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Jayme's Story

by Jayme Blasko

Four years ago, Kinsale in Ireland stole a piece of my heart.

After a sleep deprived flight (seriously, why can’t I sleep on international flights?) and a fight through London Heathrow security to catch my connection to Cork, I made my debut in Ireland. I was greeted by a friendly taxi driver who gave me a brief history of the land as we drove to the Actons Hotel. I had the immediate feeling this place was going to be something special. I mean, a taxi driver that’s nice and gives you a history lesson? Where was I? This never happens in NYC!

I quickly checked in, dropped my bags in a sundrenched room with a view overlooking the harbor and made my way into town to explore. Jetlag was not getting in my way. Had I known that 3am was a typical bedtime in Kinsale, I would’ve considered taking a nap.

This town, wow, it’s filled with color and it is beautiful. It’s narrow winding streets invite you to explore all the cafés, restaurants and shops it has to offer. After a bit of retail therapy, I headed back to get ready for the opening reception of the Kinsale Shark Festival at Malt Lane.

The outdoor reception was warm and inviting, filled with an eclectic mix of people from advertising, music and design companies, to historic families and friendly politicians.

I even met the then Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Margaret Murphy, who unfortunately couldn’t grant me dual citizenship at cocktail hour, but I tried! We headed to a delicious dinner filled with amazing conversations and lots of laughter. Given it was the first night of the festival, I’d like to say we headed home to prepare for the day ahead but no, I was in Ireland, surrounded by Irish influence and I’m a sucker for peer pressure so off to the Folk House we went!

I’d like to believe this is a typical night in Ireland: It started with a whiskey tasting competition and ended with Guinness pouring competition. I think I won them both, but for me the biggest win was the friends I made that night. It was a the warmest Irish welcome I could’ve imagined, filled with many Guinness “cin-cins”.

The next day started bright and early as the sun poured into my room. Fortunately, on the agenda were some really great workshops by som