Put A CORK In It

6/13

After two wonderful days spent in Dublin, it was time to make our way to the southern part of the island. The boys went to the airport to pick up our rental car as Anna and I packed up and cleaned the Airbnb. Since there was a little bit of drama at the car rental, we had to carry all 8 of our bags down three flights of stairs. That was NOT fun. We were in desperate need of coffee afterwards and sat down at the cafe next door and had the best americano we’ve ever had. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

The boys finally picked us up an hour later with quite a story. We mistakenly rented the Avis car through Expedia instead of Avis directly. We spent $88 on insurance we thought we needed. In fact, that insurance was worth nothing. Once the boys arrived to pick up the car the were informed that the still had to pay full coverage insurance on top of what we already have to pay for the rental. Let’s just say it was an extra $400 we didn’t plan on spending. Too bad my brother doesn’t work for enterprise anymore. The car was a decent size, but we had quite a bit of luggage and trying to  maneuver it to fit in the trunk was a task. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

We forced them to fit and I could barely see Anna sitting next to me. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

After Nico learned how to navigate driving ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE of the car and road, we found our way driving up a mountain. I had found a famous restaurant upon my research for our trip and knew we had to stop there on our way to Wicklow Mountain National Park. It is called Johnnie Fox’s Pub. From celebrities to US Presidents, everyone stops at Johnnie’s. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

It was incredibly decorated with old farming tools and mismatched seating and tables. Johnnie Fox’s is known for being the highest pub in Ireland! 

FullSizeRender.jpg

And the food was GOOD. I finally got my fish and chips with a Guinness to wash it down. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

We all agreed it was a delicious spot and highly recommend!

FullSizeRender.jpg

This is the view from Johnnie’s!  

FullSizeRender.jpg

This may sound silly, but all of Ireland is incredibly green. Really, I mean it’s really, really green! These views seem to never get old. After lunch we made our way to Wicklow Mountains National Park.  The incredibly beautiful park is full of history, beautiful old buildings and scenery. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

I don’t mean to get mushy, but everyday we take a moment to stop and realize how lucky we really are. We are lucky to have friends like one another. We are lucky to be able to travel the world with each other. These experiences and memories will be forever embedded in us and will last a lifetime. These are stories we will share with our future children! 

I am forever grateful for these three.  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Now that that’s off my chest. I highly recommend walking through this beautiful park. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Onwards to Cork. We needed to get back to the car and make our way towards Cork City. Nico only ended up on the right (wrong) lane a couple times. As long as Jonathan says “left way is the best way,” he remembers which side of the road he’s supposed to be in. I think we’re all a little thankful for the constant reminder. 

As we were driving Nico took a sharp turn because he noticed a beautiful valley and he wanted to take picture. We were in complete awe. Anna and I both agreed it reminded us of the Great Valley from Land Before Time. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

After a long 3 hour drive we finally made it to Cork. Our Airbnb was located on the most lovely street and again ended up in the perfect location.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

We decided to keep it simple and pick up pizza and wine for dinner. We needed a night in! 

FullSizeRender.jpg

6/14

We woke up ready to take on the day. Although, still a little tired, we couldn’t wait to explore this beautiful city we had heard so much about. First stop had to be the English Market for lunch at the Farmgate Cafe. We had so much fun walking through the city! It was so colorful and the people were so friendly. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

The English Market was surprisingly tucked in  this little alley! I was honestly expecting it to be this big, grand outdoor mall. We almost passed it! 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

I ordered a flat white and a chicken, tomato, mozzarella, and pesto sandwich. It was delish. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

After lunch we were all in need of something sweet. Hello chocolate. This chocoholic was a happy girl.  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Stuffed and happy. 

FullSizeRender.jpg

After a little more exploring we decided to make our way to Blarney Castle. I am pretty sure I can speak for all of us and say that we were completely blow away by the grounds and it’s beauty. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

(Thank you for the photo fellow American travelers!) ⬇️

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

You have access to walk through different parts of the gardens and castle, including the old dungeons. I will probably suggest avoiding this if you are at all claustrophobic. The smallest, tiniest cave like dungeon that was packed with tourists was a nightmare. I have never felt more claustrophobic. 

IMAGE.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

The sun was shining for us when we escaped.  

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Now, it’s time to kiss the Blarney Stone! They say if you kiss the stone upside down you will recieve the gift of gab. I never heard that it was actually at the top of the castle.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Jonathan and Nico have a small fear of heights and we’re not thrilled with the idea. The stairwells were not only steep, but extremely narrow and not and easy climb for us all. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

  Alas! After a 30 minute climb up to the top, we made it! All four of us now have the gift of gab. And yes, people, yes! I have heard that locals pee on the stone, but I’d rather not believe that. Even though it totally looks like they may. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

I’m so proud of Nico and Jonathan for facing their fears and laying upside down over a castle wall! HA! Once I was there my legs were shaking. Here my “I did it!” photo.

IMG_0829.JPG

WE ALL DID IT! 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Afterwards we headed back to Cork to freshen up for dinner. We ended up going to Strasbourg Goose for delicious seafood. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

The food and service was phenomenal. We have really hit the jackpot with food on this trip. I highly recommend coming here if you find yourself in Cork! 

Our last night in Cork was spent a bar close to our Airbnb called Coughlan’s. It was the perfect atmosphere to close out our time in the wonderful city and send us on our way to our next stop. This neighborhood bar is a must and had the friendliest bartenders. I have found that the Irish geniuinly want tourists to have a good time. They always ask how we like Ireland, how journey has been so far and where we’ve been, and how we’re adapting the weather. Once they hear we’re from Atlanta they realize why we’re dressed like it’s winter. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

The rain held out for this beautiful photo. I hope to come back to Cork one day and explore more of this city. I DO have to say I preferred it over Dublin! 

 

Cheers, 

 

The Quintanas

Megan Quintana