February was all about exploring Dublin County. I visited Malahide, which is home to a small but expensive to visit castle, and Howth, a seaside town with some amazing hikes and lots of fish, and then explored the city itself later on when my friend Will and his mom arrived and required a local(ish) tour guide.
Howth was probably the highlight of places visited over the month. The town is located on a peninsula (that’s located directly under the flying in from the continent approach to Dublin airport, I later discovered), and it’s really a phenomenal place. The first time I went I just took the train up by myself (it’s only about thirty minutes) and wandered around the little town before heading to the highest point along the cliffs, where I ran into some dolphins playing around off the coast and took some pretty cool photos.
I returned to Howth later in the month with friends, but that day was not nearly as warm (the first run was 52 degrees but windless, whereas the second was 55 but nearly knocked us off the path into the frothing ocean below). Also, the skies were much hazier that day.
The biggest trip of the month, however, was down to Cork and the nearby Blarney Castle. The Rebel City proved to be worth the visit, boasting at least three excellent breweries (we went a little wild), some delicious pizza, and a local landmark in the form of Blarney Castle that lived up to the hype. The stone itself, which is accessed by lying on one’s back on the sixth floor of a centuries old castle and is peed upon by conniving local teenagers, was something I skipped. Fun fact about the Blarney Castle, it features a system of natural underground caves understood by only the former occupants of the castle, and in times of siege everyone inside could just sneak out when things got too serious. Also, they let you just walk in them.
Post Cork visit there wasn’t much to do but attend classes and await the arrival of Will and Company. Things picked up after they arrived, however, as I set out to make the most of my friend’s first visit to Europe (by which I mean eating at as many places as humanly possible). Our last activity before they drove off into the sunset was a tour of the Jameson distillery, where I discovered that while I really like Jameson’s merchandise, I do not particularly like Jameson itself. Making matters worse was the fact that we’d celebrated Will’s 21st birthday the day before, and while he had recovered with no difficulties, I spent the post-Jameson portion of the next day sitting in bed eating tums like they were chips. That did not stop me from smiling for a gazillion photos, however.
Will’s visit took me right up to the end of this excellent month, and if I thought my life was busy then, it was only because March hadn’t happened yet. In retrospect, January was about moving in to Dublin, and February was about easing in to being abroad. March has been a different story.