Kissing the Blarney Stone

[ 0 ] May 31, 2011 |

So we rented a car. It was a “cute” little Peugeot 207; a four door turbo diesel compact car that gets around 52 mpg.  Sweet.  We quickly dubbed it “bizzy”.

"Bizzy" our Peugeot 207

I also should mention that the Irish drive on the left side of the road, bizzy was a 5-speed manual, and the majority of Irish roads look like this:

Irish Roads

If Alison had access to horse tranquilizer pills, about now would have been a good time for her to make use of them.  Our plan was to hit three cities in three days starting with Cork, Ireland.  With a complementary map in hand, we were off.  We drove around the car rental terminal a couple of times just to “test ‘er out” – actually we wanted to make sure that I still remembered how to drive a manual.  Success; just like riding a bike.  We set off around our first round-about and were Cork bound.

A few hours down the M7 motorway and we finally arrived in Cork.  It was after 10pm and the city was alive with lights.  Not knowing where our hostel was we drove the main loop a couple times and luckily spotted a sign indicating directions to “Shelia’s Hostel” – yes, we stayed at a place called Sheila’s Hostel.  We parked the car, landlubber Alison kissed the pavement and thanked God she was still alive, we checked in, unpacked, and started counting sheep almost instantaneously.

Day 2

Waking up to an as advertised “continental breakfast” consisting of orange juice, toast and rice crispy cereal (fanc-say) we loaded the car and headed to the village of Blarney, Ireland about 10 kilometers outside of Cork.  It took us a bit to locate Blarney Castle, but we finally followed the right signs and found ourselves in the parking lot.  This 13th Century fortification is the famed home of the Blarney Stone, legend to bestow the gift of eloquence to anyone whose lips grace it’s surface.  Despite being nominated the “most unhygienic attraction in the world in 2009” by, given that both Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower found the courage to dangle upside down, atop a castle, hundreds of feet above ground, and kiss this strange piece of bluestone, we decided to go for it.  The pictures speak for themselves:

Blarney Castle

Blarney Stone From Castle Base

I should mention that leading up to “the kiss” Alison had wet wipes in hand ready to dispel any wayward bacteria.  But in the end, the excitement of the moment gave her a surge of courage as she saddled up to the stone, grabbed the bars, and pulled herself in for a big wet mushy smackaroo.  That a girl.

Alison Kissing Blarney Stone

Now possessing the gift of gab, we made our way down the castle stairs and out onto the estate grounds.  Wandering about a bit we meandered our way over to “Rock Close”.  After spending 5 minutes in “the close” you halfway expect a fairy to land on your shoulder or a hobbit to crawl out of a grassy mound.

Alison at the Witches Cave

Pat inside Druid's Circle

Secret Garden

After spending some time in never-never land, we found our way to the Blarney House, a grand estate built in the mid 1800’s.

Blarney House

We decided to squeeze in one more stop before heading north toward Galway.  So we loaded up and headed southwest bound for Killarney, Ireland and a quick stop to visit the Muckross House at the Killarney National Park.

150+ Old Redwoods

Muckross House

Muckrossed out and feet aching, we loaded up for one last time, put our barring on north and three hours later found ourselves in Galway, Ireland.

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Category: Blog, Destinations, Ireland, Pat's Blog

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