The morning begins again with breakfast in the hotel, and meeting the group down at 9:00am to board the bus. The entire group has opted to join a day excursion to Blarney Castle and the town of Cobh.
The first is the famous Blarney Castle. What a sight! With over 60 acres of parklands, including gardens, avenues, arboretums and waterways, Blarney is a true irish treasure.
We first enter the castle and make our way up narrow, spiral staircases and winding passageways up to the very top to kiss the Blarney Stone. There are many tales behind the stone, but for over 200 years, people have joined in making the pilgrimage up the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence.
Once are the top, there is one man who helps you lay down and lean backwards, upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone. One of the best experiences of the trip so far!
After, we have a few hours to explore the gardens, which include a poisonous plants garden, fern garden, druid stones, fairy garden, witch stone, witches kitchen, wishing steps, waterfall, and beautiful botanical gardens all around.
After the castle, we enjoy a quick lunch on our own at the Blarney Cafe of sandwiches before boarding the bus to head 45-minutes to the town of Cobh.
Its our first rainy day here in Ireland, being 62 degrees and a light mist going on all afternoon. Once in Cobh, we have two hours to spend, so half of the group goes over to the Titanic Museum, while the other half of us went over to the Heritage Center. For €10 (or €8.50 if you bring a student ID), you get to go through a beautifully designed museum that goes over the story of Irish emigration, the entire shipping history the town has experienced, including an informative and emotive connection with Titanic and Lusitania.
Each of us were also given a real-life person passenger from one of the ships to find their story somewhere in the museum. I found my character – Denis Lennon, the couple that “Jack and Rose” from the Titanic were taken inspiration from.
After, three of us stroll along the promenade, passing colorful buildings, souvenir shops, pubs, and multi-colored boats bobbing out in the water. We get a spectacular photo op of the Cobh Cathedral before having to walk back down to the bus.
45-minutes back to our hotel and I have some time before we meet for dinner so I make a quick walk down the street to the pharmacy for some allergy medicine (the pollen count is extremely high here right now). Afterward, I meet the group in the lobby and walk over to The Pembroke Restaurant for dinner. We enjoy a luxury 3-course dinner of a choice of a starter, entree and dessert. I chose the chowder, fish and apple tart for dessert. All three were absolutely delightful!
I head back to the hotel to shower, pack up my suitcase and the off to bed!