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What’s More Irish: Whiskey, Castles, or the Countryside?

What’s More Irish: Whiskey, Castles, or the Countryside?

It seems as though weeks have gone by since I last blogged. Not because I have been particularly busy, but I have done and seen so many things in just a week and a half. Last Friday, a group of us went to the Jameson Distillery which is about a 15 minute train ride away. The distillery is located in Midleton which is a small town in county Cork. We were able to tour the old distillery where some of the buildings dated back to 1795. After the tour (which was much chillier than anticipated due to old drafty buildings) we were able to warm up with taste testings of whiskey. The taste testing consisted of a half a shot of Jack Daniels, a Scottish whiskey, and, of course, Jameson. In comparison to the other two whiskeys, Jameson was much smoother, most likely as a result of being distilled three times. The end of the taste testing resulted in me receiving my own certificate as a whiskey taste tester– something I will be sure to put on my resume.


The next day, we woke up early, climbed on a bus, and headed to the Rock of Cashel. This trip, provided and organized by USAC, was a fantastic look at one of Ireland’s oldest castles. The castle was gorgeous and one of the few projects that are under Ireland’s preservation work, so it was in excellent shape. We toured the castle which during its time was used as the seat of the kings of Munster and later on the head of the Archbishop of Cashel. The tour was both outside and inside the castle but when we ventured outside it brought be right back to Chicago. Not only is Ireland a bit windy naturally, but the Rock of Cashel sits on top of a hill resulting in extremely strong winds hitting the tour group as we moved in and out. After the tour of the castle ended we had lunch in the town and then went and visited Holy Cross Abbey. The church is still in use today and was a perfect little stop to end our day trip.

inside of the Rock of Cashel
Windy City pt. 2
Holy Cross Abbey

After our exciting adventures, we spent the next day gearing up for the Super Bowl. While one of our friends, Eric, is actually from Boston and was intent on watching the game and rooting for the Patriots, the rest of us had one thing in mind– food. As a group we planned and cooked a feast consisting of wings, chips and guacamole, burgers, fries, crepes, cookies, brownies, and more. After thoroughly stuffing ourselves with as much food as possible we went down to a bar that was showing the game. The game didn’t start until 11:30 and to my great dismay, they didn’t show any American commercials. While this makes sense in hindsight, the sorrow I felt after the first commercial break was extreme. We left in different groups throughout the evening, others lasted much longer than I did, but I went home not even before the end of the first quarter. My excuse was that I was waking up at 8:30 the next morning, but to be honest, if there wasn’t going to be fun commercials to watch, then why stay?

The week passed quickly as usual, and I even had to complete a homework assignment*gasp*! But a 1,000 word article review couldn’t bring me down, as the girls and I planned for one thing to keep us going– treat yo self. For all you Parks and Recreation fans out there you know what this means, and for those who don’t, all your questions will be answered if you just watch this video. Our treat yo self day was in honor of us all no longer being sick and was just what we needed. Since we didn’t have class on Friday, we began our day with brunch at Soho, where we drank champagne cocktails and ate waffles, we then spent all day shopping where I splurged on a purchase of a leather jacket (but that’s ok because treat yo self), we then ate some Mexican food (which was surprisingly delicious) and drank sangria, and ended the day with face masks back at our apartment that we had bought for 1 Euro at H&M. The day was fantastic but at the end we remembered that treat yo self can only happen once and we are now having a save yo money month.


Finally, 5 of us spent all day yesterday in the BEAUTIFUL Dingle Peninsula. I had stayed in Dingle the other time I had come to Ireland when I was 12 and knew I wanted to go back. We booked a Paddy Wagon tour, which put us on a bus with 20 other tourists from around the world as we drove all over the countryside of Ireland and stopped throughout Dingle. The day was too perfect to describe. There was no rain, not even a cloud in the sky, and everything I saw I felt like I was seeing in HD. The tour started in Cork, stopped in Killarney, then went to Dingle where we visited Inch Beach, Coumeenole Beach, and the town of Dingle, as well as taking a number of photo stops along the way. It was a perfect day in every way imaginable, complete with wonderful scenery, a wonderful tour guide, and of course wonderful company.

Inch Beach
Coumeenole Beach


Up next is AMSTERDAM! T-minus 4 days until my first out of the country trip and I cannot be more excited. Until next time…



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