Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blarney Castle: Part One -- the Castle and Stone

 Before I heap the wonders of Blarney Castle on you, I want to explain what I'll be doing on my blog for the next few months. Although Mizen Head marked our last trip, I still have many more blog posts dedicated to my semester in Ireland. I hope you'll continue to follow my adventure. However, the real purpose of this blog is for it to be a platform for my writing, so I'm hoping to start adding in a few posts dedicated to writing related things. Currently, my plan is to release a blog post every other day, with a few thrown in on off days. I hope you'll continue to enjoy reading about my adventures and share it with your friends.

Now that we've covered the business let's get to the fun part. Blarney Castle in Co. Cork -- probably the most touristy place in Ireland. Truth be told, I was not looking forward to going, much less kissing the slimy, germy Blarney Stone which has had millions of tourist's lips smudging it. After 2 1/2 months in Ireland, I enjoyed seeing and doing the things that most tourists don't do.

 I didn't get a picture of it, but in this spot, there was a stone circle to help visitors to get the "perfect" picture of Blarney Castle. I decided to be a rebel and took this one a few feet away -- it looks exactly the same...

 The great thing about Blarney Castle was all the little nooks, passages, and cave system under the castle. It was so neat to scurry up and down the circular staircases
 One thing about the Blarney Castle -- it was HUGE. Well, it was definitely the largest Irish Castle we'd seen.

 This cave led to the dungeon in the rock underneath of the castle.
 We had to stay bent nearly in half throughout the whole winding tunnel.
 Blarney Castle from the side.

 Poison Garden? I had a deep desire to go to it. That's not strange or disturbing, is it? *evil grin*
 Circular staircases = the bane of my existence. I thought they were cool at first -- no longer. (Just kidding. Walking the same steps medieval knights will always appeal to me.) They are still incredibly difficult to walk up and down. Uneven, narrow, and worn with age, they are a casualty waiting to happen. They got so narrow that, by the time we reached the top, my shoulders were brushing the sides of the wall!
 To reach the Blarney stone, we had to climb to the very top of the castle, but we took our time about it and explored every nook in the castle.

 After what seemed like miles of circular staircases, we reached the top and found this dizzying sight awaiting us.
Looking out on the garden from the very top.
 Across the way stands Blarney House. Unfortunately, it is closed during the off-season so we were unable to go inside -- not that I ever made it any closer than this. There was too much to explore in just a few hours.
 The way to the stone. I've no idea why these rocks are so uneven...
 I finally decided to do it -- I kissed the Blarney stone. I did so mostly because the stone actually has a pretty neat history, which I don't remember enough of to relay to you. I decided to wiggle out there over the edge at the very top of the castle and kiss the stupid stone. Legend has it, if a woman kisses the Blarney stone, they receive eloquence (maybe that was my secret reasoning) but if a man kisses it, they just talk unceasingly. Either way, the whole process resulted in this -- probably the most awkward picture imaginable.
 Well, lets move on. Here is another view of Blarney gardens from above.
 Medieval castles come with medieval means of defense. This is a murder hole, located above the entrance to the castle. It is designed so the defenders could pour hot sand, boiling oil, or any measure of physical discomfort (such as arrows and stones) on the attackers. Great plan if you ask me.
 The castle was lovely from all angles.
Come back in a few days and explore the Blarney gardens, including the poison garden!

1 comment:

  1. I think this one HAS to be my favorite post so far. It was not only brilliantly written and photographed, but down-right HILARIOUS! Well done, my friend, and if I do say so myself, I believe you ALREADY have the gift of eloquence.🌟