Sunday, December 11, 2016

Blarney Castle: Part 3 -- The Rock Close

The Rock Close -- weird name, right? Yeah, I agree, but I like it too. (After all, it mentions rocks.) As the name implies, there will be plenty of rocks, so open your mind to the possibility (probability) that rocks can be AMAZING!

To enter this section of the garden we had to walk through this stone tunnel.
Upon reaching the other side, we entered a mystical, ancient realm full of beauty, wonder, and myth. Mossy coated walls, and ivy blanketed the area.
Magical trees ruled the garden.
Charming Waterfalls played the music of fairies.
Some of the waterfalls hid secrets behind their gushing silver liquid. 
We kept our feet dry by staying on the boardwalk across the swampy pool.
Next, we went under this arch of trees!
This magical little pathway brought us to... guess what? ... ROCKS!
Alright, fine, I'll show you the slightly more interesting rocks that were there.
This is a Dolmen. Remember that broken one at the Burren? This is just a different version of the same idea. These dolmens were incredibly popular as tombs in the ancient days. It was really neat to see one at Blarney Castle.

The path curved and disappeared behind some more rocks.
A stone staircase led somewhere magical I'm sure (But I don't know where. Lauren wouldn't let me explore it, which is probably a very good thing. We didn't have much time, and the faeries might have taken me away!)

These are the Wishing Stairs behind the waterfall. Legend says that if you walk backwards up them with your eyes closed your wish would be granted. I don't know because I didn't risk it...
And this is that waterfall from the other side!
We climbed the Wishing Stairs (eyes open) and came to the Witch's Kitchen. One of the highlights being this beautiful tree!
The second highlight was this! This ancient rock cave, which the first inhibitors of Ireland probably built to live in, was right under the roots of that tree.
How neat is that?
This is the entrance to the Wishing Stairs.
Isn't that tree, just magical?

Keeping with the "witch" theme was this stone which looks like the ugly witch herself. Pointy nose and all!
On top of the Witch's Stone were pennies (or other equivalent amounts of coins) There were many euro coins and pounds, but there were also coins from around the world!

This part of the garden was framed by -- guess what? More rocks! Yay for me!
We continued on to this glade called the Druid Circle. This location was once a site where ancient Druids gathered.
Once again, the area oozed mystic beauty with ivy...
and mysterious paths and trees.
Oh, and beautiful mossy rocks complete with ferns!
Had we had more time, I would have utilized this stone bench to soak it all in.
This tree was a weird one. The strangest I've seen. The faeries probably come and make a harp with it on misty mornings.

Mossy trees, just like mossy rocks, make me happy.
This fiery red tree looked like the perfect home for faeries!
In fact, the area was called the Fairy Glade.
I didn't see any faeries, but I did spot this cute little bird singing merrily in the branches. It blended in quite well.
More stone walls added to the ancient feel of the Rock Close gardens.

The Blarney Castle was a long way off now, but we had to get back there and meet up with the group -- fast!
Because of our hurry, we were unable to explore many of the amazing ancient sights such as this stone circle.

Well, that concludes our trip to Blarney Castle. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. It really was an amazing place. The gardens were the best, and there weren't many people around. The Rock Close was by far my favorite place. Maybe one day I'll get to go back and explore the grounds more closely.

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