That’s Blarney

With a magical history, Blarney village offered a variety of wonderful sights to see and places to discover. The greatest sight to see was Blarney Castle, which is home to the legendary Blarney Stone. Blarney was only 8km from Cork city center and a bus ran regularly.

My first priority was to kiss the Blarney Stone that is located on the top of Blarney Castle. Traditional stories say that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will be endowed with the gift of gab. As an English teacher, that seemed like an important thing to have.

The castle is located on over a thousand acres of beautifully wooded lands, which made it the perfect place to take a walk and enjoy the surroundings. The towering trees that draped over perfectly mowed grass provided a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the day.

After walking some of the grounds and roaming through the trees, we came to the castle. As we approached the castle, its massive size could truly be appreciated. It towered over us waiting to be climbed.

As we walked to the top of the spiral, stone staircase, a hint of claustrophobia sunk in. The staircase was only about two feet wide and the steep steps were crumbling. Each step was a journey through time and the walls became alive within my imagination.

Finally, we reached the top of Blarney Castle and we waited anxiously to kiss the stone. It was much higher than I expected and I worried about falling to my death. I lay down on my back while an assistant held my lower body. He kept telling me that I needed to slide down further. Lying upside down on the top of a castle to kiss a dirty stone didn’t seem as appealing to me at that moment.

Those three bars and a strange man holding my lower body are all that are keeping me from falling to my death. If Mick Jagger and Winston Churchill can kiss this thing, I guess I can too.

I continued to slide my body further down the wall and I finally kissed the stone. I am not normally one to throw hygiene to the wind, especially to kiss a stone where locals are rumoured to pee, but legends can be powerful things. If this stone really gave people the “gift of gab”, it was something I was willing to try.

As we ascended the stairs, we noticed a small, hidden room called the Murder Room. Guards would hide in this room and they would pour hot liquid onto unwanted guests or attackers that approached the castle. It was interesting, and barbaric, to see the forms of protection that were used in the castle.

After the castle, we searched through the caves and dungeon below. As the pitch black of the dungeon surrounded our bodies, I worried about spiders and unwanted guests bothering me. I wondered if they had some form of protection for unwanted animals. I could not see more than two feet in front of my face. I kept taking pictures just to see the flash of the camera. All that I managed to see in the dungeon and the caves were my dirty feet and a few dead ends.

From the caves, we walked to the Wishing Steps. Legend says that a witch steals firewood for her kitchen in the forest and in turn she grants people a wish. People are required to walk down the stairs and then back up with their eyes closed to be granted their wish.

There were 28 steps that were wet from the recent rain. With the slipperiness from the rain and the lack of rails, I took me forever to make it up the steps. I tried to think of something else so I would not open my eyes. My husband tried to guide me when he honestly thought I was going to hurt myself, but he spent more time laughing than guiding.

After what seemed like an hour of manoeuvring backwards up the steps, I successfully made it to the top.

The trail continued through beautiful oak trees and waterfalls. We spend several hours walking around Blarney Castle and taking in all of the sights. I wanted to see a castle that was still lived in today, but Blarney Castle was beautifully landscaped outside and mysterious inside. It was just as interesting to imagine what the castle would have been like inside. I could create furniture and surroundings that pleased me. There was no way that I could be disappointed because I could imagine whatever I wanted.

Blarney village was a charming, breath of fresh air but it was hardly somewhere to spend the night. We decided to catch the bus and continue our journey.

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17 thoughts on “That’s Blarney

  1. How lovely set of photos presenting this old castle. I especially enjoyed inside photos. They are always interesting to see. Very seldom we know how people lived inside castles. Europe is full with great castles waiting for visit and You just presented one worth for visit.

    In my country in Finland, we do not have many castles. Here is the most interesting:

    St. Olaf’s Castle

    Happy blogging.

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  2. Hello! Would you mind if I share your article with my myspace group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really devour your content because this matter is exactly what they are interested in. Please let me know if you have any reservations. Thanks

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    • Thank you Kate!

      I loved everything about Ireland and I long to return. Out of the more than 30 countries that I’ve visited, Ireland is, without a doubt, in the top 5.

      I appreciated that you took the time to comment.

      Lesley

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  3. Hi Lesley, happy to have stumbled upon each other’s sites as I can see that we both have an extreme passion for travel! My husband and I will soon be embarking on an Asian sabbatical for four months and your site inspired me to get packing again… I enjoyed your Blarney accounts and the images – particularly the first one. My husband and I travelled to Ireland last spring and after about 10 minutes, I reluctantly gathered up enough courage to give the stone a quick peck. I thought it was funny that you mentioned your nervousness – even despite your extreme adventures? Thanks for helping to bring back some fun memories from our trip to Ireland. 🙂

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    • Ireland was one of my favorite countries and kissing the Blarney stone was a must, but with every new experience I always have an anxious, nervous feeling in my stomach. I think it’s that overwhelming nervousness that leaves me always wanting more.

      I can’t wait to hear about your Asia journey.

      Thanks for commenting; it’s appreciated.

      Lesley

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  4. I live about 20 minutes form here in Cork! My Dad always says I kissed the Blarney stone ONE TOO MANY TIMES…as I never seem to stop talking!! Its a fun place! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit…where did you go spend the night in the end? 🙂

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    • I spent one night in Cork at a hostel and one night camping randomly on the side of the road. Although Ireland is an amazing country that I’d like to visit again and again, I wouldn’t suggest sleeping in a tent that is not water proof! It rains regularly, right? I didn’t have one day without rain in my three week visit.

      Did you grow up in Cork?

      Lesley

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  5. Haha yea that is why it is so GREEN..all that rain!! Yea I grew up in Cork and my parents still live there so it’s always nice to go back and visit!

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  6. Hello!

    Thank you for liking my very new blog. I posted here because I live in Blarney, it’s easy to forget how famous the castle is. I grew up in Cork and I love it so much. I’ve travelled all over Europe- to over 20 countries and it’s still good to come home (despite the fairly constant rain!).

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  7. Being a total travel bug and having just gone to Ireland, I love reading about other’s experiences. We went to Blarney as well..knew of the pee rumors, and kissed it anyway! I love seeing photos almost identical to ones I took, yet through someone else’s eyes. Love!!

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  8. Great photos of the walk up that staircase. I was a big dude at that time and, man, my shoulders were scraping all the way up to the top. These photos, for whatever reason, brought me back to the smell of it…the old stones and such. I have the picture of me kissing the stone behind the podium in my classroom. Great post…it made me reminisce.

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