Adventures at Blarney Castle

20130307-161059.jpgBlarney Castle, home to the Blarney Stone, arguably Ireland’s most famous attraction. Pucker up and kiss this nondescript expanse of rock and you will have the Gift of Gab bestowed upon you.

I don’t know if I got eloquence from it, but I certainly had a grand time at the castle.

This time around, there were three other girls riding solo on the tour and we all kind of gravitated together. I’m so glad we did! As much fun as I had on the other tours, having people to share this experience with made all the difference. And I had someone to take my photo, so less awkward selfies were required. Bonus.

20130307-155627.jpgThere are caves that go under the castle that we decided to explore. They aren’t so much caves, though, as very low, very tight, very dark, very muddy tunnels. I almost let my mild claustrophobia win by waiting for the others outside, but at the last minute I pushed it out of the way and followed Elizabeth, Nina and Kailey. Though the thought of all that rock above me made me feel slightly sick, it was highly entertaining to make our way through the “caves.”

 

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Slightly further along, there was a dungeon, too, which pretty much went the same as the cave expedition, except this tunnel ended with a tiny dark chamber where you could stand up. I’m a shorty, and even my legs were getting a workout from having to crouch and stumble along.

The castle itself is all mossy stone, impressive and old. Some places are old but don’t feel it (like the portal tomb I visited) but Blarney Castle feels like it has been there for a long time. (The 1400s, if I’m not mistaken.)

20130307-160201.jpgWe climbed up a steep, narrow staircase, exploring rooms as they came along. It was fun to come across a stone box of a room and find out it was a bedroom. Trying to imagine what that must have been like…draughty, anyway!

20130307-160330.jpgI wish I had managed to take a picture of the staircase, but none of mine turned out. It was so narrow, though, that my shoulders were nearly touching the wall on both sides. I’m no pixie, but I’m not a linebacker either, and I can’t imagine the climb is too comfortable for the more broadly endowed.

We got to the battlements at the top, where the Stone is located, and waited maybe three minutes in line. Then, suddenly, there I was, lying down on the rock worn smooth by thousands of other backs, being told to lean back and grasp the bars to pull myself slightly down and forward. It was disorienting. The hole you lean over opens onto the grounds, verrrryy far below, and you’re kind of putting your life in this man’s hands as you hang halfway upside down. To kiss a stone. The absurdity is delightful. I pulled myself forward, touched my lips to the Stone, and that was that.

20130307-160726.jpgQuick and relatively painless. Though I’m not sure how often they sanitize the Stone, so I’m just waiting to see if I caught mono or some other communicable disease, or whether I escaped unscathed.

The castle has fairly extensive grounds as well, that look gorgeous, but we opted for lunch instead. I have been purposefully leaving some things undone, so I will be motivated to get my ass back here sooner rather than later.

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After lunch, we headed to Cobh, which I thought deserved its own post. Be sure to check it out on Monday!

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Jessica

Jessica

Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me