March 31 830 am

Cork is a bustling place. I’ve only walked just a few blocks from my hostel to McDonalds for breakfast (I don’t get free breakfast at this hostel, unfortunately) but it seems to be rather large here. I passed tons of schoolchildren on the way, in their green uniforms and ties. I swear, the colors may be wrong, but it’s like stepping into a Harry Potter movie. For those of you (like me) who didn’t know, schoolchildren actually wear uniforms identical to Harry Potter. It’s also sickeningly sweet to see all the little teeny bopper couples wandering around in their uniforms holding hands.

Cork sits on a river like Dublin, the River Lee. It kinda caught me off guard. It’s no wider than the Liffey in Dublin, but it sits almost level with the ground. The bridges are all almost flat to the water. So apparently boats don’t travel up this river, and a big rain could cause a massive flood.

Cork is a melody of smells. When I crossed the river, that fishy smell you normally find on the coast or in aquariums hit me. Just across the river is a district of shopping stores, and I swear I could smell the new clothes. It’s that particular smell when you walk into a department store. Further on came the smell of food and coffee wafting from the little cafes on the road. The entire display was wonderful. It didn’t smell like this in Dublin.

My hostel was weird at first, after having been in the Kinlay House for so long. It is nice because there are only eight beds in this dorm, and only four other guys in the room with me currently. I got top bunk again, which is what I wanted. The internet is still free, but you have to be on in thirty minute increments, which is turning into a huge pain in the ass for the blogging, lol.

Well, done with breakfast, so off to sightsee!

March 31 1030 am
I’ve photographed the City Hall, Red Abbey bell tower, and St Nicholas church, as well as some great shots of Cork City. Currently I’ve just lit a prayer candle and taken a seat in the Dean’s Chapel inside St Finbarre’s cathedral.

I;ve seen cathedral after cathedral in this country. Many look the same, many are fancier outside than in. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the single most beautiful gothic cathedral I’ve ever laid eyes upon (inside and out). I felt a little odd when I lit my prayer candle, especially as it IS a pagan practice to do so, only I’m doing it in an Anglican church, where my beliefs are a long shot from being anything like theirs. But then I sat in the pew here and I remembered, it doesn’t matter what you believe or how you believe it. What matters is that you believe, that you know there is a greater, positive force at work beyond you. My goddess hears my prayers whether I’m lying at home in bed with a fluffy dog lying on my face or sitting in awe in a 150 year old christian church. Ultimately, we are all striving for the same thing–to live as our deities wish us to live and be fulfilled by that.

I have no words to describe how I feel about this place. Upon turning the street corner and seeing it looming gargantuan over the streets, I was filled with chills. I’m fascinated with the blank stares of the statues by the front door. I’m mesmerized by the utter majesty of this building. The weirdest part? I feel like I’ve been here before. Not in this church that sits here now, but an active church has sat upon these grounds since 606 ad (12 in total, the 12th being the current one). Maybe I’ve lived in Cork before, in a past life, who knows? What I do know is that despite this being a house of the Christian god, I do feel a strong affinity for it.

Mar 31 130 pm
I’ve just arrived in Blarney. A lady working the info desk at St Finnbarre’s told me to eat at the Blarney Castle Hotel, so I’m sitting here at the bar. Soon as I finish my lunch, I’m headed up to Blarney Castle, which is theoretically just a short walk away. Short to the Irish is miles from being short to a lazy American.

I spent the last couple of hours mailing a post card to my sisters (i.e. finding a post office), finding an O2 phone place, then a Vodafone place, then a guy who owns a repair shop to unlock my phone, so I could go back to Vodafone and get my service transferred. O2, the bastards, only allows you to make calls to Tmobile subscribers in the US. I couldn’t even call home if I wanted to! So now I have Vodafone,and I can call anywhere I want. Unfortunately I got way behind on time, I’d wanted to be in Blarney before lunch. Oh well.

Mar 31 420 pm
Blarney Castle is out of this world. This was my first time in a real castle (like I said last week, Dublin Castle wasn’t a castle) and I was like a four year old neglected of toys, set loose in a toy shop. It’s absolutely cool as fuck. It’s crumbling down, nothing but a seven story shell, but you’re allowed to wander it freely. I’ve spent 2 and a half hours on the grounds and in the castle. The grounds are stunning, all sweeping green fields, gnarled trees, and Druidic rocks. The Blarney House (a mansion straight out of a scary movie), the Rock Close (which is a forest with trails and various Druidic/faery type sights), and the creek running through the grounds with various bridges crossing it, are all fun to see.

And yes, I got caught up in it all. I read all the info signs and marvelled at the sheer, forbidding size, the ruined rooms of a once great home, and the incredible, no-words-to-describe-it view from the top of the castle…

I kissed the fucking Blarney stone.

That’s right, laugh please. I’m ashamed of myself. It’s the magic of this place, it’s hard not to get reeled in. So I kissed the damn thing. After all that nay saying, refusing to do it, I did it.

Ha ha. I know.

Mar 31 600 pm
When I was waiting on my bus to take me back into Cork, I got hit on by an Irish guy. He wasn’t remotely attractive, lol, but it was an ego booster. He passed me and smiled, and I’m a nice girl (sometimes) so I smiled back. I was looking at the state of my shoes when he came up beside me and said hello. His exact words, ‘I don’t usually walk up to strange women on the side of the road, but I have to tell you, you are just absolutely stunning. So beautiful.’ We ended up talking for a bit and then he kissed me on the cheek and left. It was a riot. It’s one thing to get hit on at the bus stop, but couldn’t it have at least been a cute one? Of course, no one could ever be as cute as the someone I already have… 😉