Friday, July 17, 2015

nailed it!

Just wait until all of you fine people hear in person the enormous amount of things I have mispronounced or missaid. It's making for some great stories, but I'd rather save those to tell in person. Hence the "nailed it" title.

I reneged on my promise to blog yesterday, but it turned out to be a long and stressful day, so I just withheld all of the information for today!

Our big activity yesterday was the Gap of Dunloe. The gap is just that, a gap in between a valley of many mountains formed by glacial activity in the Ice Age. In typical, European, four-seasons-in-a-day fashion, our weather was TERRIBLE! At first, it was just overcast and dark, which was perfect because it really brought out the green in the scenery. As we began our jaunting cart (horse and VERY SMALL carriage,) it began to rain, and the wind blew fiercly. I was having a ball, Drew later told me he wasn't a huge fan of the cart ride. We chose not to hike it, which you can do, because we weren't sure of the difficulty or type of hike. Truthfully, it turned out to be relatively flat, but there are a few very windy roads. Shockingly, there were cars driving on this road! Every time a jaunting cart passed, the car had to drive in reverse to get out of the way for the horse to move along. The cart took us all the way up and over the gap, and down to a little cottage where you can have lunch before you catch your boat ride across the 3 lakes. That's right. We also took a very long, very cold, windy boat ride through 3 gorgeous lakes on the other side of the gap, where we shored at Ross Castle. Funnily enough, I did not love the boat ride, Drew told me it was the best part of his day.

I cannot begin to describe in enough detail how amazing and beautiful the Gap of Dunloe was. We struggled between exploring it, or parts of the Ring of Kerry, but we truly do not feel like we made a bad choice. Our weather could have been better, but for me, it just added to the experience. The mountains are enourmous, more peaked, and not covered in trees like ours are. They are covered in different colors and types of moss, making the colors really stand out. There were also sheep, everywhere! Adorable, precious sheep! They were also spray painted on different spots on their rears, I assume to distinguish the flocks and their owners, or the type of wool, but I could be wrong.

After our tour, we made reservations at what we are told was the best restaurant in town, Cronin's. I was feeling a little light heading from the van/horse/boat ride, but I still managed to enjoy what has been our best meal so far. We ordered a grilled pork steak, with tomatoes, chorizo, and melted cheese on top, obviosuly served with salad and....chips! (fries). We also managed to snag in a Bailey's Cheesecake, which was the moussiest, most light cheesecake I've ever tasted.

Today, our day began with our train ride to Cork, which was relatively short, about 45 minutes. We checked into the hotel, which it very nice and again, well located. We walked through the city center for quite some time, enjoying ourselves and watching some incredible street performers. At one point, after our lunch at Oliver Plunkett's, we were on our way back to the hotel and came across a very interesting group of street performers. They were French, and a band. With trumpets, drums, saxophones, and all kinds of other instruments, but they were all dressed in bizarre garb. Men and women of young and old were dressed in drag, dressed as cows, wearing shark hats, etc. The audience enjoyed themselves, dancing and clapping as the band carried on with their own song and dance.

Tomorrow, we are off to catch a bus to see the Blarney Castle and kiss the stone!

Recommend: Cronin's, The Gap of Dunloe (the walk wasn't bad at all, we would do it over if we could) the boat ride isn't really optional, IrishRail is the trainline and it has been SUPER easy to navigate and manage, and our new hotel, The River Lee, in Cork.

Do Not Recommend: I didn't write a lot about it because we didn't really do anything with it, but yesterday was also a very big horse race in Killarney, and it was ladie's night on the whole town. WE recommend not making big plans to get in anywhere when both of those events are going at the same time.

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