Happy Thursday! How are you doing? Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe your thing is yoga, meditation, running, paddle boarding, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, paddle boarding, refurbishing furniture, tooling around with some new tools, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends, but whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.
If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “my Irish love, Cork: English Market” - you can click here to read about one of the best places to visit while you’re in Cork, Ireland - complete with the most delicious olives in all of Ireland! Otherwise, if you’re all caught up, buckle up and let’s continue this journey together! We’re still continuing our time in Cork, but this time, we’re heading to an off-the-main-drag gem!
A little over a mile (~2 km) from the main streets of Cork City Centre sits Blackrock Castle. Overlooking the River Lee, it has become a normal part of Cork residents’ landscape. For me, however, it was a castle on a river, which was something I could never quite get over while living in Ireland - the castles (or the ‘broken castles’ as my friend Crimm once so hilariously said during an improv scene). Blackrock Castle no longer serves as just a castle, though. Unlike Blarney Castle, which is still billed strictly as a Castle for tourists (where you can kiss the Blarney stone for the gift of gab), Blackrock Castle has become the Blackrock Castle Obvservatory, otherwise known as ‘The Space for Science.’
Since I was lucky and frequently stole away to Cork while living in Dublin, I got to visit the Blackrock Castle Observatory in the time between finishing up my first semester of my Masters and flying back to the States for Christmas, which meant that there was a large, beautiful Christmas tree outside upon my entrance. Once inside, the Observatory had many interactive screens and activities, which, although mostly geared towards kids and teens, were incredibly informative. The graphics were beautiful, the content well-organized, and the information centers just interactive enough that there was a nice balance of being able to learn and play without overthinking about whether or not you were hitting the right button. The price of admission (I think it was no more than 10 euro for adults) included these information areas where guests could interact with a number of displays on their own, an indoor inflatable observatory where you lie on the floor and look up at a dome full of constellations and galaxies, and a tour of the castle. The tour of the castle was the icing on the cake. Even without it, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the space-centric experience, but being able to see the underbelly of the castle, as well as its rooftop, was something I’ll never forget. Winter in Ireland means that it gets dark rather quickly, so while on the rooftop of Blackrock Castle I got to see the most beautiful Cork sunset over the River Lee. Ships passed over calm water and under a pale, twilight sky.
Have you been to a science exploration center? Whether or not it was in a castle, I’d love to hear about it because I love science centers! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.
P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of travel adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):
1. Won't you join me?
2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand
3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery
4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab
5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style
6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin
7. pizza in roma
8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop
9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife
10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't
11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand
12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my
13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic
14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story
15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander
16. the boy who lived and the musical rapper
17. oh i just can't wait to be kingggg
18. fudge and haggis, quite the dynamic duo
19. the banshee labyrinth... or, my first time trying buckfast
20. the world's most magical toilet
21. gwyneth paltrow's (improv) sliding doors
22. scottish sombreros and jam, thank you
23. bob seger, a cèilidh, and arthur's seat
24. the next maxim cover girl!!
25. you can vote now!!
26. kindness at… the airport??
27. conversations with strangers and #basic meals
28. aren't gas stations amazing?!
29. not just mac's... supermac's
30. American vs. European Cell Phone Providers
31. brown bread ice cream
32. Black Lives Matter
33. technology and theatre
34. a love of Dublin pizza: Manifesto
35. a love of Dublin pizza: Dublin Pizza Company
36. a love of Dublin pizza: with my dad
37. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
38. thank you! round 2!
39. a love of Dublin pizza: and every other pizza
40. ahh-oooooh werewolves of london
41. a special london edition nerd alert
42. defying gravity is a WICKED good time
43. that wanker Van Morrison
44. The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
45. LA girls love London green juice
46. Super Bowl LII Champs at Wembley
47. champagne fizz and fruity cocktails
48. How-to: DIY Pallet Garden
49. dublin tattoo magic
51. thank you! Maxim round 4!
52. dublin bog bodies
53. dún laoghaire ice cream
54. local celeb sighting
55. 13.1 in Dublin
56. thank you! Maxim round 5!
57. every girl likes a bad boy
58. poolbeg lighthouse
59. conflict, bias, and propaganda in belfast
60. bow to your lord mayor
61. HAPPY HAMILTON DAY!!
62. Maxim Cover Girl Quarter-Finals!
63. gulliver's travels in belfast
64. all aboard the HMS Caroline
65. all aboard the RMS Titanic
66. you know nothing, jon snow
67. cave-born shadow babies
68. afraid of heights?
69. giants and their egos
70. the Kingsroad
71. sunsets in Donegal
72. derry dining chains
73. Maxim Cover Girl Semi-Finals!
74. Spontaneity is Key
75. Dear Nana
75. blasket island centre
76. Nana's blue tin cookies
77. a dance lesson in Dublin
78. dublin to Royal Portrush
79. Shane Lowry's Open Championship
80. maxim and Belfast Chinese food
81. Irish beachy wild women
82. my Irish love, Cork
83. my Irish love, Cork: hot chocolate
84. my Irish love, Cork: knit life
85. my Irish love, Cork: English Market