This past weekend I had the opportunity to journey to the city of Cork, Ireland's second largest city next to Dublin. Despite being large, industrialized and full of people, Cork was adorable! The architecture of the buildings showed obvious age which created an air of authenticity unlike what I find in most American cities. The city is somewhat how I imagine Venice, Italy to be- a city with a river running down the center, the water being a prominent feature. My adventure to Cork was self-organized, a trip I went on with just two other friends.
Once in Cork, we purchased tickets for a Paddywagon Tour that would take us to Blarney Castle and then the coastal town of Cobh. We spent two hours at the castle, exploring the extensive castle grounds. Blarney Castle is best known for its legendary Blarney Rock/Stone. The stone lies at the tippy top of the castle, and the idea is that if you kiss this stone you will have seven years of confident, persuasive, public speaking ability. A bit of an odd one in my opinion, but I kissed the stone nonetheless. In addition to climbing the windy stair case to the top of the castle, and taking time to look in at what remained of the numerous rooms, we explored the castle's grounds. There was a poisonous garden, full of toxic plants, that we ventured through. We walked up to the Blarney house, which despite obvious aging due to elemental exposure I would gladly live in! We made our wishes while partaking in the ritual of the "Wishing Steps" where you walk up and then down (with eyes closed) a slippery staircase next to a waterfall in the witches garden. Yes, a witches garden! I could have easily spent an afternoon at Blarney Castle as there was so much to take in, but alas our tour only allowed for two hours at this site. And so we proceeded onward to the town of Cobh. Cobh is a seaport town, famous for its association with the Titanic. The Titanic was docked in Cobh for a short time before its tragic demise journeying to New York in 1912. There is a museum dedicated to the Titanic, but as admission wasn't free we chose to bypass this particular site. Instead, we toured St. Colman's Cathedral and stopped in to the town's historic center. We finished our time in Cobh sitting on one of the docks, listening to the gentle lapping of water and watching the sun send a gentle glow down to the sea's surface.
I know that the other Linfield girls are also enjoying exciting adventures. Two girls traveled to Dublin last weekend, staying in a hostel and engaging in a pub crawl. There was a trip to Kylemore Abbey last weekend and the Aran Islands this weekend that a few took advantage of. In addition to these trips, girls are actively interacting with other students through societies on campus. Melissa and Lexi are doing well in archery; recently they were chosen to move up in the ranks fo the team and possibly will have the opportunity to compete. I am taking part in the swim society. Olivia tried out the DJ society just last week and had a wonderful time. Needless to say, everyone is keeping busy pursuing various interests.
With one month complete, we have just two more months of class. Time is moving quickly and I know girls are excited for the free time allotted in April to explore Ireland further and possibly other countries in Europe. What a wonderful opportunity we have been provided, one that we are working hard to take full advantage of!