I have been seriously slacking on the Ireland photos. SO even though tonight I really would have liked to curl up in bed, I breezed through these (thank you VSCO for making it easy) to pull a post together.
This was day 5 of the trip, the day we left the house in Dublin for our jaunt around the country. The five of us piled in the car (bear in mind that European cars are considerably smaller than what we're used to here in the states...yeah) and headed south, making stops at a couple of important spots on the way. First we visited the Rock of Cashel, which upon first glance looked SO impressive up on the hill (I didn't get a photo of this though since we were driving, and also part of the building was covered in scaffolding for preservation etc). We took the tour and learned about its history, which, like most of the places we'd tour, got a big bloody at times. Strange to think about the fact that you're walking around where so many people died. But anyway...the day turned from bright and sunny to a bit stormy so we were glad to get back to the car for lunch. Afterwards, we continued our journey and next visited Blarney, where Evin and I paid (the seemingly large fee) to get inside while the rest of the group explored town. I figured Blarney Castle, one of the more famous and therefore necessarily more touristy, wouldn't be all that interesting, but found that our entry fee was so worth it. We climbed the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone (quite the experience, and not for the germaphobic) and then sauntered all over the grounds, finding all kinds of cool stuff and wishing we'd had the whole day to spend there. A few minutes were spent inside the fern garden, which became a bit of a joke (last year, we tried to find a fern valley in an arboretum and found it to be extremely underwhelming, and said "this isn't very ferny"...well, this fern garden was far more extensive and lush than the last, and while we entered Evin kept commenting "I dunno, it's gettin' kinda ferny in here!" which of course was hilarious, and stuck...every subsequent time we saw a fern on the trip). It was dark and lush and mystical in there and I wished for a couple portrait subjects to shoot! We also checked out the poison garden, right next to the castle, full of plants that are in one way or another poisonous...including foxglove, which grows all over the place in Ireland and got its picture taken by me countless times (see above). Our time there ran out and we had to leave to meet Evin's parents to continue the drive to our B&B down in County Cork, but first we took a quick trip into the Blarney Woolen Mills...I was convinced I needed one of those beautiful Aran wool sweaters, so the search began. The first I found, fisherman's style, was of course like 175 Euro...a bit rich for my taste, but oh did I want it! I ran around like my head was on fire trying to find a suitable sweater as quickly as possible, as Evin's whole family was waiting...if it had been my mother and I, we'd have spent hours in this store. In maybe 20 minutes, I'd decided on a natural-colored knit, cardigan style (of course) for a reasonable price. I ended up wearing it almost every day thereafter...Irish summers, man.
We piled back in the car for the final leg of the trip, Evin's dad kindly stopping after we passed a stone bridge whose walls were covered in daisies (boy, did I squeal in the backseat when we drove over that one!), and we were soon pulling into the first B&B of the trip. B&Bs are standard accommodation in Ireland, ranging from extra spare rooms in people's homes to the elaborate inn-like operations we think of here (or at least that's what I think of). We stayed in both, and this one was the former. We had dinner in the town of Skibbereen at a local pub and wandered around in the still-present daylight after the meal, finally tucking in to bed as the sun was going down. I'll tell you what, these Irish days were eventful!