CIE Tours Travel Blog
From Dublin to Kinsale,
with a little "Blarney" along the way
By: Samantha Henderson
Date: June 13, 2017
The Southern Gems tour of Ireland is off to a great start. Yesterday morning, we left the modern and very accommodating Gibson Hotel in Dublin to visit Russborough House in Wicklow. We met up with a very knowledgeable guide who brought us through the mansion, shedding light on the rich history, as well as more recent events associated with the family who once resided there. In each room, the items within were explained in great detail through captivating stories and explanations of their uses and worth.
Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Later, we returned to Dublin, with an afternoon free to do whatever we wished! Prior to arriving in Dublin, we were each given a voucher granting entry to either the General Post Office Museum, Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Guinness Storehouse, or EPIC Ireland. We were also provided a hop-on hop-off voucher allowing us to view the city via a double-decker bus with informative commentary about the surroundings.
I, like many other guests, elected to visit the Guinness Storehouse. The experience was incredible. Throughout the multi-level building, the history of the famous drink as well as interactive exhibits about how itâ€™s made, came to life. Highlights included a sensory-stimulating tasting experience, learning to pour your own Guinness, and enjoying a pint atop the storehouse with panoramic views of the city of Dublin below.
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
After exploring the highly cultural streets of Dublin, I easily found my way back to the centrally-located Gibson Hotel to prepare for a fun night at Taylor's Three Rock for some Irish music, dancing and comedy. The whole crowd loved it and some guests are still laughing about it today.
This morning, we headed to Blarney Castle. On the way, we stopped to take photos of the Rock of Cashel. This castle is stunning, sitting proudly atop a hill, overlooking an old abbey. We were all glad to have some time to marvel at the sight before hitting the road again.
Once at Blarney Castle, we were left to do whatever we pleased with our time. Most of the guests decided to climb the castle and kiss the blarney stone, something you just have to do once! However, other guests who weren't as keen on climbing stairs to kiss the stone, found other areas of the castle to enjoy.
Blarney Castle, Co. Cork
The gardens surrounding Blarney Castle are gorgeous and many people enjoyed taking their time to wonder amongst the fragrant and eye-catching plants. Others chose to do some shopping at the Blarney Woolen Mills, a popular place to pick up an Irish sweater and other souvenirs. Another option at Blarney Castle was to simply grab lunch at The Mill restaurant. My new friend Helen and I tried the seafood chowder and it was to die for!
Sadly, like every place we visit on tour, we eventually had to part. However, we were also excited to get going, knowing we'd be making our way to Kinsale, a lovely small town surrounding the water. We checked into Actons Hotel in Kinsale and immediately fell in love. Many rooms offered beautiful views of the water and the crowd of boats sitting at the yacht club. It is impossible to become lost in the small town of Kinsale, so most of us ventured out to the pub and enjoyed impressive traditional tunes late into the evening.
Harbour of Kinsale, Co. Cork
The best is certainly yet to come as we travel to Killarney tomorrow...
Meet ya there!