The last few days have been a whirlwind of driving and checking out some really beautiful scenery (with a LOT more to come I hear). We drove down to Cork, Ireland and on the way stopped at a few towns. We first picked up our rental car and stopped in Glendalough (pronounced Glendalock) which was funny to drive to since the roads were super narrow and we had to remember to get accustomed to driving on the left! More information is available here about Glendalough, but we had fun hiking around, looking at the waterfalls, lakes, and the old monastic city.
On the way to Cork from Glendalough, we found Hollywood: sign and all!! We heard about this by word of mouth and didn’t have access to be able to look it up. They said that you can’t see it from the road, so we tried to get up close.
And then we realized you can.
The next day we woke up for our training run (first speed work in Ireland!) where we ran about 8 miles along the River Lee past Blackrock Castle. It was really sunny and the view was quite pretty. Then we headed to Blarney for the obligatory kissing of the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle! Kissing the Blarney Stone is supposed to bring the “gift of gab” to those who partake in this tradition. As it states on the Blarney Castle website (here), it is also called the Stone of Eloquence and by kissing it you will never be lost for words. Sounded good to me so I went for it, but not without some hesitation and subsequent reassurance from my cousin and the “kisser holder”! I was a little nervous to kiss it because it was pretty high above ground, but the really cheery man that held you to keep from falling down the hole reassured me it would be fine. And it was. 🙂 It is pretty unlikely that anyone would be able to fall through because there are a couple of bars under the hole for safety. The grounds were so beautiful as you can see from the photos below.
Top of Blarney Castle
Getting ready for the big kiss
So far we are seeing some of the main tourist attractions but still a few unplanned sights have popped up as well, which is more or less what this trip is all about. The people here continue to be extremely kind and cheerful and I can’t wait to be able to explore more in the days to come!