Kinsale, Ireland

About two hours south of Kilkenny lies a small coastal town of Kinsale. Overlooking the River Bandon, you can get to this town by from Kilkenny to Cork, then Cork to Kinsale. And when I say Kinsale is small, I pretty much saved my Irish phone data because I didn’t bother with Google Maps.

Like Kilkenny, there are two main streets full of restaurants and pubs overlooking the marina. This means fresh fish and chips; I went to Dinos Family Restaurant. The portion was huge that I had leftovers for dinner! The view is also nice.

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On the other side of the above pictured are more stores, housing, and hostels. I stayed at the Dempseys Hostel, which sits on higher ground so even though it was not far from the main areas, it was quite a trek.

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My day in Kinsale ended up being a rest day. I wanted to visit Charles Fort, but for some reason, there were not very many cabs registered with MyTaxi (side note: it’s like the Uber of Ireland, but they’re actually registered taxis, and I highly suggest getting an Ireland phone number in order to maximize the use of this app). I tried and tried to hail a cab through the app, and finally accepted defeat and just walked around to see what was open and just ate some tea and pastries.

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Well unfortunately, this thing picture above was closed, so I just took pictures of it. It’s the Desmond Castle and Wine Museum; it did not open until later in the year.

It’s safe to say my time in Kinsale was uneventful, but was definitely not a waste of time. It’s a cute town, which I keep describing all these small towns I visit. The temperature during the day time here was a beautiful 65 degrees Fahrenheit, cooling down in the night time.

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For the next post, we will head west to Killarney, part of the Ring of Kerry. It was there where I realized that  I should have started my trip to the west right away instead of Dublin. This is my plan for the next time I visit. 😉

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Kilkenny, Ireland

Since returning from Ireland, I started a second job, which made it difficult to publish something weekly post-Ireland like I planned. I saved a draft on Kilkenny and scheduled a date to publish it. It got published, but it was clearly unfinished. Oops.

Now on to business.

About an hour south west of Dublin heading to Cork is a small town called Kilkenny. It is easily accessible by Bus Eireann or the Irish Rail (Iarnrod Eireann). I chose the Irish Rail to get to Kilkenny. Now, I have not been on too many trains in my lifetime, but this one was pretty cool. You can book your seat in advance, and to find your seat, your name will be displayed on this super small digital screen. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it. The train has tables and comfortable seats, as well as a trolley service for some snacks and drinks, which I very much geeked out about because Harry Potter.

Kilkenny is significantly smaller than Dublin, but I still got lost trying to find my hostel. The hostel I stayed at is called MacGabhainns Backpackers Hostel. I set up my journey in a way so I can arrive to my destinations in daylight as opposed to past sundown. I arrived too early there so I left my backpack (which had a lock) with the lovely staff. On to get more lost I go.

There were only really two main streets as far as dining and attractions are concerned, so I really had no reason to get lost. But as small as Kilkenny is, it definitely has its charm with its beautiful abbeys and cathedrals. And because I was there for St. Patrick’s Day week, the streets were decorated and looked very lively.

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Not very far from my hostel was the Black Abbey, and not too far from that is St. Mary’s Cathedral. The structure and details of each buildings were very impressive.

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Black Abbey

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St. Mary’s Cathedral

After this, I eventually came across their shopping center. I eventually found a place to eat lunch, and lo and behold, I found Kilkenny Castle.

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To say that Kilkenny Castle is huge is an understatement. It probably deserves a separate blog post for its lengthy history (it was built in the 12th century), as well as other pictures I took inside the castle. I want to say I was in there for about two hours. As I strolled along the hallways of the castle and thought I would be done with the whole thing, I would come to another corner that would lead me to another room or floor.

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I’m afraid I’m not the very best when it comes to sharing information about history, though I certainly love reading about them.

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My night in Kilkenny ended at a restaurant called Charcoal Steak House near my hostel and a gas station (which surprisingly sold yummy pastries and that’s why I’m mentioning it). I didn’t take pictures as the lights were very low. The restaurant was small and cozy. The general manager was friendly and was able to tell me where their food came from! Their bread with butter basket was amazing.

I did not go out at night, as I was traveling alone and my suite mate was resting. Kilkenny has many small pubs with live music, and of course they are very big on soccer. One day is probably enough depending on what you want to do, but I personally would not have minded two or three days!

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Next post will be on another small town, the southern coastal town of Kinsale, overlooking River Bandon!

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Dublin, Ireland

I realize that it’s been 9+ months since I’ve been here. No unique excuses, to be honest, and quite frankly, I’m not sure that we should even be providing excuses for our absences from the inter webs. So without further ado, let’s talk about my recent trip!

I visited Ireland from March 10-19 of this year. Ireland was never really in my “I-HAVE-to-go” list of places to visit, but my younger sister is studying abroad for the semester, so why not. Plus, about three days before Black Friday, tickets were insanely cheap at $397 round-trip from Tampa to Dublin!

I arrived in Dublin around 10am on March 11. As our cab drove through the city, I was instantly charmed by the architecture. Not that I’m an architecture guru or anything, I’m just fascinated by buildings that don’t look like American buildings.

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My first day in Dublin was really just spent on napping, walking, eating, and more walking. Dublin is as touristy as it gets, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I think the temperature there was about 50 degrees Farenheit. Some of the tourist sites were either closed or had tickets sold out like the Jameson Distillery. But we were still able to explore the bar area.

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I was in different towns almost every night until I returned to Dublin on the 16th. Day 2 in Ireland was in Kilkenny, which I will post about next time. Upon returning to Dublin, I visited the number 1 tourist site in Ireland, the Guinness Storehouse.

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The 10,000 year lease on the Guinness Building

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We were blessed by a rainbow at the Gravity Bar on top of the Guinness Storehouse on St. Patrick’s eve!

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Pour your own pint at the Guinness Academy at no extra charge.

St. Patrick’s Day was a blast. The parade was made up of Irish marching bands from schools, firefighters, and performers. There were even marching bands from American high schools and universities, like Washington State and Illinois State Universities. Unfortunately, it rained and I did not take a lot of pictures. I have a few videos, which unfortunately are not of quality. Dublin St. Patrick’s Day is as St. Patrick’s celebration as you can get…crowded bars that smell like smoke and body odor. Luckily, there were plenty of chill spots to go to when you’re tired of that scene.

If you’re more into nature, about 20-30 minutes outside of Dublin is Wicklow Mountains and Howth. We went on a tour bus to Wicklow Mountains where it was extremely windy. Near Wicklow Mountains is Glendalough, where we ended up walking for a bit. Wicklow Mountains houses the water that is supposedly used at the Guinness Storehouse, which unfortunately I could not take pictures of due to the clouds.

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These pictures and even this post really will not be enough to describe Dublin. From my point of view, I think it’s a pretty diverse city with plenty to do, see, and eat – there is something for everyone. This was my first time being in a European country. I was staying at an Airbnb, and the small bathrooms were an adjustment for me. Would I do it all over again? Definitely. My next posts will feature the other towns I visited – namely Kilkenny, Kinsale, Killarney, and then the oh-so-famous Cliffs of Moher.

❤ D

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Weeki Wachee Springs

Yes…I know it’s been a while. So many transitions going on! I still write, just not on this blog. Might have something to do with me not traveling or adventuring as much. Or the fact that I still adventure, but I work about 33 miles away from home and it’s exhausting! Looking forward to moving next month closer to work (yay, another transition)!

For Memorial Day weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting one of Florida’s springs. Yes, there are springs in the nooks and crannies of Florida. I’ve been to Rainbow River before, but many locals suggested that Weeki Wachee springs is “better.”  My friends and I finally had time to check it out!

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There were many people at Weeki Wachee, so it was hard to photograph the scenery without them! Not to mention that it is hard to maneuver a kayak and set up your camera at the same time, without bumping into other people. But look at that crystal clear water! There are plenty of sand bars to stop and take a break, eat your snacks and lunch, and swim around! There are strict rules as to what you can bring to the park, as manatees swim here. We didn’t see a whole bunch of them, but some people saw a mommy and baby manatee. I didn’t go near it because I didn’t want to scare it away!

The springs total 5.5 miles, so plenty of sunscreen, water, food, and depending on the season, bug spray, is a must. When you reach the end of the springs, there is a shuttle that takes you back to the starting point to get back to your car. I’ve kayaked before, but maneuvering the kayak at the beginning was a bit rough because Weeki Wachee is narrow and has lots of turns. Nonetheless, it’s super fun! There was a mermaid show too, but we were too tired and there were mixed reviews online.

Are there springs like this to visit in your home states/towns? Let me know! Weeki Wachee is roughly an hour away north of North Tampa, and an hour and a half away west of Orlando. It’s worth a visit!

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Happy New Year!

 

Last year, I made a “resolution” to “write more”, whether in blog from or in journal form. Nothing specific – I wasn’t aiming for a certain amount of writings or specific topics. While I have been inconsistent with writing, I must say that I really DID write more just for the heck of it! Maybe part of the reason I haven’t found that spark back for this blog is that I feel like I haven’t gone anywhere big this year, even though I have gone to smaller places here and there. And it will be a while before I can probably go on bigger adventures, because there are some things I just have to prioritize first. I’ll get it together eventually lol, but I refuse to fully abandon this because I really do like writing and sharing experiences. Not to mention, others have acknowledged my random ramblings on the interwebs, and I’ve even been asked if I did it for a living! Who knows, maybe one day it can become a part-time gig. Like I said, I have other priorities right now but I have no intentions of abandoning this. Here’s to 2016 – may yours be filled with love, joy, happiness, courage, and strength! 🙂

❤ Donna

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Travel Throwback: Canada (pictures)

Mostly pictures this time, not that much writing. Back to baby steps if I have to in order to meet my goal of posting at least every other week. 🙂

I went to Niagara Falls and Toronto with my family in July 2014 for a few days, about four days after I had gotten back from Panama. My family has already been there once but I haven’t (which is such a long hilarious story that maybe I’ll post about later). Unfortunately, I didn’t take as many cool pictures as I thought I did of that strip of fun by Niagara Falls, housing many shops, restaurants, and attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, mini golf, and a Ferris wheel that provides a wonderful aerial view of the Falls. There was also a sandcastle exhibit that we visited, which was just amazing.

Probably one of the coolest photos that I shot!

Probably one of the coolest photos that I shot!

View from the Ferris Wheel

View from the Ferris Wheel

I wish we had stayed in Toronto a little longer. Chinatown Toronto was an absolute blast because they sold fruits that were native from the Philippines. My parents were so happy! Royal Museum is definitely a must-see, featuring five floors of very diverse forms of art and displays of science. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even see half of the museum! I have more pictures from the museum, so let me know if you’d like to see more.

Awesome fruit stores in Chinatown!

Awesome fruit stores in Chinatown!

Random alley in Chinatown

Random alley in Chinatown

US/Canada border sand sculpture

US/Canada border sand sculpture

Royal Museum

Royal Museum

Royal Museum

Royal Museum

Let me know if you’d like to see more pictures of the sandcastles and the museum! And if you’ve ever been to Canada, what was your experience like?

❤ Donna

Pictures taken by writer. Please link back to this article if using any material from this article.

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Determined

So, I know it’s been well over a month since my last post. I have no new reasons or excuses…but I do know that I’m determined to keep this blog going. I’m afraid I’ve just been hitting all these walls when it comes to motivation and creativity lately. Not just with writing, but even with things like cooking. Hello ‘healthy’ frozen foods lol! I hope you guys are doing well. I am pushing myself to write more here, and what I mean by that is to commit to something consistent. So perhaps instead of weekly posts, maybe every other week. I also have to remember not to beat myself up over not being able to write weekly. And not that we should be comparing ourselves to others, but I also have to remember that others have probably been in this position before. My lack of writing lately doesn’t mean that nothing is on my brain though – it’s actually the exact opposite, and not everything in my brain is appropriate for adventure blogging haha. 🙂 I will continue to read you guys’ blogs like I have and will post more once I get that spark back!

❤ Donna

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