Monday, October 19, 2015

Those Scotland Days

Currently missing a piece of my heart, because it’s been left behind in Edinburgh.
My first weekend outside of Ireland was spent in a town untouched and unharmed by industrialism. A city where anything seems possible: where gelato can be eaten on a stretch of grass below a castle; where ghosts roam the confines of a graveyard; where Harry Potter can be born. Where magic lives.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's (Almost) Christmas in Killarney

For the final leg of my independent travel weekend, I visited Killarney, which is about two hours outside of Dingle. Having been on my feet consistently for two days straight, for almost twelve hours each day, I'll admit that I was very much looking forward to a bus ride where I could lean back, pull out my headphones, and be transported through the fantastic hills and valleys that make up this region of Ireland. We had a layover in Tralee, and then another thirty minute bus ride before I was let off at the Killarney Outlet Centre and Bus Station. I used the small station's wifi to get directions to my bed and breakfast, and lugged my duffel down the drizzly road.

My lodging, the Slieve Bloom Manor was about fifteen minutes outside of the center of town, but I was staying on a busy stretch of gas stations, convenience stores, and bed and breakfasts. I was greeted warmly by the owner and, upon asking for suggestions on how best to get to the Muckross Estate in the Killarney National Park, was given pamphlets for different shuttle buses and times. Thanking her, I dropped my things and headed back towards town, wandering through the busier center in wait for the three P.M. shuttle.

Single in Dingle

“I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free.”
And that’s exactly what a solo journey to Dingle and Killarney gave to me.
I recently began blogging for the Champlain Abroad Dublin website, and in my first post discuss the tying up of ends that brought me to southwestern Ireland.
Basically, an independent travel weekend is something that I have craved for over a year, in planning my time abroad. Everything that I read on the subject only blasted more stars into my eyes. There’s something inherently romantic about the idea of going off on uncharted territory (for you) alone. And truth be told, the stories and mishaps I hoped for lie in wait for me to find, and I was more than willing to run to them.