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my Irish love, Cork: Blackrock Castle

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

50. juneteenth

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


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

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