Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dream Vacation - Day 4

Around 3am I woke up with a sore throat... Thomas had been sick the past few days and I think I caught whatever bug he had. I hope this doesn't spoil my vacation. I really tired hard to not get sick for this trip. Officially woke up around 7am, got up, showered and left the hostel at 7:50am. We stopped by a local Tesco (local supermarket) and picked up some breakfast and snacks for the road trip.

Today we are heading south to Cork, our first stop on our trip was to Rock of Cashel. But since I had such a hard time finding a place to stay near Dublin we actually had to backtrack to Dublin and then south again. It wasn't ideal (an hour out of our way) but it was the only way to get to Rock of Cashel from where we crashed.

A few hours later we made it to the Rock of Cashel, but as we were looking for a place to park we came across this ruin so we had to stop and check it out.  Come to find out that it was an Abbey. Hore Abbey (sometimes known as St.Mary's) it was a ruined Cistercian monastery. The former Benedictine abbey at Hore was given to the Cistercians by Archbishop David MacCearbhaill (in 1270), who later entered the monastery. He endowed the Abbey generously with land, mills and other benefices previously belonging to the town.

There was a gate and pathway leading right up to the Abbey. It surprised me when Thomas said let's go check it out. I had no idea that you can just walk around these old ruins.  So that's what we did. It was gorgeous. I spent quite a bit of time checking it, taking pictures and video.

After the Abbey we found a place to park and walked up to the Rock of Cashel. According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil's Bit, a mountain 20 miles north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock's landing in Cashel.  Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.

The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.  Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.

This is a very impressive Medieval castle, when we were there part of it was being renovated, so you had scaffolding all over the place, but you could still see the beauty of the structure. Because this is such a well maintained structure they charge you to enter it (6 euros). It was cooli walking through this very old castle.

We continued our drive south to Cork.. along the way there was beautiful green countryside as far as the eye could see.

When we got to Cork, we found our hostel and unloaded. This time it was a eight person mixed room and we were bunking with four girls.

After dropping off our stuff we went to near by city of Blarney. Here we had Blarney Castle with the famous Blarney Stone. When we got to Blarney Castle it was much more then I expected. I thought it was just a Castle but it's an entire ground of beautiful rivers, green fields and trees. You could probably spend all day walking around that place.  We had a few hours before it closed so we did Blarney Castle first. As you walk up this very old castle you get to check out various rooms along the way. You are working your way to the top of the castle where they have the Blarney Stone. At first Thomas wasn't going to kiss the stone but Robert and I talked him into it. You have to wait in line and when you get there you have to lie on your back and hang your head over the side of the castle to kiss the underside of this stone. Now I know it's not the most hygienic thing to do and I heard rumors that the locals pee on the stone but I didn't care. It was one thing that I wanted to do while I was down here. And I have to say that the stone is very cold and kind of damp from all the kissing.. still it was a fun experience. 

After kissing the stone we walked through the poison garden, we even came across a few Harry Potter plants like Mandrake and Wolfsbane.

We then walked around this large field of trees.. it was pretty gorgeous.

After the castle we headed back to Cork and our hostel. When then walked around and looked for a place to grab dinner. We found this diner type place and the food was decent. I'm still trying to get use to service at food places.. it's not like it is in the states.

After dinner we headed back to the hostel and crashed, unfortunately several of the girls who were staying with were coughing up a storm.. I knew I was doom and was going to get sick on this trip. At l had my ear plugs so I could sleep through the night. Tomorrow we drive north up the westside of the country to Galway.

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