Co. Cork, Ireland
After wrapping up my first year of school, I decided to treat myself to a solo getaway. I have traveled independently before and I absolutely love it! This time in particular though I felt I needed it. I needed to go far away, surround myself with nature, people I can get on well with, and a unique experience all wrapped in one.
When it comes to travel I do have a list but it’s extensive and not really prioritized. The priority comes at the time of the trip. It might be based on how I’m feeling at that point in my life (tired, energized, soul searching, curious, etc.), maybe the sentimentality of the location, perhaps even just a specific thing that place has to offer that I’m ready to try right then. Point being, there are few places I don’t desire to visit, so when opportunity presents itself I like to consider what’s going on with me, where my mind and spirit are... as close to the trip dates as possible. (Cause booking early is a thing I must do. I ain’t ballin yet.)
So how and why did I decide on Cork, Ireland?? A most popular question I’m finding when sharing my story with people. The “plan” to visit Ireland, the fascination with it, has been long established, friends. But long story short, through my family name, the potential to find familial ties sparked a secondary level of very personal interest in the land some years ago, on top of the already existing infatuation with Irish culture, history, landscape, literature, etc. Not to get to spiritual or sentimental but it’s definitely a place that calls to me (and many others I’m sure) in a very real and deep way. A way that I can’t explain or even fully understand except when I'm literally standing in the midst of it all! Okay I’m done with the dramatics for now.
Follow up, the decision to visit Cork, specifically Kinsale, Cork, came through some searching and looking into the character of different towns in the countryside. This trip was coming at a time where I was exhausted from school, and deprived of my very real need to be near greenery and natural bodies of water. So once I looked into the size, scenery, food, and activities of this MARITIME region (hello, YAS1) I was sold, duh. All my loves in one peaceful ass place. Omg. And yes yes there’s always a bit of a gamble when going somewhere new but I knew I didn’t want a city or westernized experience in Ireland. I didn’t want to be busy or have too much available that it overwhelmed my days (and me). I didn’t want to leave feeling like I had missed out on things, you know?
So Cork it was and I found a beautiful affordable air BnB home to stay at in the town of Kinsale. And I probably had the BEST welcome wagon a girl could ask for, which is a large group of adorable Irish children on a plane practicing their Spanish with you and getting beyond excited that you're going to be living in their town. Yea this trip started and ended that incredible.
( I may have cried after I left them. )
Before I get into some of the details of the experience, let me just take a second to brag on my family away from family (aka my air BnB hosts) The Murphys. Ma and Pop Murphy (and dog Murphy) have a beautiful home a couple mile outside of town they shared with me and made so mine I'm not sure where else I would have ever stayed. They are this sweet, caring, lively couple that took me in like their child visiting from college! I spent my entire first night drinking wine, watching late night tv, and talking with Ma Murphy until the wee hours about life, history, healthcare, neighbors in the area, just everything. The comfort that came with staying with them was immediate and innate. Days I felt too lazy to go to town I watched World Cup matches and reality tv with Pop Murphy while he grilled me about being single and dog Murphy sat in my lap.
In short, it was perfection, and I love them. Oh wait and there INCREDIBLE garden! When I tell you I would have happily slept in the midst of all their various flowers and bushes.... Gardens are something people in Ireland take great pride in like American dads do their lawns. But you won’t find a home without an ornate, diverse garden. And to top it all off in a land with the most abundant and beautiful natural flora just growing along every road and walkway. Just the most. Like actually. In the best way. Okay moving on.
I don’t want to necessarily paint a picture of everything I did in (and slightly out) of Cork. I really just want to hit some highlights and brag on the people. Half the places I went can be seen on a tourist website but it’s the people that were there when I went that made it special and that made me feel at home. And I did feel very much at home this entire trip.