This post is part of our Eurotrip Series. You can find the rest of the series here.
Eurotrip Day 3 was all about castles! We drove from Cork to Dublin and visited Blarney Castle, The Rock of Cashel, and Kilkenny Castle along the way. The first two were ruins, while the last was a fully restored castle. All were impressive in their own respect, but our favorite was Blarney Castle. Kissing the Blarney Stone was definitely a bucket list item checked. I also made my first attempt at driving in Ireland today…I only ran into the passenger side curb once…okay, maybe twice.
- Adventures – Write-ups of the activities we enjoyed during our visit.
- Hotel Spotlight – Where we stayed and our review of the accommodations.
Of the three castles on this day, Blarney Castle was the most well-preserved in its original state. Admission cost is 12.50 euro/person. We climbed the spiral staircases and explored the bedrooms, kitchens, and living areas of the castle. While the wood and roofing have long-since deteriorated, the stone shell of the castle provides a great depiction of what life was like for the family. Of course, we had to climb to the top of the castle and kiss the Blarney Stone! As the castle’s website states, “To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.” The castle grounds also feature some wonderful gardens and waterfalls.
Brooke’s Turn to Drive
Day 3 was when I got my first chance at driving on the “proper” side of the road!
Rock of Cashel
The Rock of Cashel is a 15th century castle sitting high atop a hill over its surrounding city. Once inside, we realized that the castle’s impressive exterior is mostly empty and in ruins. The massive walls are beginning to crumble, and the Cormacs Chapel was under renovation during our visit. This was a bit of a disappointment, because we had already paid the 7 euro entry fee, and we could not visit the chapel or even look inside.
While the inside of the castle was underwhelming, the exterior was very impressive. As I mentioned, it sits high atop a hill, so the view in all directions is very nice. We stood along the outer edge of the grounds and marveled at the rolling, green, sheep-filled fields around the castle.
Our third and final castle of the day was Kilkenny Castle. This twelfth-century fortress sits on the River Nore in the city of Kilkenny. We parked along the street nearby and walked through the massive lawn of the castle, which also serves as a city park. The entry fee here was 7 euro/person, and the castle closes early (between 4:30-5:30pm).
Once inside, we discovered that the 12th century exterior had been completely remodeled and decorated in the 1830’s splendor of the Victorian era. We walked through the enormous rooms, including an art gallery, library, drawing room, and bedrooms.
After dropping our bags at our AirBnB, Jesse and I walked to downtown Dublin on a mission to find some authentic fish and chips. We ended up in the Temple Bar District, where we ate dinner at The Norseman. The fish and chips were DELICIOUS! We also had some kind of brie and jam tart that was heavenly. After dinner, we walked down the block to THE Temple Bar for a pint and some fantastic live music.
Hotel AirBNB Spotlight
On this night, we began a two-night stay in Dublin at another AirBnB. On the surface, the place seemed to be a steal at $50/night. However, the pictures on the listing did not accurately depict the condition/cleanliness of the actual apartment. Our hosts were difficult to reach, and there was no available parking nearby (other than 2.75euro/hr street parking). Jesse did find a public parking garage six blocks away, and they graciously gave us the “hotel parking rate.” Tip – If your Dublin AirBNB doesn’t have parking, go to Q-Park Clerys at 1 Marlboro St. Ask for the hotel rate to save 50% on 24-hr parking!
Once we were finally able to contact our hosts, they led us down a back, “graffiti-decorated” alley to the apartment (see picture). Not a great first impression. The apartment was also freezing cold, but luckily we had a space heater in our room that we ran the whole time we were there. Cleanliness of the place was not up to my standards (nothing like the pictures), but overall we survived. This listing is no longer active on AirBnB when I last checked – probably a good thing.