Bright and early this morning we headed out to travel to Cork, the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. As we made our way out of Dublin, Allie shared even more interesting tidbits about the location where we spent our first few days. One of the most surprising things I learned was that Dublin was originally founded by the vikings, who came to conquer Irish monasteries and steal the valuable artwork they housed.
We also learned that there are 32 counties in the country. In one day, we hit four of them— County Dublin, County Kildare, County Tipperary and County Cork!
In County Kildare, we stopped to see the Irish National Stud Farm grounds and gardens. It was interesting to learn about the thoroughbred breeding and get the chance to see the horses up close. The grounds were gorgeous, with plenty of open space for the foals, mares, prized stallions and retired racehorses to enjoy themselves. Some of the most succesful stallions have a breeding fee of up to 70,000 euros—can you believe that?
After a short drive to County Tipperary, we arrived at the Rock of Cashel. Though it sounds like it would be one giant rock, it’s actually a group of five stone buildings atop a hill. A local expert led us through all of the buildings while sharing its history as a seat of ancient kings before the Norman invasion, then as an important Christian site in the 12th century.
The 13th century gothic cathedral and round tower were incredible.
The ruins of the archbishop’s residence were also amazing—the large rock you can see in the foreground actually fell off the corner of the building during a storm.
Later, we arrived in the port city of Cork for the evening. The city center itself is on an island, surrounded by many waterways and hills. It earned the nickname the “rebel city” since its residents supported the English cause years ago and its people remain very proud today.
Have you explored the counties of Ireland? Tell us about it in the comments!