Blarney and the stone
It's not every day that one gets to go to a place that has entered the language, and the hearts and minds of all Irish wanna bes.
After a walking tour of Kinsale, we headed to the one place in Ireland everyone in the world knows of.
As castles go, it's middle of the road. It's small, its ruined, its cool. It overlooks the area from a small hill, and has a parklike area surrounding it. It's winter so much of the park is closed. It's what you've always imagined Ireland to be.
Since we all wanted the gift of Blarney, we scooted up the hill, into the castle, and up a narrow stairwell set in the castle walls. 130 +/- steps up and you stand on the ramparts, overlooking a wide view of Irish green. Since we moved with alacrity, there was only a short line.
Kissing the Blarney stone is a somewhat silly contorted operation, and requires a bit of help. After kissing it, you immediately begin to feel Blarney, coming up with elaborate explanations for all who will listen why you made such a goof of yourself by hanging upside down from a castle roof to kiss a dumb rock.
It really works! Yap, yap, yap. Back down the stairs, this time taking the time to view the sights, mostly empty rooms with signs explaining their former use. But it is a cool castle, and I mean cold. With the sky overcast, and the winds howling, it was cold enough to freeze your lips off. Even burning wood in the fireplaces, it's hard to imagine how cold the place must have been.
Stumbling around the grounds looking for faires and leprechauns for a while, we ended our quest and ran off to the lunch area where many of the group had a --- Guinness. It is after all a pub and folk tour.
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