My rendezvous around the wonderful country of Ireland was amazing!! The trip started with 25 hours of pre-travel though. This ended up landing me in Galway at about eleven in the evening. My sister came to Ireland to travel with me so she met me at the bus stop. We began to haul my luggage through the rain as the town was booming with life. Pubs and clubs all lit up with people everywhere around enjoying the nightlife the city had to offer. Seeing this gave me a bit of a boost of energy, even though my body was telling me I was exhausted! I made an attempt to get myself ready and go out with my sister since she was absolutely thrilled to be in Europe and ready to go out. I felt my little buzz starting to die out as I was getting ready. My body was just fighting too hard and I had to tell my sister I just wanted to sleep. So we did and the next day we went out to explore Galway. What had the night before been a bustling city, had now died down to a very quiet village that Sunday. I had forgotten that most things were closed down on Sundays, so we made the most of it with shopping and walking around.
That evening we hopped on a bus to Killarney. We were supposed to get off in Limerick and there take the bus to Killarney. As we were riding along the bus drivers do not usually shout out the names of the stops, and we missed the Limerick stop. So we went on to Cork and had to catch a bus there. We then settled into our hostel, again having to take our luggage through the pouring rain to the accommodation. My sister had finally gotten a good taste of the jet lag, so she was out for the count. The next morning we went to the Killarney National Forest, which was my number one place I wanted to visit. Here we saw the beautiful moss covered forest as well as our first castle of this trip, Ross Castle, and the Muckross House. All of these were fascinating and gave the feel that you had just stepped back in time about 300 years. That night we went to a traditional pub to hear traditional Irish music. The next day we decided to take a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry. On this seven hour bus trip we saw a sheep herder who showed us all the different breeds of sheep and how to herd them with his dogs. We then made several other stops at beautiful landscape sights where I got some breathtaking pictures.
Our next stop was in Cork. This was one of the big cities that we went to since County Cork is the biggest county in Ireland. The first day we were here we went on a big shopping spree. The next day we spent seeing Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney Stone of course. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. To kiss the stone you climb to the very top of the castle. At this point you have to lie down; an assistant tips you backward and holds you while you kiss the stone. It was really cool!
Our last stop was Dublin, the capitol of course! Here we actually stayed in my favorite hostel of the trip which was called the Four Courts Hostel. We spent most of the time here shopping, eating, enjoying the nightlife, and we also saw Dublin Castle. It was a very busy, but beautiful city full of history. My sister went home on Sunday morning and I met up with IFSA and the other students attending Queens. To say the least, it was an amazing tour of the Republic of Ireland!