We hopped on a bus to tour the Southern countryside of Ireland that day, along with two college students from Ohio, two couples who didn’t speak to anyone, and about 20 rowdy Australians and New Zealanders. The first stop was this castle, which was uninteresting inside, so we decided to take advantage of the photo-op it provided. This kind of sun is very rare in Ireland. It’s normal for August to be rainy and gloomy, which it was for the entire duration of our time there, except for an hour or two this morning:

After picking up lunch and eating it on the bus, we went down in some caverns, and at the bottom there was a natural “stage” where some musicians had held concerts for small groups because of the amazing acoustics. The tour guide asked if anyone could sing, and one woman volunteered to sing “Amazing Grace” to demonstrate. Then we headed to the famous Blarney Castle.

We hiked up to the top through the twisty ancient stairs made of stone, and this was our view:

It was so ridiculously windy at the top of the castle that I could barely hold my camera (or myself) straight,

so after being held upside down through a hole in the wall three stories up to kiss the Blarney Stone, we climbed back down and explored the beautiful grounds.

Later that night we had dinner with the Aussies and then went to a pub to see an Irish storyteller.