Sunday 11th December (coincidently my birthday!)

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We woke up early and went on a horse carriage ride around the national parkland in Kilarney!!  (such a great start to my birthday!!)  Our horse was called Jumbo and we spent an hour and half experiencing the beauty of the national park. (no cars allowed so it was really peaceful).  It was pouring with rain however so we all got completely soaked and cold but it was worth it.  The horse driver told us lots of funny leprechaun jokes as he explained where we were and where movies have been filmed etc.  The parkland was so beautiful, there were amazing lakes and forest and even a castle on an island!  We saw a deer ( just outside eating fruit from the orchard – hahaha sorry had to), it was simply stunning!

We had hot chocolates to warm ourselves up as we got back on the bus.  Everyone sang happy birthday to me and they had bought me a cupcake (with green clover icing!!) We drove to Blarney Castle listening to traditional Irish music which really suited the landscape and the atmosphere of the bus.  Everyone was a little tired from last night so it was quiet and I just drank in the scenery.  We made it to Blarney castle, which turned out to be more than just a castle but a great big estate with beautiful gardens and a river.  We walked through the castle to the top where we took it in turns to kiss the Blarney stone (the thing to do there apparently!!) You had to lie on your back and hold onto the bars behind you and slide down to kiss it upside down!!  Pretty crazy!! I hadn’t realised that it was on the top of the castle and that you had to hang outside the castle upside down to reach it!!  But a cool experience and now I have the gift of the gab for 7 years. Haha. Kevin, Christina and I then walked through the poison garden and then the fairy garden, the latter was amazing – all these natural rock formations, caves and old trees looked like a fairy grotto and you could believe that fairies lived there!!  It was a huge area but we ran out of time to see it all.

We then hopped back on the bus and drove to ‘Rock of Dunmase’ which was an old fortress now in ruins on the top of a hill.  The sun was setting so we got some great photos with amazing views as we were so high and you could climb all over parts of the fort wall or the castle ruins.

We got back to our hostel (Paddy’s palace) in Dublin and some of the group had to keep travelling on so we said goodbye (it was sad, even though we had only spent 2 days together it felt like we were all really close!)  There were about 10 of us staying the night at the hostel so we went out and bought ingredients to make dinner together.  We all sat around the hostel long dinning table which was really nice.  I got a lovely ‘birthday cake’ (caramel icecream with candles) and happy birthday sung again and a beautiful card and watch.  It was a lovely birthday and everyone made me feel so special.   The hostel had a copy of P.S I love you so we sat around and watched that and got very excited when we saw scenes from Ireland!!  A few of us went out to ‘Temple Bar’ one of Dublins more famous bars but it was closing being a Sunday so we didn’t get much time there, but it was a beautiful traditional Irish pub with amazing Christmas decorations and a great atmosphere so we planned to return another night.  We got told about another place that would be open until late but when we got there it was really sleazy so we went home.  Thus ended my 22nd birthday – such an amazing day that I never want to forget.

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