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County Galway
County Clare
County Limerick
County Cork
County Kerry
County Waterford
County Tipperary
County Kilkenny
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County Cork

(Blarney Stone Seekers Stop Here)


Excerpt from Kristy's Journal:
Tuesday - September 10, 2002

8:42 am
So we're in Cork today. I hiked off to the shower this morning only to discover that it was a push button that lasted for 10 seconds as it sprayed an ice cold shock of water onto you. That sucked. So Shower No. 2 of this journey consisted of me getting wet, scrubbing myself, rinsing and jumping out as fast as possible.

1:26 pm
Cork City GaolOff to the Cork City Gaol this morning. We were nearly there and turned around thinking we had gone the wrong way. That doesn't sound so bad, except there was this steep, long and tough hill we had to go back down. As we walked around in circles looking at our map, I finally asked a woman where the Gaol was. She was nice enough to offer us a lift in her Jaguar.

I was thanking God that I wasn't driving as we cruised up the street where cars were parked on both sides, meanwhile morning rush hour traffic is attempting to squeeze by in two directions.

The Gaol was large and the architecture was actually good. But that couldn't take away from the depressing state that the prisoners lived in. The premises housed thousands of people whose only real crime was being born poor.

We also saw lots of wax figures, which always makes for a winning exhibit. Then off to the Cork Public Museum - home of anything and everything ever owned by Ireland's countless martyrs.

I've pretty much decided that I would have emigrated if I had lived here. The weather is dreary and cold, which while we find it invigorating, would probably become extremely depressing. Not to mention the disease. Lots of consumption, illness and dying. And of course there's the whole poor thing. Everyone was barely scraping by.

Butter MuseumIt took us a while to find the Cork City Museum, so we stopped for some soup. Currently sitting here waiting for the Butter Museum to open. Everyone goes to lunch from 1-2 pm here. So the only thing to do is to sit and eat or drink tea. I suppose you could go to a pub also.

So I think we're going to go on a ghost tour in Cobh this evening. It's on one of those hideous little yellow roads, but not too far, only about 5 km, thank goodness. I'm extremely apprehensive about driving on a yellow road at night.

They have these horrible signs on the roads: "## of deaths since 2001 on Galway County roads." These signs are posted every time you enter a new county. Cork has had the highest number so far. I figured that was definitely not a good sign.

5:55 PM
We just took an awesome tour of Ballycourt Castle. The castle was abandoned after the late 1500s, but was in amazingly good shape. They had replicas of a lot of the everyday conveniences of the period. The castle tour itself was great. Weird passages between walls, although they had been blocked up. And a few ghost stories thrown in.

9:10 PM
W e went to Cobh for the ghost tour and found out it is only on Fridays. The town is beautiful, but the wind and rain blow fiercely. As we were leaving the restaurant we ran into an American couple with the best Southern (American) accents who told us this was nothing - the Dingle Peninsula ate umbrellas for lunch. Alas, no Dingle Peninsula for us, not enough time and too many yellow roads with giant tour buses.

Oh and I forgot to write about the Butter Exchange Museum. Basically an ode to butter. Who knew that the butter trade is an absolutely huge export of Ireland? Kerry Gold Dairy Products to be specific. We watched a video at the end about how exciting Kerry Gold is. I love the facts, such as Ireland exported 7.5 tons of butter in the 1970s and now exports over a billion tons.

Thursday - September 12, 2002

7:40 am
Kristy Kissing the Blarney StoneOur first stop yesterday was in Blarney to kiss the Blarney Stone. You follow all of these signs through twisty corridors. Nothing is restored, just signs pasted up: "This used to be the floor where the kitchen was". Then you climb this extremely 'slippy' (it's our new Irish word) staircase to the top with only a thick rope running down the middle to hold onto.

When you reach the top there are tons more slippy stones and there's an area where you turn backwards, lean out and kiss the Blarney Stone. Conveniently enough, there's antibacterial spray to keep the stone from getting to germy.

The guy holding you and the woman taking pictures were absolutely fantastic. We ended up talking to them for a while. They used our cameras to take a few pictures of us. When we were back down below they even waved at us. They were the nicest, most pleasant Irish people that we met on our trip so far.

Also took the Jameson Whiskey Tour in Midleton. Interesting I suppose. It was extremely commercialized. But then again they had wax mannequin workers, so that was great. Can't go wrong with corny wax figures.

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