This past month has been busy and I haven’t felt much like writing. I feel like I’ve been going through some anxiety and homesickness, but am on the upswing. These last few days I’ve been in Ireland and traveling always seems to inspire me to share moments of my life.
Alongside my friend Maddie, I traveled to Cork, Ireland this past Saturday and have stayed in Cork till this Wednesday when we made our departure back to London. I’ve always wanted to see Ireland and in some ways it was as I imagined and in other ways it was not. Our first day was spent acclimating to the city and resting mainly. We visited a delicious burger place/pub called Son of a Bun in Cork City for a late lunch. We both had amazing burgers and I drank my first pint of Irish pale ale. We found a great donut place for dessert called The Shack that would soon become a trip favorite. We spent the remaining part of the day wandering the streets and then went back to the inn we were staying at to relax. It felt like I promising beginning.
We booked a bus tour for the following day to The Cliffs of Moher, among other sights. We rose early the following day at 6:45 am to meet the tour group. Honestly, Maddie and I both found the tour company and our tour guide a bit disorganized and below satisfactory, but we still managed to make the trip fun. We traveled through various counties of Cork, stopping for lunch and hearing some historical information about our surroundings along the way. We ended up seeing Bunratty Castle, the baby cliffs, and The Cliffs of Moher, notably. The day was sunny and clear: rare for Ireland, so we had an unobstructed view of the Cliffs. The hike up was lovely and so peaceful being in nature that way. When we arrived back that night, we grabbed dinner along with some ciders at Gallaghers Gastro Pub. They had amazing fish and chips and great Irish craft cider. After having our drinks, we took to a nearby arcade/bowling alley called LeisurePlex where we bowled (both very badly, but we had fun) and played classic games like JustDance, Mariocart, GuitarHero etc. Maddie even won a bit of money at a gambling game. With our winnings, when we were done, we headed to Son of a Bun for another drink and dessert. After that, we retired for the night, watching some Fraser before falling asleep.
On our third day, we started out a the old historic English Market in Cork that has existed since the 1700s. We ate breakfast at The Farmgate Cafe, a lovely breakfast place that I cannot recommend enough. We had the absolute best avocado, olive oil, poached egg, and ham on sourdough toast. We then wandered the beautiful and experimental Crawford Art Gallery before doing some more shopping around at various Cork City stores like Pennys (aka Primark) and a vintage market. We discovered an amazing noodle and ramen place that serves free soft serve ice cream with every meal (ideal) and both got some yummy curry dishes. After out midday rest/nap, we went back out for a mini pub crawl. We hit up two famous pub recommendations: Sin e and The Corner Pub. Both had a great, authentic atmosphere to them and hosted a lot of locals. I tried red ale and a cask ale. Maddie and I spent some time in the second pub filling out crossword puzzles like an old married couple lol. We got some pizza for dinner and finished the night with gelato.
The following day, we grabbed breakfast at a beautiful brunch place called SpitJack. I had the eggs Benedict and Maddie got the smoothie bowl and some bacon. We both had chai lattes and the meals were incredibly tasty and satisfying. From there we took a 15 minute walk to Elizabeth Fort: an old barrack from Irish wars with a great view of the whole city. When it started to rain, we took shelter in a cafe called Tiramisu nearby (not before getting pretty damp first though). We ate cannolis and sipped tea while we waited for the rain to pass. We got rained on more on our walk home (classic Ireland), so we stayed in at our accommodations for a few hours to watch some tv and wait out the weather. I did some wandering alone after for a few hours and found a great falafel place called Umi for an early dinner, while Maddie did some job applications. We met up again at 7 pm at the arcade. Then we went back to Gallaghers for the cider we liked. We then tried another recommended pub: Oliver Plunket where I had a beer and some apple pie. The atmosphere was good and the staff was friendly, but we both ended up not staying long.
This morning, our last half day in Cork, we arose and checked out of the inn where we were staying at around 11 am. We then went to Tara’s Tea Room for breakfast. It was quaint and lovely with decorated china and homey decor. We both got pots of breakfast tea with our food and spent over an hour talking. Following that, we made the 30 minute hike (a hilly one at that) to Fitzgerald Park and the Shaky Bridge. The beautiful, well-maintained park and unique bridge were definitely worthwhile to see before leaving. We spent about 40 minutes checking it out and then took a taxi to the Cork airport.
Ireland was such a wonderful travel experience for me. I loved the lush greenery, contemplative quietness, and open air of this place. It gave me a needed break from the London city rush. I felt like I could really take a deep breath in Cork and I appreciated that. Not to mention, the people were lovely and kind and Maddie and I had the best time. She makes me laugh so hard and we spent many nights dramatically singing along to High School Musical and Dolly Parton on the streets of Cork. More soon 🙂