Top of the morning to ye lad!…Extended weekend trip to Ireland!

I could start this post off with “here is the LONG AWAITED Ireland blog”, but…since I know most of you don’t sit by your computer and anxiously await notification of a new post (except maybe my mom and dad), I will save that opening line and dive right into the details!

Cork City, Ireland

First thing is first before you think I am some crazy wealthy child who can jet off and meet mother and father on a whim let me say that the only reason I am able to travel as I do is because my mom is a hardworking Delta Airlines employee ergo I get to fly for free as a dependent.  Pretty great right?! Of course I fly standby so I am only able to get on the plane if there are empty seats, which is possible if you time the trip right and don’t mind flying by the seat of your pants but…I’m a Cantrell and when the Cantrell’s go on vacation two things are inevitable. First: it WILL rain, and most likely be cold. Seriously, I can’t remember a family trip that hasn’t involved rain. Obviously by now we are used to it, and always leave with boots, long johns, and umbrellas packed!  Second:  Something WILL go wrong. Whether it is a lost passport, a dead camera, or most recently completely missing your flight something will inevitably go wrong.

Blarney Castle, home of the Blarney Stone!

This trip was of course no different.  It did in fact rain, but it is Ireland after all so that could happen to anybody AND something did go wrong. Well a few things actually. Apparently everyone and their second cousin decided to fly in Europe the same weekend I did so of course all of the flights to Paris for my connection to Dublin were not only booked, but oversold! When flying as a non revenue passenger oversold is perhaps the most deadly word.  Fortunately I had arrived at the Zurich airport a night in advance, and was able to call my mom (who was awaiting her flight in Atlanta) and with her brilliance and the help of her lovely coworkers was able to rebook me and I ended up even making a pit stop in Dusseldorf!

Of course my travels back to the Uni couldn’t have gone smoothly either, and early Monday morning I was told that same deadly word…the flights are overbooked. Really?! Who flies through Paris on a Monday?!  This of course isn’t the first time issues like this have arisen while traveling so Mama and I ended up on just about Plan H, and long story short I made it back just in time for Monday evening class!

A view inside the age old Blarney castle.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but when people walk through the doors of the airport their brains and common sense somehow leave their bodies.  People become angry and aggressive and easily agitated not to mention panicky. So for the average traveler most of these roadblocks would have turned into a MAJOR life threatening ordeal, but after over a year of flying standby and hoping people miss their plane, this of course was no big deal to Mama or myself. The most important thing is of course that A. I made it to Dublin B. I made it back to Liechtenstein and C. It was free! No complaints here!

The English Market in Cork City which is filled with vendors selling everything from meat, to cheese, to pastries, to marshmallows!

I have to admit that I am quite the planner. Ask anyone and they will confirm that I like to have a schedule to follow, I MUST write everything down in my planner, and I am an avid To-Do list maker. This doesn’t mean to say I don’t enjoy spontaneity and adventure, I do! However, when on vacation for only a few days if some planning isn’t done before hand you ultimately  spend most of the day going in circles and deciding “well what do you want to do now?” or “how do we get there?” or ultimately missing out on things to do! This of course means before our trip, I had an entire itinerary complete with train times, pre purchased event tickets, directions to and from places, and pretty much everything else. And let me just tell you that pre planning came in handy! Mama and I were able to see and do a great deal of things and visit a HUGE amount of the country.

We started our journey with a train ride to Cork in the south eastern part of the country. Known for it’s fishing villages and “peculiar accents”, County Cork is also the home of the infamous Blarney Castle which of course houses the Blarney Stone. This was a must for our visit, and after a short bus ride and climbing up the most narrow staircase EVER, my lips puckered up and I planted a big one on that good ole stone! And let me tell you it was no easy task.  The stone is literally on

See what I mean? It is no easy feat to kiss the Blarney Stone!

the side of the castle, and flexibility, fearlessness, and even a large man holding you is necessary to complete the task, but hey now I will apparently have the gift of eloquence for the rest of my life!  Cat shouldn’t get my tongue again!

Blarney offered some of the most picturesque views of the entire trip. Luscious green fields as far as the eye could see were dotted with cows and sheep. Babbling brooks navigated their way beautifully throughout the castle grounds, and quant B & Bs lined the outskirts of the area. One of these B&Bs was our place of choice for lunch, and if you ever doubt the quality of Irish food let me assure you your doubts are unwarranted!  Between the Irish brown bread that I swear has addictive properties and the delicious soup of the day those Celts have it going on!

Needless to say Mama and I never wandered across a meal we didn’t like our entire trip! We also visited Kinsale, a small harbor town south of Cork City (where we had another delicious meal) and roamed the lovely streets for the day. Friday

Rainy shot of Kinsale harbor.

night was perhaps the most exciting and anticipated events of our entire trip.  We visited the Cork Opera House to see the Kilfenora Ceili Band the longest running performing ceili band in Ireland!  And the show was spectacular!  I’m pretty sure the calf pain that followed on Saturday was a direct result of all of the toe taping during the show NO LIE!  I never stopped moving along, and the entire experience was straight out of a dream of mine. Blah blah blah make fun of me know, but at least I am a member of the younger generation that can somewhat appreciate actual musical talent!

Our three days in County Cork were certainly not enough, but due to our overall time constraints we left early Saturday morning bound for Dublin. I have probably overloaded you with information and unwitty quips so I assume now would be the appropriate time to end this post and follow up with the rest of the

A truly beautiful country!

details in a latter one. But before I do I must leave you with the 5 interesting facts I have learned this week!

1. Irish brown bread is truly a gift from God. Maybe that’s why the big man sent St. Patrick back to Ireland after all…for the bread!

2. The pictures and images of Ireland in movies are completely accurate. It truly is luscious green fields, sheep, cows, cliffs, water, oh and castles!

3. Being a native English speaker DOES NOT mean you will understand Irishmen.   Seriously, I think people thought I couldn’t speak English because I was always confused and their accents are ridiculously thick! Lovely, but thick!

4. Jerry from Tom and Jerry is apparently a more famous mouse than Mickey Mouse in Latvia.

5. THis isn’t technically a fact, but rather a point of information…my computer has officially bit the dust.  Great timing I know. So from now on I will be mooching off of Jennifer’s properly working technology and trying to navigate my way through the German desktops at the Uni..wish me luck!

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