Day 27

Hearing: very loud wind, a CD of trad songs
Feeling: the tide run in over my shod feet, wind whipping through my hair, both ears aching
Seeing: waves break on the rocks, the morning sunlight hitting buildings on one side of the street
Tasting: carrot soup, some small glazed cupcakes (one vanilla and 1/2 chocolate)
Smelling: ocean water

Today was long, and illness made it difficult, but I’m glad I pushed through.

The USAC kids boarded the bus at nine. All throughout our journey, I was thinking about how I’m still not used to the Irish roads. They are so narrow, as are the sidewalks, with very little buffer between them. The turn on the narrow road in the huge, glassy beast we were riding in made me miss my family’s Nissan Leaf. Oh, and even the buses are stick shifts.

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The Sunday sun rises over Clonakilty.

Our first stop was in a small town Clonakilty. Being Sunday morning, almost nothing was open except for a few cute cafés, but the idea was to get a feel of the town. Clonakilty had won awards for being a nice town, and walking through you could understand why. After that brief stroll, we boarded again on our way to Mizen Head.

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One of the alleyways coming out from the main street.

We knew that we were at Mizen when there was quite literally no more road to drive. “Go any farther and the next stop is New York,” Mary said. Seeing the waves break against the cliffs of the jagged edge of the country was certainly a sight to make your jaw go slack.

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The sea foam looks like snow.

The place was covered in a system of steep, narrow paths, bridges, and stairs that let us look down over the cliffsides.

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The foam was blown around by wind and formed little eddies in the air like leaves in autumn or flowers in spring.

On our way back, we stopped by Barley Cove Beach. I was feeling absolutely exhausted by this point, and the steep climb down stairs and hills to the beach made me worry whether or not I would be able to make it back up again. (Luckily I did.) I was wearing tights under my hiking sneakers and didn’t feel like taking anything off to wade, so I just contented myself with standing near the low tide. While I was distracted watching my friends taking pictures together, however, the ocean said, “Don’t worry, IJ! I’ll help you out,” and gave an extra-strong wave that went up to my ankles. My shoes may be Gore-Tex but that will not stop water from going in through the top.

And then it was time for the ride back home. I spent the rest of the day taking care of daily things and then passing out early. My throat and ears were in severe pain, so it’s off to the student health center tomorrow.

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