Cork, Cobh, and Blarney Castle
Upon arriving in Cork, the first thing we thought was this is not what we were expecting. From what research I did online, I envisioned Cork to be a small waterfront town with small streets and colourful homes. It was much larger than we expected and much more city-like. This kind of threw us off as we aren't really "city" people when it comes to travelling, we prefer small towns and villages with lots of history and culture.
Anyways, we got settled into our hotel and drove to Cobh (pronounced Cove). Cobh is the home to the last port the Titantic left before it's ill-fated journey, so we were excited to walk around just knowing that. Unfortunately we arrived later in the evening and did not have much daylight to explore which caused us to miss the iconic view we had driven there for in the first place. Regardless we enjoyed dinner at The Quay on the water and walked around this sleepy town with Aspen in tow.
The next morning we ate breakfast at Nosh & Coffee which you wouldn't really expect to be all that good, it was attached to a mall and just looked like any generic coffee shop but my goodness this place was so delicious we went back twice for breakfast! After filling our stomachs we headed to Blarney Castle to explore. We loved this stop and although expensive to get through the gates, we would highly recommend spending the money. We climbed up steep winding stair cases, through small doors into each room of the castle which dates back to 1446. And yes you better believe that when we reached the top I kissed the Blarney Stone. Seriously I don't understand why this is such a big thing but it's THE thing to do if you visit this castle. For over 200 years people from all walks of life, rich and famous, politicians, normal every day citizens have been laying down backwards and leaning over the edge of the castle wall and kissing a stone. Story has it that once you have kissed this stone, you gain the gift of eloquence. Myles wasn't really into it considering he is terrified of height and leaning over the edge of a castle to kiss a rock didn't really sit right with him, but I just had to join in on it. And hey if anything, I can at least say "Yes I did kiss the Blarney Stone". After climbing back down, we explored the gardens and other historic buildings on the property before driving to find Blackrock Castle.
Upon arrival, we realized Blackrock Castle was a lot smaller than we anticipated but we we none the less impressed with how it jetted out into the bay. Once at the castle we were bummed to find out that it has been turned into an observatory and was hosting a children's birthday party in the next room over. We debated back and forth whether we wanted to pay to get into the castle converted observatory and decided that we were fine not going inside. I'm glad we didn't spend the extra money because we didn't venture all the way there to see something like the equivalent of Science World, we went to see a castle.
After that disappointment we headed into Cork to explore the city. We walked through town and ate lunch at a small restaurant called A14. Again, we were so impressed with how accommodating these tiny restaurants were with us having a baby. There was most definitely no room for the stroller inside so they folded it up and stored it for us just outside on their patio and then somehow they fit a highchair beside our table. It was squishy but the food was amazing and the wait staff were so kind. After some more walking around Cork, we headed back to the hotel in hopes Aspen would sleep a little, spoiler alert... there was no sleeping. We ended that night by walking to a local pub down the street called the WhiteHorse where we ate and drank with locals. Everyone was so kind and interested in our trip and Aspen. We had many great conversations with locals who seemed genuinely interested in our lives and excited for us. This was a great end to our stay in Cork and definitely made the stop in this town worth it even if it wasn't what we were expecting, plus we visited Nosh & Coffee our last morning before heading to Fenit.