Why Tralee is AMAZING

Hi guys,

OK so I just wrote a post but I’m sitting here in bed with a damaged hamstring and sleep is nowhere near and I’ve Kelly Clarkson on Spotify to  keep my company… ANYWAY, I decided to let you all in on a few secrets as to why Tralee is the best place in Kerry and why it will always have a special place in my heart!

So if you have read my summer blogs, you will know that I lived with my Grandparents in Tralee for the summer (If you haven’t read them, you should be ashamed and go back and read them IMMEDIATELY after finishing this post xoxo). So during my summer, I experienced the best of Tralee.

  1. The Food
    There are two places in Tralee that I would absolutely, 100% insist on that people visit. The first one is a daytime restaurant/ café, open between 9 am and 6 pm every day. locally it has the reputation of being the ‘burritos place’ but it does soo much more! DISH (the name of the restaurant) does amazing coffee, I called in there every morning on the way to work to get my morning dose of caffeine and honestly it couldn’t have been better! In addition to amazing coffee and burritos, they make  and serve dishes varying from Bacon and Cabbage (an Irish staple) to Nachos to Lasagna to quesadillas. The owner is in fact from Tralee, not Mexico despite what his menu may suggest and he will frequently be the smiling face behind the counter when you first go in. Dish also offer an amazing range of gluten-free options that actually taste good as opposed to the cardboard that you can be served in some places.
    The second place is a French bistro called Chez Christophe. This place is where I went to celebrate my 21st birthday! The food is to die for! It would be more expensive than Dish but worth every penny. If you are looking for somewhere nice to go for an evening meal in Tralee, Chez Christophe is where to go. My suggestion: Have the cassolette of prawns and crab claws!
    Dish: Russel Street, Tralee, Co. Kerry (across the road from the Bróg). 0667185544

    Chez Christophe: 6 Courthouse Lane, Tralee (Soon to be 11 Courthouse Lane) 0667181562.

  2. The Beaches
    So once again if you have been following me for a while, you will know that the beach is my happy place. There are two main beaches for me that I want to tell you about, the first is Fenit. Fenit is  famous for being a harbour and also being a blue flag beach, meaning that a beach, marina or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its stringent standards. Fenit also has a lighthouse that looks really pretty (trust me, I have it as the lock screen on my phone :P)
    Banna Strand is a historically famous beach in Irish history, particularly in relation to the 1916 Rising. Roger Casement who was involved in arms trafficking during the  rebellion, was arrested on Banna Strand as he was landing weapons from a German U-boat for the Rebellion. (Sorry trying not to go too deep into the history of it..)  In addition to being historic, its my happy place. Whenever I was having a bad day or needed to clear my head, Banna is where I would go. Walks there and swims there made everything seem ok. I have some great memories from this summer based in Banna.

FenitBANNA

4. The Rose of Tralee

So the Rose of Tralee is an international festival that is held in Tralee (duhh..) every year that celebrates women. The women come from all over the world to celebrate their Irish heritage. The festival also brings with it street entertainment, carnival, live concerts, theatre, circus, markets, fun fair, fireworks and Rose Parades. For the local people my age, the festival is an excuse to go out on school nights and have a bit of fun! 😛 So Kathy did as Kathy does and made some questionable decisions over the course of the festival.. My aunt even made me go out two nights in a row 😛 This was my first year being in Tralee for the festival and it was one of the best weekends all summer.

ROT

 

So I hope you now realize why this small town in Kerry means so much to me. It is close to both Dingle and Killarney for day trips (and more reasonable accommodation). A friend of mine told me ‘Tralee would be a great town if it wasn’t in Kerry’, to which I disagree, Tralee is a great town because it’s in Kerry.

Ok, write soon,

Thanks for reading,

Love always,

Kathy ❤

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My happy place

Hey guys,

Ok… So my life may or may not have done a total 180 since my last post. I have been meaning to write for weeks and before this weekend, this post would have gone an entirely different direction.

So I started a new job in Tralee, Co. Kerry, about an hour and a half away from where I live with my family. Due to the new job I moved in with my Grandparents who live in Tralee. It has been so much fun living here. As some of you may know from my previous posts, my mental health can fluctuate.. A lot. Recently it hadn’t been good. I had a lot going on between finishing exams, work, changing job and moving out. I was very stressed out and had one MAJOR meltdown.. My eyes were swollen going to work the following day (classy right?).

Since moving to Kerry, I have stared to come back to being myself. I am relaxed. I am in good form. I am sleeping (when not writing blog posts at 11 pm). I am eating healthy and loosing weight (that said I just finished a bag of mini chocolate eggs… :P). I feel more myself now than I have in a long time.

My grandparents are great! They are actually the most adorable couple in the strangest of ways. My Grandad is 86 and my Granny is 76. There is 10 years and 4 months between them. Age really is just a number 🙂 My Grandad is very deaf, which is a shame because he really likes to  be in the middle of things. He uses a hearing aid so he is still able to have the craic and is great at telling me to pace myself when it comes to work 🙂

The other evening when I got home from work, my Granny suggested we go for a walk out on one of the beaches near us, I was all for it seeing as I had been wanting to go to the beach all day. I went for a walk with the 2 dogs and my Granny stayed sitting by the car. I walked in the water and took photos and I was completely in my element.

When I was younger, I used to spend my summer holidays in Kerry with my Grandparents, and then in a house with my family. Since I moved to Cork 8 years ago, I probably see my Grandparents more often but I didn’t get to spend the same amount of time with them. When I was younger, I always loved being down here and that really hasn’t changed.

I was so stressed out about the move down, my head was all over the place (whats new?), I had boy problems, I was stressing about starting the new job and I was stressing about college. Now I have no boy problems (well there are still some but I have chosen to ignore them until they can be fixed but who knows when that will be), I have started my new job and couldn’t ask for better people to work with. I have also decided that I am not going back to college in September and have just applied for a job in Sydney, Australia…

Knowing me, all these thing shoulf be making me freak out and stress out but no. I think being away from home for the summer is the best thing I could have done for myself. I am so happy I did it and excited to see what happens next. 😀

Ok write soon,

Thanks for reading,

Kathy xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sometimes you just need to get away

Hey guys,

So I had been on a good track of writing once a week but alas due to on thing and another I haven’t written in a few weeks. Today marks my 1 year anniversary of starting this blog. Where has all that time gone?

So, over the last few days there have been some pretty drastic changes to my life. I quit my job in the hotel where I worked. At long last. I loves the job I had but I began to despise the place where I had it. During my first week there,  two chefs  left along with two managers.  This immediately had alarm bells going off in my head and I remember saying it to my mum who encouraged me  to stick it out until I found something better. And I really did. On Monday, I start working in one of the biggest banks in Ireland for 10 weeks as a summer student. This is an amazing opportunity for me as I am studying Commerce so it is practical work experience in an industry that I might end up going into one day.

So due to getting this new job, I am also moving. I’m moving in with my Grandparents as they live near to where I will be working and I will be able to walk to and from work everyday. I haven’t spent a summer at home since I was 13 so the thought of the possibility of doing it this summer didn’t sit well with me.. at all.. especially with my Instagram feed being full of pictures of people on J1’s (In the USA on a student summer working visa) or on amazing trips to places like Thailand or Malaysia. As it is it’s still kinda depressing to be working for the summer but I will be surrounded by family who I am really looking forward to spending some quality time with.

Another big thing for my was passing my  theory test so I can FINALLY start learning how to drive 😀 In Ireland, you first need to do a test detailing the rules of the road and that kind of thing. You are given 40 questions out of a possible 900 (I think) and you need to get at least 35 right. You then need to do 12 driving lessons before you can attempt to do your driving test and be allowed drive by yourself. Basically its a money racket but alas I can’t do anything about it…

Some people may be wondering about the state of my love life after my last post. My answer is I don’t know what is happening. I went of to that going away party and I realized how much I was going to miss the guy who is moving to Dublin. I wanted to have a proper conversation with him but it wasn’t the time or the place to pour my heart out.. Add vodka to the mix and I would have ended up in floods of tears. What we did manage to talk about was him having a lot on his mind, me being one of those things. When I was going home, he kissed me and that was the last contact I’ve had with him. And I miss him.. A lot. Before I developed feelings for him, we were friends who spoke all day every day. There is a big difference between speaking all day everyday to having no contact at all and I miss my friend.

That being said, I had a lot on my mind so I took off for a few days. More like a week, When I quit my job in the hotel, I told myself that I would give myself 2 weeks off to just be able to catch up on missed sleep and have some time to myself before starting the new job. So last week, I went on an adventure 🙂 I went to visit two of my best friends who live in different parts of the country. I went to Monaghan first where I visited my friend Grace. Myself and Grace have been on many adventures together and I miss her when I don’t get to see her. When I went up, we took it easy and drank A LOT of wine… But sure when on holidays I might as well 😛Snapchat-2011600122

A few days later, I traveled back to Meath, back to my home town where I lived until I was 13. I stayed with another really good friend of mine there, Ciara. We have been friends since we began primary school. That was 16 years ago. It had been a long time since I had gotten the chance to spend proper time with her so we really enjoyed our few days. We went on an adventure into Dublin where Ciara introduced me to scrumdiddlys ice cream and an amazing cocktail bar in Rathmines called Copan, where all the cocktails are €5. It.was.awseome.

IMG_20170603_172015_701

So I hoped you enjoyed this post, I felt guilty for not writing but I had no laptop with me on my  travels and it was nice to disconnect for a while. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Love, Kathy ❤

My top 5 things to do in Belgium

Hey guys,

So my last few posts have been more about the disaster that is my life and not about the traveling adventures that I originally started this blog to post about. There will probably be more personal posts but this one is all about Belgium 🙂

When I was in school, I studied French and I wanted to improve it so I thought about going to France for a summer to work when I was 16. I did some research and discovered that I wouldn’t be paid for working in France due to employment laws so a friend of my mums, a French teacher, suggested that I go to Belgium. As it happens, the place where I worked for the summer when I was 14 had a sister place in the French-speaking region of Belgium so off I went. I spent 3 and a half weeks working in the kitchen of a hospitality/ residential conference center about 45 mins outside Brussels. I  worked hard and I was working 5-5.5 days a week so I didn’t get to travel enough as I would have liked.. So I went back for longer the following year 😛

I will always have fond memories of Belgium. I made some amazing friends there, some Mexican, Guatemalan, Spanish and even a really good Irish friend. I also had my fair share of accidents there 😛 I had one really accident prone day when,in the morning, while cutting an onion, I nearly took the top off my finger.. That afternoon I then had an argument with a gate and the gate won, thus resulting in me getting a spike of it through my foot.. Fun times 😛 There was no major damage, just crutches for a few weeks, serious antibiotics and painkillers.. Twas grand 🙂 It happened on a Sunday and I was planning on flying home the Tuesday so I was grand.

Despite my spending so much time working, I got to do a significant amount of traveling. Here are mt top 5 places to go in Belgium.

  1. Grand Place, Brussels.

Both times I was in Belgium it was in June/July, Grand Place was one of the first places I visited and I was blown away by how beautiful it is. It is surrounded by Gothic buildings, including the town hall. Every two years in August, an enormous “flower carpet” is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colorful  flowers are set up in patterns, covering the entire square.

Grand Place

2. Manneken Pis

My friend Ruth really didn’t like this guy but I’d recommend checking him out, especially if there is something going on in Belgium at the time. When I was there the second time, it was during the last soccer world cup so he was dressed up as a soccer player. In reality, he is a tiny bronze statue who pees into the fountains basin.

3. Bruges and Gent

These two towns are absolutely spectacular! I only managed to get to them both once but they are stunning. Both are on built on canals and they, much like Venice are used to get around on.The streets are narrow and cobbled and old. They are both just so beautiful.

4. Leuven/ Louvain

The thing about places in Belgium is that they have names in both French and Dutch. Louvain is a university city much like the one where I live in Ireland. It is quite easy ti tell when the hour is up as the streets get busier with students moving from class to class. Myself and Ruth spent about 3 hours sitting in McDonald’s in Louvain next to the window on the first floor just watching people move through the streets. It is another lovely city, possibly my second favorite, my all time favorite is still to come. 😛 It was Louvain where I finally found my Yves Rocher shop that I had spent weeks looking for. Yves Rocher is a French cosmetics company that I came across in France. I love their stuff but you can’t get it in Ireland so I always make sure to stock up when I’m abroad.

Leuven city hallLeuven

5. Antwerp

Antwerp is where I want to be proposed to. It is my favorite place in Belgium. The first time I was there, I was walking down the boardwalk with my Mexican friends Isabel and Nancy and I saw a couple in front of us with their kids and it was at that moment when I decided that I wanted that to be me. Me and my over active imagination saw that man proposing to his girlfriend on that same boardwalk, them going there to have their wedding photos taken and then going there with their kids. As their two little girls ran ahead of them, with us still walking behind then, the couple wrapped their arms around each other and kept walking. Yes, I am a completely hopeless romantic but I wanted that. My friend Blaithin has been told to inform any future men in my life of this wish of mine 😛 Antwerp is also famous for its diamonds. When you come out of the train station (which is spectacular as well) there is an entire street of diamond shops. The best place to window shop 😀 In my opinion, it is a must visit for anyone going to Belgium.Oh and they have a chocolate shop that sells ‘Chocolate Pills’ because.. Duhh chocolate fixes everything.. 😛

antewrp docAntwerp Choc pills

So I think I turned my top 5 places to go in Belgium into a ‘why I love these places’ but i hope you enjoyed reading it. I had so much fin looking through all my old photos and re-reading my travel diary to remind me of all my adventures. The most important thing I took away from my trips in  Belgium are my friendships. I was working with Isabel and Nancy. They are both from Monterrey, Mexico and I am still in frequent communication with Isa who is currently studying a semester abroad in Santiago, Chile. I knew Ruth before we went away together, we had met a few times but we wouldn’t have been friends. Her french teacher (the friend of my mums) encouraged her to come with me and now I know, no matter what, Ruth is there for me. She will be at my wedding.

Ok I might have gotten too deep, but hey, I’m an honest person,

Thanks for reading,

All my love,

Kathy ❤

Madrid Meetups

Hey guys,

Its been a bit if a hectic week! Who knew having 3 kids would be such work! Their behavior has been improving slowly so I’m hoping that’s going to keep going like that!

So I have me weekends free and last Saturday I met up with some other Au pairs who live in different areas to me in the city center! We were supposed to all meet up at 12 but of course I overslept and didn’t end up waking up until around 11.. Needless to say I didn’t get into the city on time! I went in any way and went shopping.. I honestly don’t know how I am going to get what I have bought home seeing as I decided it would be such a fantastic idea to bring just hand luggage. I then met up with the girls for lunch at TapasTapas just next to McDonald’s on Gran Via (McDonald’s is MAJESTIC by the way..) I had a tortilla, a typical Spanish dish that is made from potatoes, eggs and usually some onion too 🙂 It was small but gorgeous!

It was great to meet up with some of the other girls! There was a girl from France, who has just spent the last two years studying in Dublin, a girl from the Czech Republic, A girl from Liverpool in England and a girl from Finland! It was great to have such a diverse group and I really enjoyed meeting people my own age and just having a bit of craic!

Then on Sunday, I went on an adventure to McDonald’s in Pozuelo de Alarcón, where they have taken McDonald’s to a whole new level! You even get your food delivered to your table!! They also try new food in the restaurant and it’s just pretty cool!

Yesterday, I went on another adventure into the city center with another Au-pair who lives in the same village as me. We got the  Metro to Plaza de Espagne and went from there to Plaza de Cibeles along Gran Vía, only making a couple of stops along the way 😛 It was beautiful! While there, we met another girl for lunch and went to a place called El Diario near the Prado Museum. I had a veal burger that was possibly the nicest thing I’ve eaten since being here! It was so beautiful! In addition to this, the guy who served us he’d a great sense of humor and had us all laughing, despite speaking completely in Spanish!

We went from there up to Puerta del Sol, another tourist spot in Madrid and got the Metro from there. It took us over an hour and a half to get back here, it should have taken about 30 mins. The joys of Metro strikes and certain parts of certain lines being down!

I am enjoying the social side of being an Au-pair… That said, I wont be going anywhere until the Metro drivers stop striking and I can get from place to place normally!

Thanks for reading,

Kathy 🙂

3 cities, 2 countries, 2 months, 1 carry on

Hey guys,

So I am writing this after eating my last dinner with my famalam. I have just finished packing my bag and in about 4 hours time I will be leaving my house and Cork until the 1st of August. (Well that’s when I started writing this post..)

I wanted to write a post on how I packed for this trip. I am away for 2 months and just brought a carry on bag.. Yes I do think I’m slightly nuts.. I wanted to bring enough that I don’t end up living in the same clothes but not too much that I needed to bring a check on bag. I found that rolling my clothes was the best way to get them all into my bag. I was cursing myself during the week when I tried packing, I genuinely packed and unpacked at least 3 times!!

I am a chronic over-packer! It’s a problem I have.. 😛

I brought about:

  • 4 pairs of shorts
  •  A skirt
  • A pair of nice ankle length pants
  • A pair of gypsy pants (The ones with the tight legs and they are baggy then up the top and are high-waisted)
  • A Maxi dress
  • 3 swimsuits and a sarong
  • about a million tops (OK slight exaggeration, but I did bring plenty)
  • and lots of underwear and socks
  • I also brought a pair of runners, slip on shoes, two pairs of sandals and a pair of flip-flops.

Somehow I managed to fit all the above into my carry on suitcase. I also brought a ‘Personal bag’ with me which had my laptop, book, makeup, a small handbag with my purse, passport, phone etc., my chargers and of course some food 🙂 My laptop being the brick it is made the bag weigh a tonne and one of the straps broke off it before I even got on the plane (go me!)

Hopefully this stuff will be enough to keep me somewhat sane!

Until next time,

Kathy

Packing 2