the main street.
At the Cobh Heritage Center, we learned the history of the port, which was once called Queenstown. A huge departure point for emigrants, Cobh was the final stop of the Titanic before it set out on its disastrous maiden voyage. The exhibition also brought to light the conditions on board a ship in the 1800s and also the reasons why so many Irish emigrated during that time.
Then it was off to the village of Blarney, where we explored the famous castle, built about six hundred years ago by an Irish chieftan.
We climbed the winding stone staircases to the top to see the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that those who kiss the stone will gain the gift of Irish eloquence. Visitors have to lay down, hold on to some rails and lean back to kiss the stone. Some brave travelers—including me!—were up to the task. Afterward, it was great to take in the views from atop the castle and wander the beautiful greenery around it.
This afternoon, we made our way through the countryside to County Kerry. When we arrived in Killarney, our Tour Director Allie had organized a special jaunting car tour for us through Killarney National Park.
The jaunting car is a horse-drawn carriage and its drivers, called jarveys, are full of Irish wit. Our jarvey pointed out all the incredible scenery and wildlife as we rode through the park, and he never missed the chance to crack a joke. (Especially one about me, since I was sitting up front with him!)
This evening after a hearty dinner, we listened to some locals playing traditional music over a few pints. We saw so much today, and I can’t wait to see even more on tomorrow’s scenic Ring of Kerry drive.
Have you explored the counties of Ireland? Tell us about it in the comments!