Day 6 of Tech Trek 2017: The Blarney Stone and saying Slán go fóill

By Paul Tallon, Ph.D.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so today was the day to let our hair down and enjoy Cork. After checking out of our hotel, we traveled to Blarney Castle. 120 spiral stairs steps later, we reached the top of the castle.

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Lie down on your back, grab the bars, lean over, don’t look down, kiss the stone… cherish the experience of a lifetime and the promise of eloquence that comes from kissing the Blarney Stone.

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After visiting other parts of the castle—the caves, gardens, and waterfall—we moved on to Blarney Woolen Mills. For those who don’t pay attention to these things, Blarney Woolen Mills is the largest Irish goods store in the world. Load up on your tax-free souvenirs. If you can’t get it here, it’s because it doesn’t exist. After a quick lunch at the Mill, it’s back on the bus and onwards to Cobh.

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Cobh is synonymous with Irish emigration. It’s a beautiful, quaint little seaside town that holds a lot of secrets and where many tears have been shed over the centuries when Irish people left Ireland forever to travel to various parts of the world.

We first visited the Titanic Experience to hear about the fate of the first, second, and third class Irish passengers who boarded the Titanic when it called to Cobh in April 1912. Most of those who boarded died a few days later when the Titanic sunk.

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Next, we visited Cobh Heritage Center to hear about Irish emigration while others climbed the hill to see St. Colman’s Cathedral that overlooks the town. The weather Gods were with us all day and before we knew it, we were looking for ice cream… in Ireland… in March.

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At 4 p.m., we jumped back onto our bus for our trip back into the train station in Cork. Three hours later, we’re in Dublin for our last night in Ireland. And what happens in Dublin on our last night stays in Dublin. Much fun was had, stories were swapped, good times. Tomorrow morning, we’re back at the airport and on our way home. (At the time of this post, the group has landed safely in the U.S.)

Thanks for following us on our journey through Ireland. The 15 companies we visited were amazing. We learned a ton, saw a lot, experienced new sights and sounds. Ireland moved us out of our comfort zone and that’s a good thing. Slán go fóill, Ireland. We’ll be back to see you again sometime.

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Read other posts from the class’s travels here.

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