Day 5: Blarney & Galway - Kisses Galore

Trip Start Aug 28, 2005
Trip End Sep 05, 2005

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Where I stayed
Claddagh Hostel
What I did
Eyre's Square
Club Cuba

Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Day 5 we got up early and ate another nutritious breakfast of chocolate chip muffins. We were preparing to leave the Foulksrath Castle and Kilkenny.

Our first stop was Blarney Castle in County Cork for the afternoon before heading to Galway. As we were packing the car Ozzy came outside to us. He wanted to play. He looked rather heart broken when we didn’t play with him. A car full of girls pulled into the hostel parking lot. They were from Canada and were very relieved to hear our American voices. They were having a hard time under-standing the Irish accents. We finished packing and headed out.

The drive to Blarney was going to take about 3 hours. We drove through some beautiful areas of Co. Kilkenny and Tipperary. County Tipperary was very mountainous and spread out with lots of farms & pastures on hillsides. County Cork seemed to be more settled. We came across alot more town and villages in Cork than anywhere else in the country we had been.

We arrived in Blarney about lunchtime and went on the tour. Blarney Castle is set back on acres of grounds with a river, trees and a garden. It was a very pretty walk to the castle. Blarney is a large castle that looms over you, it has caves and tunnels under-neath it that you can go in. There are also ruined shells of towers that you can walk around in. We were informed that you have to climb 180 stairs in a spiral staircase to reach the top! That’s alot of stairs on a treacherous staircase...... We bought our tickets and started climbing. Everyone was winded when we got to the top.

The view from the top of the castle was pretty cool. You could see all the castle grounds, the mansion that is on the grounds and alot of the little villages that surround Blarney. We got in line to kiss the Blarney stone. There was an older man working that day. His job was to hold you while you laid down and bent over backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone. Lauren went first, then Michelle, then Katie, then me. I took pictures of everyone kissing the stone which turned out to be boob shots since you can’t get in the way of the professional photographer who takes your picture for you to buy.

It was a little freaky kissing the Blarney Stone, there was an open grate and you could see the ground below you as you bent over backwards. After kissing the stone we headed back down the 180 steps to the bottom. I think going back down castle steps may be worse than going up! When we got to the bottom we saw a sign for “wishing stairs” so we went down those. They led into the old tower. Katie and Michelle picked up two big sticks from the woods and carried them into the tower. I’m not really sure why but they started “sword fighting” with them, it was pretty funny so I recorded it. We took some pictures in the tower then Katie ran into one of the tunnels below the castle with her stick. She looked like a crazed cave-woman! Michelle swears she is going to use the photo for black-mailing Katie one day!

We went inside the caves but we couldn’t see much, it was really dark in there. We went into the gift shop and I bought my mom a really pretty Celtic Cross necklace. I also got my brother and cousin an wall hanging that had the “Drinker’s Prayer” on it. We bought salads at a little grocery store and had a picnic lunch in the park near the castle. There was a cemetery nearby with alot of old High Crosses in it so I went over and took a few pictures.

We then piled into the car and started the long trek to Galway City. It was going to take nearly four hours to get there. Along the way we drove through some very scenic countryside. Sometime after 6:00 we pulled into Galway city. We were staying in the Claddagh Hostel on Queen St. just off Eyre’s Square. We drove to the parking garage two blocks away from the hostel, we took only the barest necessities because we were going to have to carry our luggage up to the second floor. We locked most of our gear in the car trunk.

As we were walking up to the hostel we were stopped by the manager of an apartment/condo for rent. As soon as he could tell we were American he wanted to give us this great deal! Katie went up to check the place out and said it was cool but neither Michelle or I trusted the guy so we went to the Claddagh. When we got into our room 4 of the beds were already taken. We chose our beds then went to the Dunne’s food store a few blocks up to get some pizza, Coke, Bacardi and beer. They didn’t have any Captain Morgan :( its really hard to find in Ireland.

Michelle and I cooked the first pizza while Katie and Lauren got showered. We also laid into the Rum pretty good. That’s when we met the four people staying in our room. They were 4 late 20-something guys from Australia. They thought it was hysterical that the “Yanks” were getting drunk before they went out drinking. We talked to them for a while, then one declared that it was “beer o’clock” and they left to go to O’Connell’s on the Square to go drinking. They invited us to meet them there because they said they could tell us girlys were going to take a while getting ready.

Michelle and I then went for showers while Katie and Lauren ate dinner. We all got pretty whacked before we went out. We left for the Square but we couldn’t find O’Connell’s, so Michelle stopped at a Mac machine and Katie hit some guys up for a cigarette. Turns out they were local guys and they recommended Club Cuba to us. They said it was a 3 story bar that played a different type of music on every level. They said we could find both metal and punk music there and they weren’t lying! We went right up the the 2nd floor bar because the 1st floor bar was playing rap. The metal/punk music was on the 2nd floor so we were happy!

The beer in Ireland is stronger than in the States. Coors was like 6% compared to our 3%, its pretty cool. We all got drunk and danced! The Irish are pretty funny when they dance. They all just do whatever no matter the music and don’t give a shit about it! We saw people slow dancing and moshing to the same song and I think it was Metallica!

I had some guy from Northern Ireland just walk right up and kiss me, the men in Ireland don’t shit around! We had a really good time. Everyone got drunk and Katie was entertaining us with some crazy dances! We left Club Cuba at 3:30 a.m. when they closed. We couldn’t tell which way to go to get back to the hostel. We saw two on-duty gardaí standing in Eyre’s Square so we went to ask them how to get to Queen St. They said they never heard of it! They were two young guys in their late 20s so we didn’t know if they were messing with us...... we told them we were staying at the Claddagh Hostel on Queen St. just off the Square. So they radioed into the police station and asked if anyone knew Queen St. and no one did! Turns out we were right around the corner from it!

As we walked back to the hostel we came across these statues. We had no idea what the hell it was at the time, but we thought it would be fun to sit on it and take pictures. It turns out its a statue of Oscar Wilde and some other writer....... As we walked back to the hostel we ran into Sergio, a guy from Russia who we met earlier and told us where we could buy whiskey at. He was waiting for a bus to Dublin. We sat outside talking to him until 4:30 a.m. when his bus picked him up. Then we went into the hostel.

I’m sure we were pretty loud and laughing alot. Thankfully the Australian guys were still awake. They told us about their night and asked us where we had gotten to. We told them how we couldn’t find O’Connell’s and ended up at Club Cuba. We went to bed well after 5:30 a.m.
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