Do you remember your first kiss?

Trip Start Jan 01, 2013
Trip End Jun 01, 2013

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Flag of Ireland  , County Cork,
Saturday, January 12, 2013

   Since we had four of our friends visiting from back home for a week, we wanted to travel outside Cork City, and the first place we went to was Blarney to see the famous Blarney Castle and Gardens. Blarney Castle was one of the places I was most excited to see in Cork and trust me when I say this is, it was worth it. The trip from Cork City to Blarney is only about 20 minutes and then it's a short three minute walk to the Castle grounds. When we first stepped on to the grounds, I was blown away, I had heard they were meticulously up-kept, but they were absolutely flawless. After walking on the grounds for a little bit, Blarney Castle finally came into view and it was breathtaking. After acting like complete tourists for 10 minutes and taking about 100 pictures of the castle, we took the journey up. The walk up to the top was a bit claustrophobic and very steep so if you go be careful, it is very easy to fall. When we finally reached the top it was well worth it for the view alone of the Castle grounds. Next, was the infamous kissing of the Blarney Stone, which for those of you who don't know bestows the gift of eloquence or the gift of gab. To kiss the Blarney Stone you have to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk, so if you are afraid of heights this may not be for you. 
 After we all kissed the stone we explored the castle grounds. There was so much to see, the Poison Gardens which hold numerous plants that are toxic, a horse sanctuary, the Blarney House, the caves, a waterfall with the Wishing Steps that are rumored to grant your wish if you concentrate while walking up and down with your eyes closed, and a beautiful lake near the ending of the grounds. There is also a clearing that is private property, but is beautiful to look at. Now this might sound a bit strange since I was in Ireland two weeks prior to seeing Blarney, but when I first saw this clearing it finally hit me that I was in Ireland, it was exactly what I imagined when I thought of studying abroad there, the sun was setting (and for anyone who has been to Ireland you know how rare the sun is) and it was one of those perfect moments in you life that you remember forever. Wow that sounded more corny then I intended, but it's true. 
 After seeing everything the Castle and grounds had to offer we took a trip to the famous Blarney Woolen Mills, which is basically the greatest souvenir  shop in Ireland. It had everything you could want, especially woolen products, the most beautiful scarves and sweaters, it took all my strength not to buy them all. If you go to Blarney Castle I would highly recommend going to the Woolen Mills. We then left Blarney and hopped on the bus back to Cork City, it was a perfect day, the weather, the sites, and the people I was with made it one of the best days I have had in Ireland so far. 
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