Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Home is wherever I'm with you."

As promised, here is an update on the Ring of Kerry trip I took this past weekend. However, please understand that the ONLY reason I am doing this now is because I am in the middle of writing a paper for my journalism class and am at a major roadblock. Alas, the blogging shall begin in hopes that my creative juices will be flowing by the end of this post. One can only hope, right?

After my economics class on Friday I came back to pack for my weekend trip down to South Kerry. I met my friend Anthony for tea (only in Ireland do guys ask you to tea instead of for drinks haha) and then left at about 3pm to begin our trip down the coast. At first I was pretty skeptical about going on the trip with my friends because it was really expensive and I thought we could have done it for cheaper had we gone by ourselves. But it was completely worth it. I had no idea that this weekend would be so incredibly beautiful; I'm so glad I wound up going with this group!

We got to our hotel around 6pm after a few stops along the way. We checked into our room and it was gorgeous! It really is nice to treat yourself to a hotel instead of a hostel once in a while. I roomed with my friends Vanessa and Sharon from UL which worked out really well. It was nice because for one flat fee, everything for the weekend was included. Transportation, accommodation, meals, admission fees, entertainment, etc. We had dinner at 7, and it was so delicious. It was great not to have to cook for myself! And when I say "cook" I mean cereal, PB&J and soup haha. After dinner we heard from a local speaker who lives in South Kerry and is a farmer. It was interesting to hear about how different life is in Ireland compared to the U.S. We all took part in some Céilí Dancing after which was great craic. This was only my second time but it proved to be just as hilarious as the first time. I actually have learned a few steps so I'm excited to be able to show my friends back home!

We all hung out for a little while after and then headed off to bed. We woke up Saturday morning for breakfast at 8:30am (early, but definitely worth it) and headed to the Skellig Ring Tour. We saw the most beautiful scenery I've ever encountered down in South Kerry. We visited Valentia Island, completed a Hilltop Walk (and boy, do they mean it!), went to the Skellig Experience Centre, St. Finian's Bay as well as Ballinskelligs Beach & Castle. It was an awesome day :-)

After this jammed packed afternoon, Vanessa, Sharon and I headed into town to browse the stores and see some more sites. It was a great little town with a beautiful Church (O'Connell) and of course, about 8 or 9 pubs. Hey, I'm not complaining :-)

We back to the hotel at around 7pm for dinner, which was, once again, fantastic. It was really fun to meet some more girls from UL as well. After dinner we heard from another speaker about Gaelic Football. He was hilarious and brought his two younger sons (probably about 8 and 10) to demonstrate how to play. It's such a neat game! I can definitely see the appeal. A bunch of us headed out afterwards and grabbed a pint and played a Table Quiz (the equivalent to a trivia night). Our team didn't do so hot but it was really enjoyable. My dad would have been so disappointed though because I got a James Bond questions wrong! Sigh...sorry I let you down again dad. That's twice in two weeks, jeez!

We woke up Sunday morning for another early breakfast at 8:30am and then headed out do a walking tour of Cahersiveen and visited two ancient stone forts. We walked for ages but it was a beautiful morning so no one minded (except those that didn't come home until 4am...stinks for them). On the way we ran into a farmer who let us hold his baby lambs that were JUST born the night before. It was positively magical.

We continued on our way to the stone forts and Cahersiveen after holding these precious little guys. The stone forts were really well constructed and one of them was built over 25 million years ago!

We headed back to the Ring of Kerry Hotel to grab our bags and eat some lunch, and then we got on our way back to UL, making several stops along the way. We stopped in Waterville, Derrynane, Sneem, Ladies View, Molls Gap and Killarney. All of these places were gorgeous and even the weather held off so we could get some amazing photos!

After stopping in Killarney for a little bit of shopping at the local outlets, we arrived back at UL around 7pm. It was a really long weekend but it was filled with amazing sites and friends. And I got to hold a lamb...I can cross that off my bucket list now! I actually do have one of those too. I started it when I arrived here in January :-)

Monday was back to the usual grind of class and school work. Econ, geoscience, library. It was raining though so I was okay with spending most of the day inside. My friends and I had a delicious pot luck on Monday night, complete with my taco pie, homemade Shepard's pie (made my a local Irish lad), mac 'n cheese, sangria and strawberry shortcake. We need to do this more often! Except, I refuse to cook the night that EVERYONE in my apartment needs the kitchen! We never all make dinner at the same time, but the one night I actually put effort into eating something substantial, we all needed the kitchen. My kitchen is basically the size of a closet as well, so you can imagine how this worked out. But alas, the potluck was delectable and we all went home stuffed and completely satisfied.

Today I had my Irish Folklore class from 11am-3pm and then came back, cleaned my room, showered and started my paper. Which now brings this blog post full circle. However, I still have no desire to finish schoolwork. My motivation to be even remotely productive has completely slipped away while being here. Let's hope this habit doesn't carry over into the fall when I have my senior thesis project to complete!

Well, that is all for now. It's my friend Sara's birthday tonight so we're headed to Stables and then in town to celebrate. I love not having class until 3 on Wednesday!

For all of you that are music geeks like me, here is one of my favorite songs at the moment that my Irish friend introduced to me. He talked so highly of it so I gave it a listen and have been playing it nonstop ever since. Hope you all enjoy it. I think you'll see why I like it so much when you give it a listen :-)


Til next time lads,

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