Southern Ireland

24 Nov

Over reading week, I visited Cork, Killarney, and Tralee in the south of Ireland with my family. After making the long and scenic journey from Dublin, the first stop we made was Blarney Castle. It was the first castle I had actually gone inside in Ireland. It was very interesting to hear the bits of history, and fun to get to kiss the Blarney stone. After leaving the castle, I finally entered Cork. I had heard that the south of Ireland is different than the north, but I thought for such a small country, the differences had to nominal.

IMG_3131I was wrong. I have grown used to the Dublin accent over the past several months, and I immediately noticed the different, almost gruffer, Cork-accent. The people sounded noticeably different. Most things were relatively similar, although I did notice the pubs featured a different selection of beers than in Dublin. I asked one bartender about it, and he said the ones in Cork are brewed close to it. I was surprised that these beers, which seemed so popular in Cork, can only be found sparsely in Dublin. I had heard how Irish towns held their values and community close, and this seemed to be proven right by my experience with Cork, since the local culture there differentiated from the culture of Dublin.

The next place I visited was Tralee. My younger sister is named after the town, so my family really wanted to visit it. When we asked some people at the hotel about directions, they seemed shocked – they were confused that we would visit such a non-touristy town. From this, I expected a really small, un-lively town. When we arrived, I was surprised to see how beautiful and lively this medium-sized town was. We explored the town, and entered a local church. One woman started talking to my step-mom about why we came to the town. The woman was amazed that my sister was named after the town – to the point that she called the local newspaper. A reporter came down, interviewed my family and my sister, and the article appeared in the Kerry Star this week. This again showed a lot about Irish culture. It shows how close Irish people hold their towns and their communities to themselves. I also liked that the the reporter and the woman classified my sister’s name as town news, I feel like it highlights the quaintness of Irish life.

Killarney was the final place I visited. It was normal compared to the visit to Tralee, but it still was another example of a medium-sized Irish town. I enjoyed the local shops and small downtown. The pub culture existed like the rest of Ireland, and I especially liked the quaintness of it. Overall, the trip was a great way to experience an area of Ireland I had yet to visit. I was happy I could see the differences between souther Ireland and Dublin, and see the range of culture that exists.

– Drew Pomerleau

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