Ireland Intrigues: County Cork and County Galway

The south-west of Ireland offers rolling hills, scenic vistas and wide open spaces, combined with some old-fashioned Irish hospitality. As GEORGIA DAWES discovers, counties Cork and Galway offer the perfect opportunity for a countryside getaway, with minimum fuss.

 
 

800px-Blarney_Castle

I LOVE living in London but I must admit I really do miss that green stuff. You know – the green stuff that you walk on. You must remember it, it’s called…grass. If you miss grass as much as I do, you must visit Ireland. Trust me, they don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing.

Recently I packed my extremely small bag (I was trying to be thrifty and didn’t want to pay for baggage) and boarded a very early flight wedged very tightly between two other passengers. Though, seeing as I was the penny pinching one that bought the cheapest ticket available, on the cheapest airline, I can’t complain. I was County Cork bound, and ready for some good old fashioned Irish hospitality, fresh air and a pint too many of Guinness.

Gift of the gab

Situated on the southern tip of Ireland, County Cork is famous for the Blarney Stone set into Blarney Castle in 1446. With just a little kiss on its cold stony ‘lips’, the Blarney Stone promises the kisser the gift of the gab and is thus a must visit for those who love history, Irish legends and a little smooch.

However, to obtain the gift of the gab there is a catch. Not only must you kiss the stone (no tongues please), you must also lay down on your back with your head and upper back hanging over the edge of a castle in order to kiss it. Don’t worry – there is always a muscle man or woman there to help you, though I suggest you stretch first.

Captivating Cork

After receiving the Gift, head to Cork city centre for a spot of shopping. With your new found eloquence I assure you will that you will be to get yourself a great bargain.

There is also a wonderful food market called ‘The English Market’ which has a great range of delights, from fresh fruit to baked goods to keep you warm. If you are feeling a little weary after your shopping spree

there are plenty of great cosy Irish pubs within a stone’s throw to enjoy a cider or an Irish coffee. It took only two hours of shopping until I found myself with Irish coffee in hand.

Gorgeous Galway

After a few days of shopping, drinking, enjoying the countryside and sweet talking everyone in Cork, I headed north for County Galway, where potatoes and fantastic hospitality are never in short supply.

Galway is the perfect place to get your legs in motion and breathe in some fresh air. With skeletons of beautiful old castles heavily scattered across the county you are bound to cross one on your walking route. Who used to live there? How did they used to live? Your mind, like mine, will run wild with possibilities of what used to be.

Also, on your walking route you are bound to find, as I did, horses and cows and sheep doing … well not much more than eating and making noise, but they are great to admire.

After a long day of walking I can guarantee that you will be more than ready for a few drinks, and if your legs aren’t too tired, a good old Irish gig. Galway has a number of great pubs featuring live music and a great party atmosphere. Head in early and grab a few drinks at a cosy pub before hitting the dance floor like a rock legend at a bar. Finish the night by heading to Galway’s own fast food restaurant Supermac where all the other late night revellers (and I mean ALL) will be enjoying a midnight snack.

If you are looking for a relaxed holiday where you will be extremely well looked after, and which combines outdoor adventures, history and some delicious beverages, County Cork and County Galway on the south-west coast of Ireland are definitely for you.

 
 

 

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