I landed at Dublin Airport, immediately made my way into Hueston Train Station (€6) where I jumped on a train to Killarney. It took me a while to find Killarney Railway Hostel in the dark; although like its name suggests it was very close by! I thought it was a wonderful hostel, the rooms reminded of lodges, and were spacious with good facilities and location. My first day there I hired a bike for €12 and set off for the National Park. All the Irish people are so friendly; everyone has time for a chat. I visited Muckross House and gardens, a traditional farm and I cycled around to Dendis cottage and the Meeting of the Waters before finishing up at the waterfall. My lack of biking meant that I was very sore; however I thought I should pop into Ross Castle on my way home. The town was very cute, and the whole place had a homely feel about it.
The next day I caught a €10 bus to Tralee (45 minutes). When I arrived I had to walk some distance to the Kings Court Apartments which is where my friend’s family were staying. The Bazalo’s were very kind to have me crash with them during the final nights of the Rose of Tralee Festival, in which their daughter Lisa, who was also my friend, was representing New Zealand in. The rest of the day was spent wandering around town with Lisa’s sisters Michelle and Jess, visiting Penney’s (Ireland’s equivalent of Primark) and keeping our eyes peeled for the ‘travellers’ who had come to town.
The two nights I was in Tralee coincided with the TV nights; in which all the Roses from around the world were interviewed on live television, and often would show off a talent they had. The event was very formal, and I battled with my ‘traveller’s wardrobe’ to find something appropriate to wear. When Lisa was being interviewed we moved to special seats where we met up all her Irish cousins and supporters to hold NZ flags, posters and banners and have our turn on TV. Her special talent was teaching the presenter and the audience how to do a traditional Maori greeting (known as a hongi). After both nights huge celebrations were to be had, and the Irish sure know how to party!
Early the next morning I got dropped at the train station and travelled back to Dublin. After dropping my stuff off at Isaacs hostel (which was really close to Connolly train station) I went for a wander to Temple Bar, Trinity College, St Stephens and of course the shops. Dublin was fantastic; I wish I had taken the opportunity to go there earlier in the semester with a group of friends rather than being by myself, as it was a definite party town.