Day 40

Tasting: Cadbury chocolates, hard-poached egg on brown soda toast, Bulmer’s cider
Seeing: the cliffs of Skellig, the ruins of Ballycarberry castle
Feeling: long soft grass, the impact of falling onto rough dirt on the palms of my hands, cool stone, very full stomach, surprisingly heavy coasters
Smelling: the damp and stony inside of the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church
Hearing: a crowded trivia room

What kind of hotel doesn’t have breakfast served at like, 7:30 at the latest? Because here it starts at 8:30. And I was awake at 6:30 and hungry. So I went down to the lobby with my laptop to blog and video chat with a still-awake Brian.

When breakfast finally began, it was glorious. And I may have gone a little overboard, but a good breakfast buffet just makes me so happy I couldn’t limit myself.

We set out to the Skellig Ring, which was actually off the Ring of Kerry. We looked at the cliffs near the Skellig Islands and visited a tourist center where we learned about the history of Skellig Michael. It was home to a Christian monastery sometime in the 6th century BCE. Oh, and more recently, the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed on Skellig Michael. Getting to hop around the cliffs felt so freeing and a highlight of the trip.

Our next stop was the Cahergal circular stone fort, which was just as it sounds– a very high circular stone wall. One could climb to the top via the series of stairs zigzagging up, and there was a strip of turf to securely stand on.

Our next adventure was (treated as) a climbing structure as well: Ballycarbery Castle. It was a heartbreakingly beautiful vegetation-covered ruins with a great view of the fields we trekked through to get there. As we left to board the bus back, we encountered a person on horseback who was riding the Wild Atlantic Way. Luckily the horse enjoyed attention, because it received lots of it.

In our free time, we were allowed to wander around the town for a bit or go straight back to the hotel. Some of us looked around in the Daniel O’Connel Memorial Church, then walked back. I was tired and ready to lie down, but stopped in some grocery stores for some snacks that I’m sure I would need for the next day and the trip back.

After dinner, we had a Gaelic footballer from nearby talk to us about the GAA and its history, and the rules and history of Gaelic football. The talk was honestly a little uncomfortable– the speaker seemed very pressed on starting with everyone, so when a couple students walked in late, he went completely silent while they walked the length of the hardwood floor to the corner of the room where he stood.

After that somewhat awkward (but mildly interesting) talk, we went back into the dining room for our “quiz” (known in the US as “trivia”). I had never really been to a trivia night after middle school, where I learned how poorly I do at quiz bowl, but I was surprised at how well my team and I did. We tied up second place, and after several tiebreakers, won! The first place team had their choice between locally-made chocolates and coasters, so unsurprisingly they chose the chocolates. But I was pretty pleased with the coasters, made from stone from the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church.

Two of our team members had won a free drink for certain challenges during the quiz, so I hung out with them and made another Snackchat about the chocolate sweets that were lying on the table. Then, I realized that I really needed to get to sleep because the next day was going to be long as well.

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