2016-04-30 / The Bullhorn

Spring break results in fun trip, disastrous return

By Kayleigh Long
Bullhorn Report er

RCS sophomore Kayleigh Long, center, is pictured in Ireland with her parents, Tom and Trish Long. RCS sophomore Kayleigh Long, center, is pictured in Ireland with her parents, Tom and Trish Long. During spring break, I took a breathtaking tour of the Emerald Isle, along with my family and tour group. While the trip was fun, coming home had its bumps.

On Friday, my family and I headed to the airport and met with our group. Katie, our group guide, made sure that we got on the correct flights on time. After we landed, we gathered our bags and met up with our tour guide, Joe. He was a charming and funny gentleman, and made sure that we arrived to our tour destinations safely and informed us about the areas we traveled to.

The first two days of the tour were spent in Dublin, a large port city. It was so cold the first day that I had to purchase leggings to keep my legs warm. It was also raining, which I learned happens often in Ireland; almost every few hours. We toured the city with another tour guide who told us about the Easter Rebellion. He showed us historical sites and told us the story behind them.

The 1916 Rebellion was an armed insurrection during Easter week mounted by Irish Republicans to end the British tyranny in Ireland and establish an Independent Irish Republic. The first Irish flag was flown over the General Post Office in Dublin during the rebellion. The second day, we watched a military parade celebrating the Easter Rebellion march in the streets. We also visited the National Museum of Archeology and saw 2,000-year-old bog bodies that were mummified in the bogs of Ireland. Some of the bog bodies still had hair and teeth. We were also able to see 4,000-year-old Viking artifacts.

Our next stop was Blarney, where we visited the Blarney castle, a building with a garden full of toxic plants, called the “Poison Garden.” I was surprised to see that rosemary was a toxic plant.

The main event of the visit to Blarney Castle was kissing the Blarney Stone. Legend has it, if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you are given the gift of gab, which refers to talking eloquently about nonsense. My group climbed to the top of the Blarney Castle via twisting spiral staircases and got in line to kiss the Blarney Stone.

The next day, we took a jaunty (carriage) ride in Killarney. We rode through Killarney National Park, which was boggy and had a multitude of greenery. Lichen grew on the trees, which according to our jaunty driver means the environment is unpolluted. We saw little grey deer and red-brown deer, which we learned were Japanese and Irish red deer.

We also stopped to explore a castle. That night, we ate Irish stew. The meal was good, but seeing the arteries in the meat creeped me out.

The next day, we drove around the Ring of Kerry and took in breathtaking views of mountains and lakes. The highlight for me was stopping by a mountainside and meeting a man who was letting tourists hold his baby lambs, goat, and red deer.

On our return to Dublin, we toured the Dublin Castle, which was built on the spot of the first Viking fortress. We also saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral, an ornate structure built on the site where Saint Patrick baptized Pagan converts.

While walking the streets of Dublin, I saw Murphy’s Ice Cream Shop. I tried honeycomb and Dingle Bay sea salt ice cream. Both flavors were tasty — so tasty that I bought them a second time.

Our stay in Ireland was wonderful, but our trip back home was a disaster. Our group awoke at 4 a.m. to drive to the airport just to find our flight was canceled. We booked another after an hour of planning, but it was canceled as well.

My family was able to book a flight to New York, where we spent the night. We only got four hours of sleep in a small hotel until we woke up at two in the morning to book our flight to Charlotte. A Raleigh flight was not available. My aunt, Melloni, drove my family to the Raleigh airport so that we could get our car. We were relieved when we arrived home.

We decided not to take another international vacation next year.

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