PRESTON –> CORK: Visiting another Hilltopper in Ireland


St. Edward’s student, Chrissie Smith, and I at the top of Blarney Castle.

I was recently lucky enough to visit a fellow Hilltopper who is studying abroad in Cork, Ireland.

This was my first time leaving the United Kingdom to travel around the rest of Europe and I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went. Cheap flights aren’t the most glamorous, but they save you money and get you from Point A to Point B quickly enough. Not to mention the fact that I was all too eager eager to get another stamp in my passport.

Exploring the unique Irish city was a lot of fun, especially with another American who has become familiar with the town. Despite the chilly and drizzly weather, Cork was beautiful. Cork was built on a bunch of little islands, so there are lots of rivers running through the city. The cathedrals are gorgeous and the graffiti art is really stunning.

A literary nerd, I especially flipped out over the giant Oscar Wilde head painted on the side of one building.

Just outside of Cork is the Blarney Castle and Gardens. Prior to departing for Ireland, I had both friends and family members tell me that I had to kiss the famous Blarney Stone while I was there, so I planned on doing so. However, they failed to tell me that in order to kiss the stone, you had to climb to the top of a castle and lean over backwards while lying down… Still, I was able to do it and now it’s a lot of fun to say that I’ve done something that so many people before me, including Winston Churchill, have done.

My favorite part of the trip to Blarney was wandering through the gardens, reading about the history and appreciating the natural beauty. All the landscape in Ireland is so green. Even just driving from the airport to city center gives you the opportunity to appreciate the rolling green hills. It was breathtaking.

All in all, Ireland was a lot of fun, even though the Irish accents are definitely more challenging to understand than the British ones. Most of all, it was fun to see a familiar face again.