I am buying the Castle- Castletownshend, Ireland

Hello, friends!

Most of you that are following me on Instagram or those that have read my previous blogs posts know that I am absolutely obsessed with Castles. Everything about them- from the stone build to the watchtowers and solid thick arched doors, they are just this girl’s idea of the perfect home.

In fact, if you gave me a time machine, I would rewind back to the previous centuries when living in castles was a thing. Then again, I would have been a slave, so I shall not indulge too far into that fantasy. Since I can’t go back in time, I have decided that I am going to buy a castle and here is why.

Somewhere on the west coast of, along the Wild Atlantic way, in a small town of Castletownshend, you will find a gorgeous Castle. ‘The Castle‘- they call it, and man is it one indeed.

A few days ago, I had the privilege of visiting The Castle and actually even staying in it for a night. Now most castles in Ireland are ruined or preserved as tourists attractions. Not this one. This one is a Bed and Breakfast that has tried it’s best to preserve the authenticity, history, and ownership.

Staying at The Castle for me was like visiting a rich white uncle on my husband side of the family in the 19th century. The moment you enter through the solid wood arched door, you get a sense that you are in a 19th century aristocratic home decorated with old but tasteful antique furniture.

It was eerily quiet inside- almost like no one lives here. After a minute, a lovely lady greeted us and handed us the key to the Army room in which we would slumber for the night. Forgive the last-century lingo guys- just getting into character here.

As the lovely lady led us through the living room and the corridor and up the stairs, I observed shelves full of really old books, a table of maps and some kind of big ancient religious book that looked to me like a very early version of the bible.

The stairs are dark brown and curved with 19th-century hardwood. Clearly, they have not been changed in at least a century if not two. The Castle was originally built by Colonel Richard Townshend in 1650 and later in 1800 after undergoing a couple of destructions through the years. There is a good bit of information about the Townsend family who owns The Castle HERE. (Handy information for me who wants to buy the castle)

Back to my story. Our room was on the third and topmost floor of the Castle. The room was not as antique as the rest of the house but that was to be expected. I doubt a 200-year-old bed would hold the weight of two fully grown Mc’Donalds eating, 21st-century adults. It goes without the say that the toilet and shower were both authentically 21st century and thank goodness for that- I don’t do squatting toilets or cold baths.

The best thing about the room was the view. Take a look at the photos below to see what we saw. The room was warm and definitely comfortable.

For dinner, we walked about a hundred meters outside the Castle to Mary Ann’s pub which also has its own rich history. The most fascinating thing though was the fact that besides us and 2 other couples that were obviously staying at the Castle, everyone else knew each other. There were predominantly older people walking in from all of at most 500 meters of the whole town for a pint and a chat with friends.

Our meal here is absolutely divine but as usual, I will not or pretend to know much about the food.

We walked home as the sun set over the water for a well-deserved rest as we had a long day of exploring to do the next day. All I wanted to do was take a shower, put up my feet and I bulge in a good book. I found a really interesting book in the Castles large collection and settled down with that until bedtime.

I hate to admit for fear of sounding so old but we were asleep by 9/10pm.

Sunday morning we had to get to breakfast table between 8 am and 10 am.

Allow me to set the scene. The breakfast room is large and tastefully decorated with 19th-century furniture and antiques. The windows are huge and let in a generous amount of light- even on a dark overcast day.

The breakfast was surely delightful. We had an Irish breakfast and headed out for a morning walk along the garden paths to what probably used to be a watchtower at the top of a hill. The view from the top is definitely worth the short walk up. On a lovely summers day, a picnic up here is a brilliant idea.

Check out was at 11 am and off we were.

So, now for buying the Castle. Oh, I am definitely serious about this. However, I am still trying to track down the owners of the Castle. I am not quite sure what the going rate for a Castle on the Wild Atlantic Way is but I think I can make them an offer of about €5000-10,000.

Contributions welcome from the public. Help this black girl achieve her dream of owning a Castle.

Your Boujee traveler

Xxx

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Touring Killarney on a Horse and a Bike

Hello, lovelies,

Great to see you back on my blog. If you are new, welcome!

Last weekend brought us to the gorgeous Killarney which is west of Cork. I had planned a romantic night of relaxation with my hubby and while there and decided to blog about it.

We left home on Friday afternoon and drove 85km west to the lovely Killarney town. This must be my favorite place in Ireland thus far- after Cork, of course. Almost like the Cork people, Kerry people a very jovial, welcoming and are quick to start a conversation with a willing stranger.

The first day was a romantic experience for hubby and I, so I will not bore you with the details on here.

You can never trust the weatherman in Ireland but every now and then, he is on point- mostly when the weather is predicted to be unfavorable. Obviously, we were hoping for a lovely, sunny spring weekend but we got a dry and mostly overcast day. When you live in this part of the world, the weather is grand as long as it is accompanied by the word ‘dry’.

We spent the night in Killarney Riverside Hotel, which is a four-star hotel just a few kilometers from the town center. The hotel was good enough and the staff is really good, but in my opinion, the hotel does not deserve four stars.

The room was very clean and comfortable but quite small and basic- really nothing to write home about. The bathroom was adequate but did not have travel size toothpaste and toothbrushes which I expected it to have and therefore hadn’t packed any of our own. (Don’t worry, we bought some in the shops, of course).

After indulging in Mug and Bean breakfast every day for 2 whole weeks during our holiday to Cape Town in December, the breakfast served at the hotel was a huge letdown. It was so basic, unflavored and not inviting at all. The only thing I loved about it was the croissants and pork sausages served.

After breakfast, we drove down to the town to see what it has to offer. We found parking on the main street and walked down to the horse carriages where we were offered an hours ride around the Killarney national park.

If you are ever in Killarney, I recommend that you do one of these rides- they are phenomenal!

Our horse’s name was Suzy and the man in charge was Olly. Oh, what a pair! The fascinating thing to me was that Suzy seemed to know the land pretty well. She knew exactly when to stop so we could get out and take pictures, she knew when to go faster and when to slow down without being prompted by Olly even once. I am officially buying a horse! 😂

Olly was such a great tour guide and such a laugh. We laughed almost all the way through our tour as his commentary was hilarious. The national park itself is nothing short of amazing and full of life. On a spring day like this one, there were lots of flowers that had only recently blossomed and lots more that were only just budding. Got me thinking that a trip here in May when all the life is newly blooming might be a great idea.

We saw lake Lough Leane which is the biggest of the Killarney lakes and a host to a handful of small islands. The streams were flowing calmly through the park which made for a wonderful water flow sound throughout the journey. A herd of deer grazed peacefully with only a young male one raising his head to ensure we were of no danger to the herd. People walked and jogged passed and children played all through the park.

We journeyed by the Lough Leane on which Olly pointed out to us the worlds smallest island which only has space for two but is too close to the shore that no monkey business can ever go on there.

Our final stop was the Ross Castle. I need not remind you of my LOVE for castles. Although most people just go to these for a good photo, to me, they represent such a rich history. Whenever I am in a castle I imagine the people that probably lived, worked and passed through here. Were they as happy as I am to be here? Was the castle owner a good person? Were the workers treated well? Those are the questions that run through my mind when I am at a castle. Of course, I got some shots and at the end of the tour, we headed back to the town.

Our next stop was Lyne’s bike rental to get some bikes. Killarney is biking central. Everyone is on a bike here and you know- when in Rome… The process was quick and easy enough and only cost us €20 together for the half day. (It is €20 per person for the full day)

If you are traveling with passengers at the back, I recommend a bike rack as the bikes will obviously not fit in the car. If you are traveling just one or two people, they will fit in the back of the car although you have to be a bit clever in the way you put them in.

Back to the story! We drove down to the Muckross where we decided to park our car and ride our bikes around the grounds. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was about 13 years old so I was more comfortable riding along the longer route which had fewer people in case I knocked someone dead. Oh, my was this fun! It reminded me of the good old days when my siblings and I would ride our bikes all day long in the suburbs. We would hold bike riding competitions with the other kids in the neighborhood and my little brother was always a champion biker.

Anyhow, if you are visiting Killarney, do visit the Muckross house and take a guided tour. It is definitely worth the effort. We didn’t go to the Muckross Abbey as we had to get something to eat and head back to the hotel for a spa appointment.

I will not ramble on about the spa as I feel it was a very personal experience.

For dinner, we went to Treyvaud Restaurant in Killarney town which was absolutely lovely, to say the least. On our way back from dinner, we bumped into a really lovely group of gentlemen who offered to take a photo of us. A few even jumped into the photo themselves. What a laugh!

The rest of the evening’s activities were a bit too personal and I will not delve into them here. You see, whenever hubby and I go away, the day’s activities are for the blog and the evening’s activities are reserved for quality ‘us time’- which y’all don’t want to hear about anyway. I shall leave you to let your imaginations go wild. 😉

Here are a few tips I picked up during our weekend in Killarney.

TinyTip1: You would rather stay in a Bed & Breakfast as most hotels in Killarney are way too highly priced and honestly not worth the hype in my opinion.

TinyTip2: You have to pay for street parking so travel with some coins if necessary.

TinyTip3: The best time to visit Killarney is in May. This is when the plants, trees, and flowers are new and freshly grown-up ready for the summer. It’s almost like they were off rehearsing the show for the summer tourists during the winter and May is when they put on their first full show. Also if you want to avoid the peak season crowds, May is the best time of the year.

As usual, leave a comment below, like and follow my blog if you would like to see more of these posts.

Thank you for stopping by again.

Cheers,

Your humble Boujee traveler.

Xxx

Moving to Cork

Hello again!

So you have all heard the story of our move to Seychelles. Now, I talk about our move to Ireland.

When most people hear that we moved from the tropical island to the latter rainy one, they are not slow at expressing their utter disbelieve.

Let me tell you something about Cork. She has got one hell of a character! Although rainy, it boasts a very green landscape even in the middle of winter. The people here are ever so pleasant and take a couple of minutes out of their day to ask how you are doing. If you ask the total African to me, it is a little taste of home, only that here people are more respectful of your privacy.

I will not lie, in all the cities I have lived, I have felt most at home in Cork.

It was a cold, dark Sunday morning when my husband picked me up from the airport the day I arrived in Cork. Usually, when I get off a plane and walk into new territory, I am greeted with a sense of wonder and worry about whether or not I will like the place. When I got off the plane in Cork, although I was hit in the face by the coldest air I had ever breathed and welcomed by the dullest grey sky I have ever seen, I was also greeted at the immigration gate by the warmest smile I had ever seen. I felt at home right away.

My first year in Cork was filled with uncertainty. I was not working, and although my husband had a good job to sustain us and our fur baby, we still had such a tight budget at the end of each month.

My how life had changed. I have always been a hard worker- a trait I pulled from my dad. Even when I was in college and got all my bills paid by my parents, I hustled myself a job as an Au pair so I could be a little bit more independent.

I got my first job as a call center agent in 2017. Yes, people, I was picking up calls from nasty people who insulted, threatened and shouted at me quite often when I told them something they didn’t want to hear. Strangely enough, I didn’t actually mind that job. It was much better than the alternative of sitting home and playing ‘housewife’- a gift I have always admired but was never fortunate enough to acquire. This job was exhausting, but my salary was supplementing my husband’s salary and I could now afford to adopt this consumerism culture of the west. A culture I absolutely love and respect. (Don’t judge)

Towards the end of summer, after a few months in the call center, I got ‘dream’ job as a preschool teacher. I say ‘dream job’ because I have never wanted to be anything else, however, working in Europe puts a whole other meaning to the word ‘work’. You earn every single cent you make through tears and seat here.

You cannot be a minute late for work, so for those of us that have grown up in the tropics where life comes to a halt when it rains, this is a hard adjustment to make.

You can not go for hospital appointments without permission from your employer. You cannot dictate when you want to make your hospital appointment and the hospital only opens from 9 am to 5 pm. In short, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. You either risk getting fired, or getting dead.

Most employers will only give you a legal maximum of seven minutes to go to the bathroom per day so even you bathroom breaks have to be well planned.

To say I have grown up while working in Europe is the understatement of the year. I feel like I should get a universally recognized award for the amount of growing up I have done in the short time I have done it in.

On my first day, as I walked out from the military camp I called work, I called my mother and told her I wanted to come home.

Two years down the line in Cork and I will tell you, it is the best decision we ever made.

Here are a few tips for you if you plan on moving to Cork.


1. There is a housing crisis in the whole of Ireland so it is extremely difficult to get a house, so start looking early enough.

2. Rent in Cork city is extremely expensive. If you are a family, budget about €1200-1600 depending on the area you choose. If you are a couple or individual and want save some money by sharing, you are looking at about €300-700 pet room. The closer to the city, the more expensive.

3. Look for roommates on facebook pages. Here is a good one. Please exercise caution when meeting people over the internet.

4. If you have a car, look into renting a house outside the city. You might have a 30-45 minute commute if you work in town but it will save you up to €700 er month depending on where you decide to live.

5. If your driving licence is anything other than EU, check if your country has a special treaty with Ireland. You might be able to exchange your license for an Irish one without going from scratch. Click here for more information.

6. If your driving license is not from the EU of from a country in any of the above mentioned category, you will have to go through the whole process of getting a new license.

7. Resgister yourself with a General Practioner as soon as you arrive in order. Click here for information

8. Depending on your financial state, you might be able to get a medical card or GP card (you don’t pay for public medical services in hospitals, GPs or clinics).

9. If you are working, contact the tax office to find out about what tax credits you have. Lots of people don’t realise the different tax credits they are entitled to and end up paying higher taxes.

10. If you are married or in a civil partnership, and your partner is not working, you might be able to claim their tax credits. Contact Revenue for more information about this.

11. If you are liking for furniture, baby items, household items etc and you don’t want to spend a fortune, you can buy them second hand from this Facebook page or Done Deal


If you are reading this and you moved to Cork, I’d love to hear your own views and experiences.

If you have recently moved to a new area, I’d love to here from you too.

Till next time, good people.

Cheers

xxx

A visit to Adare Village

Hello, lovelies!

Last weekend mother nature suprised us and allowed the sun to come out and play and since we see so little of the sun in my current part of the world, we couldn’t dare to say no.

There are so many places in Ireland that I want to visit but on a nice day like this, I thought it would be a lovely town in a neighboring city.

Adare, what a special town! So rich in culture and color, it is definitely a town to visit.

We hit the town at about 2 pm as the sun played hide and seek behind the clouds in the sky. You can never know what how to dress in Ireland so it is always safest to dress warm and the take off the layers as needed.

I went with a mustard front twist knot jumper, a pair of black jeans and trainers. The plan was to walk and experience the town as much as we could.

We parked on the side of a very busy street as it seemed like no one in the country was going to miss a chance to enjoy the sun.

We walked through what seemed like the busiest and happiest little town I have ever seen. As we walked along the main street hand in hand with my husband, I caught a few glimpses of people tapping each other and staring at us as though we were such a peculiar sight.

We walked on admiring what looked like a scene from the medieval times- minus the clothing. We watched as the villagers stopped to greet and chat with each other. They happily inquired about each other’s well-being and commented on what a lovely day it was. No one was in a hurry to move on at all. Car drivers gently hooted at each other and waved as a sign of recognition. At some point, a gentleman walking towards us smiled gently and exclaimed, “I hope you enjoy the weather here today. You came on a great day.” This, I noticed, was not just small talk. His eyes betrayed the genuinity and communicated that he was indeed happy for us that our decision to visit coincided with the sun’s rare appearance.

The main street is filled with small but lovely restaurants, pubs, boutiques and shops that stand out, each with its own character.

The fascinating thing about the town was the traditional grass-thatched cottages embedded in the heart of it. Oh, what a sight! There is something about an ancient town that just speaks to my heart. I picture all the Irish men, women and children that once walked these streets in the centuries that passed.

I kid you not, besides the fact that I would have been a slave, I would have loved to be alive in the medieval times. There is something about cottages, castles and horseback carriages that really appeals to me.

After touring the town for what seemed like ages, the sounds in our hungry stomachs had become impossible to ignore so we set off to look for somewhere to eat.

I am not sure if it was due to the fact that it was a sunny day, but all the open pubs were full and we, therefore, couldn’t get seated.

A quick look at Professor Google led us to the extremely prestigious Adare Manor. Lads, this is the most luxurious place I have ever been to or seen- and I have seen quite a few in my day. This was more than luxury- it was royalty. ‘Queen of England’ kind of royalty.

First of all, there are three concierges at the gate with royal looking attire. Okay, I know what you are thinking- ‘all hotels have overly dressed concierges.’ Right! Yes, they do, but these ones we dressed like the royal guards only in black and they were at the gate, not just at the hotel door.

Anyway, we drove up to the gate only to be told that the hotel was fully booked and we could not have lunch there. Disappointed, we asked if we could drive up to take photos.

Maybe it is my rural-urban migration speaking but it must be the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is a title short of being a palace. We only managed to see the outside which was a gorgeous garden that stretched out into acres on a golf course. Clearly, we were way out of our league.

We decided to head out to Limerick city to find food there instead. On the way, I looked up the Adare Manor as I was determined that my husband and I would be coming back for our anniversary in July. To my utter dismay, not only was the Manor out of our league in appearance, but also the price- which was even further out of our league than their fancy gardens and golf course.

Just to be clear, the options for a deluxe double bedrooms are between €700 and the suite is €2700 per night. This is not just out of our league, it is out of our universe. How do we even breathe the same air as people that can afford to pay this kind of money for just one night (meals not included)?

Ok so we definitely couldn’t afford to stay here, but dinner here and maybe a spa treatment would be a lovely treat. Laughing out loud! The cheapest price for dinner was €120 per person and don’t get me started on the spa. The day I pay those prices for food and a spa, I better be eating an everlasting meal and getting an antidote for aging.

So that dream was written off the bucket list as quickly as it was put on.

We drove to Limerick and all roads led to the Texan Steakhouse which we had found on Google. The funny thing was that we had eaten here the last time we were in Limerick in 2016 but didn’t realize it until we walked into the restaurant’s familiar environment. That goes to show how predictable my husband and I are when it comes to food. We will always go to the restaurant that sounds like it serves the best meat. And what better place than a steakhouse?

The Texan Steakhouse did not disappoint. The food was amazing and the service was great. I am not an expert on food so I am not going to pretend to review the food in detail. All I know is that it was a good meal but and only cost us a decent amount of €62 for a three-course meal for two.

After a lovely hectic afternoon of walking and exploring Adare village, and a heavy late lunch, it was time to call it a day and head back home.

I must say, it was definitely a trip worth making.

Enjoy Kinsale on a budget

Hello, lovelies!

A week ago, a group of friends and I decided to take a drive down the South West Coast of Cork to Kinsale. It was a bank holiday in March so we were hoping for a good weather- and by good weather, I mean at the very least a few blue patches of sky and definitely no rain.

The day rolls by and we had a whole 6 degrees Celsius, a beautiful sun, and a full blue sky. It was the first glorious day we had seen in weeks and we were not about to waste it indoors. You never know when the next ‘good weather’ day is going to come along around here.

So we grabbed our coats, scarfs, and mittens and headed down to a lovely town called Kinsale. If you are visiting Ireland or even if you have lived here for a few years like me and are in the mood to take a 30-minute drive, please do make Kinsale your destination. I shall tell why.

We set off around 2 pm and headed towards on the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way- Kinsale. There is something exceptionally magical about driving into Kinsale. It automatically gives a feeling of joy, peace, and tranquility.

Our first stop was just after the bridge in Oysterhaven for some authentic fresh pizza. There is a food truck on the side of the road who make amazing pizzas and better yet, they are only €10 each. We ordered one Salami pizza and one chicken and garlic pizza. Yummy!

After filling the hunger hole, we drove on to the famous Old Head cliffs of Kinsale. It was very windy and extremely cold but my goodness was it breathtaking!

It is one of those views where you look at the sky and rays of light escape through the clouds. All I could think of was the glory of its creator.

It was a bright sunny day and the sky was undoubtedly showing off.

Down below was the magnificent image of green turquoise water glaring with rays of crystal light as the fading rays hit its surface.

In between the showy sky and the glaring water were a series of beautiful cliffs that almost stood as an auditorium for us mere mortal humans to stand and watch the awe-inspiring sight unfold before us.

It was windy and cold, but it was well worth it.

When we were frozen enough, we got back in the car and headed to the town for some coffee to warm up. There are loads of lovely little and big restaurants in Kinsale town but we chose to go to a pub outside the town but with a killer view.

Bulman pub is quite famous for its yellow quote of paint and the gorgeous view of the water. On a lovely summers day, it would be the perfect spot for an outside lunch or even just a sunset drink.

We saw a majestic sunset as the sun faded away in the near distance. It was a sight that belonged in a painting on a wall or in a magazine. It was too cold to sit outside and enjoy the show. However, we did enjoy a few drinks in the lovely warm pub.

We had a great time in Kinsale and will definitely be back to explore what else the beauty has to offer. The best part was that we only spent all of €30 per couple and we had great fun spending every penny.

If you are an explorer and have been to Kinsale, do you have any suggestions on where to visit next time we are in the area?

Hit me up!

Have a great week guys.

Xxx

J