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10 June 2012

time travel - ireland


friday: erin's pa drove me to the airport at, even though the flight itself is only an hour, it's international so I had to be there 2 hours early >< and cos I chose to fly budge-o as, it was delayed. dan's mate rob (also from adelaide via london via the best part of 6 months in europe) was flying from the same airport but diff airline and HIS flight was delayed so MY flight was delayed.. his actually sanded up "leaving" before mine but landed after. weiiird. It were a preeeettyy bumpy flight. i've flown through my share of clouds, but the ones that cover the emerald isle are hefty. to say the least. but we both arrived in the end. and dan made me a SIGN! finally, SOMEONE welcomed me with a sign (I'm looking at you, erin). so we bussed back to dan's to drop out bags then went off for food..and drink.

ireland is not short of pubs. let me make that clear. all typically named. or named in irish, thus making it hard for an aussie to pronounce. so many many (mannnny) hours later we made it back to dan's to have a wee kip before the next traveller arrived on saturday morning.

cue: michael from suffolk.

so saturday me and my 3 boys (what a dirty hoor) had a spot of breakky then headed off to shandon church where we got to ring the bells there (sheet music, numbered according to bell etc. we tried playing waltzing matilda but FAYULed.). we had to climb up these teeny tiny windy cobbled narrow steep low-ceiling stairs, both rob and michael are 6'3" and that was fun for them. no hassle for me :D when we got to the top it was a beauttttiful panorama view of cork city and county, and it was such a lovely day, the woman at the desk told us on a clear day you can see right out to new york (michael: "REALLY?!" her: "new cork maybe", cue: "concrete jungle where dreams are made/ oh there's nothing you can't do/ let's hear it for new cork").... Just great. then we went to UCC (university cork college) and walked around the grounds there while school is still out. It's really big, old and pretty..

spot of lunch and shopping followed then we headed home for naps and quiet time to prep for the partay that night. we went out to this posh restaurant for dinner, we had the french wine (house) and I had the duck. natch; it's how i roll. let me indulge you a piece of irish info: the euro is shit, ireland is still crippled by the GFC and things are expensive. but, when in rome.. that night we met some of dan's mates (properly), got well drunk, had a few D&Ms with a few people, danced the night away at cork's premier gay bar and sang so loud to katy perry that i lost my voice (those lucky boys!). liquor license ends at 2am so at 1:59am on come the house lights, and everyone is out of the building by 2:05. sidenote of interest: late night kebab/yiros = international practice. except we went to a place called "istanbul - taste of the orient" (the title itself is confusing because of the geographical inaccuracies... but anyway) and got TANDOORI KEBABS. oh. em. gee. amaze. rob, michael and i had to try and find our way home cos dan had made a few friends that night, which resulted in me having to ask the guards HOW to get there. we were well lost in a city of less than 200,000. Eejits.

on saturday morning after danny sheepishly strolls in at 8:30 (he's been a naughty boy!), we head for breakky with dan's mate from work enda, then decide to head to blarney to climb the castle and kiss the stone. you will have to google it yourselves cos i'm shit at reading the info plaques, i was too busy jumping on the frozen grass and taking photos of EVERYTHING. dan would know too, he's been quite the tourist guide. i think basically the gist of it is; if you kiss the blarney stone you get the gift of the gab. which i would argue i already posses. also, the stone is on the inside of the outer wall of the castle, on the very top, about 7 storeys up. you basically lay down on your back with your head in a hole and hold onto two metal bars and lean in to kiss a rock while an old man holds your legs and a young man takes a photo. 7 storeys above the ground. needless to say, i did not kiss the stone (michael: "i gave that stone a proper smooch"). i took whatever ridicule the boys had to offer, but i don't even care. It's unsanitary and high. XD

the outside of the castle is sooooo pretty too. caves and gardens and a river walk trail thing. loads of photos to come (when i get to a laptop) we were there for good couple of hours, and totally worth being there in the cold and hungover. that night we had some yum yum asian for dinner then had a few quiet pints in an old pub with an open fire and live traditional music. it was grand.

on monday, ANOTHER of dan's mates that he met on his travels, hannah from sydney, came to stay before the two of them left for paris on tuesday. michael left us monday night also, and rob was supposed to head back to london too but somehow i convinced him to stay with me a few more days to keep me company while dan was away. i think it must've been the lure of a home cooked meal - that and it's been awhile since he got to hang out with another aussie so it was nice to hang out with people who speak the same language. (australian as opposed to english) dan and hannah left for paris on tuesday (dan's bday) and rob and i enjoyed the first of few sleep ins since we arrived - seeing as we'd basically been drinking friday night-monday night and getting up early in between, we felt it was necessary. forgetting though that the sun disappears at about 4:30 everyday which doesn't allow for ample sightseeing if you're sleeping til 12.. anyway, we went upto the cork gaol and did a tour there. as we were walking it started to rain, not too heavily though, then as we were finishing up our tour it seemed to be bucketing down. while i was in the toilet rob got to chatting with the old lady who runs the gift shop, and she offered us a lift back into town! so lovely! normally, stranger danger and all that, but it was wet and cold, and she was old! anyway, we didn't die. we got ot some groceries from tesco and stayed in for the night. i got groped on the way home too. so not a bad day all up.

on wednesday we overslept a wee bit again and it was still not terrific sightseeing weather so we PLANNED to goto the museum, but as i can't read a map to save myself (even google maps was my foe) we went the wrong way. so, we did what any corkonian would do under the circumstances: we went to the pub. then to a pool hall. then to the bottle-o. then had dinner, and bulmers. then BACK to the pub (diff one), watched some AWESOME local bands play LOUDLY for a few hours, then caught up with dan's work mate nessa (somewhat of a cork socialite - express/free entry wherever she took us!) who took us to a uni-bar-type-club that was PACKED WITH PEOPLE. like, I had no idea that a) a club like this could exist in cork, and b) that there are THAT MANY PEOPLE IN CORK. the "beer garden" had been turned into a "smoking room" but thats where we sat, for almost 2 hours, because we were unable to move anywhere else.

...the last couple of days between rob going back to england for a job interview and dan getting back from paris have been pretty nothing - exploring the city some more and a day trip to kinsale to visit charles' fort by day, and episode after episode of criminal minds by night. (i'm almost finished season 3, for those of you playing at home. this shit is addictive. i've even been dreaming about it. not even lying.) while i was in kinsale i had a wee moment; while sitting all alone (illegally) on the edge of this centuries-old fort, looking out to the celtic sea, bright blue water as far as the eye could see and surrounded by rolling green mountains.. i'm in IRELAND. no biggie. it's just IRELAND. it's truly the most beautiful place I've ever been/seen, and although i keep saying it reminds me a lot of NZ, it's NOT NZ, it's effing IRELAND. 

that about wraps up the Irish leg of the journey, and while i have no doubt i will be back - much to dan's joy and erin's despair, there are a few things i need to tick off first: france, holland, hopefully austria if I get my way, germany and the czech republic, all with the raddest kiwi i know. but first, back to england to do some washing.

so that was my irish jaunt. i hope you enjoyed reading it as much as i enjoyed retelling it (propbably not as much as i enjoyed living it though!). i'm really enjoying posting these travel entries - takes me back and gives me renewed excitement for more travel! anyway, as always, thanks for reading!

love erica x