Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blarney Castle Adventures

It's been too long since I posted, but I have epic stories involving a castle to make up for it. (Well they at least involve a castle even if they aren't actually epic)Star, her roommate - Monique and I decided to plan a day trip this week because they don't have classes on Fridays and I'm job-less-and-fancy-free still. Syndey -one of the other study abroad girls joined us as well. We figured something touristy and Irish would be in order for our first attempt at this, so we settled on Blarney Castle. (The most photographed building in Ireland as the wayside signs told us to explain how popular it was.) 
You can see why it's the most photographed
We took the bus, because it was mildly cheaper and not any slower than taking the train down to Cork. It took a bit over three hours from Galway through Shannon and Limerick (where the McCormack side is from!) to Cork (which is the second largest city in Ireland). Yes - when we decide to be touristy, we read a lot. Even as the second biggest city, it is only about 200,000 population wise and 14 some square miles.

Google maps is so clever it now knows to center on Ireland.
We got up super early and took the 7:05am bus, then napped a bit on the way there. We grabbed some food/cake in Cork and caught another bus out to Blarney Castle. After we arrived and got our tickets, we snapped a couple of goofy photos then came into sight of the Blarney Castle. Despite the fact we had just traveled all morning to see said castle, and then we had just followed signs through town to find said castle, and then we had just bought tickets and gone through the gate for said castle we all literally squealed with excitement when we actually saw said castle.With a middle-school-girl-who-just-got-asked-out-by-justin-beiber-or-something-level of high-pitchedness. 
We took our time wandering through all the rooms to the tippy top to kiss the Blarney Stone. Tradition is that kissing the stone will give you the gift of blarney = clever, eloquent, flattering speech. It has been there since 1446 and a lot of people have now kissed it including Winston Churchill and Mick Jagger. So that's something. 
The Blarney Stone is way up
where the man in red is sitting  
Out under the edge the of the battlements

You sit down and lean way back to reach it and there's a old Irishman to spot you. "Let's see how she kisses in the afternoon" he said as each of us took our turn. And he was entertained that we used the term craic. It was grand.
Once we were back down out of the castle our glorious sunshine disappeared and turned to really cold windy rain. We went around to the old-stables-now-gift-shop and found a fireplace going with a real fire which was perfect. After chilling by the fire for a while the sun showed back up. (Turns out when they say 10% chance of rain in Ireland it pretty much means that it will rain, but only 10% of the time). While the sun was out again we walked over the the not-as-old-but-really-amazing Blarney House. Which in turn drew a not-quite-as-bad-but-still-incredibly-high-pitched-burst-of-excitement when we saw it. 
Not only an amazing house, but a highly photogenic one as well
We walked to a couple other points marked on the map of Blarney, only got rained on a little more, and managed not to get yelled at for climbing on anything we were pretty sure we weren't suppose to climb on. The old trees here make legends of fairies and leprechauns seem incredibly logical. They are all covered in moss and seems to be clearly hiding mystical creatures. As well as awesome amounts of fun.
This tree may have even been more exciting than the Blarney Stone.
It took multiple jumps to get up on the tree and so success was sweet
We managed to get all four of us into the tree and have a wonderful time which resulted in getting quite muddy and sitting in bird poop, but not slipping off so it's all good. After our fantastic adventures in the tree which were a little too well documented on my camera. We headed to an amazing garden area called the Rock Close.
There be fairies here
You go through a tunnel in the wall to get to the Rock Close and every part of the moss covered trees, trickling waterfalls, and stone features gives the impression that it is an enchanted place. When I traveled around Ireland with my brother after his Rome semester, Blarney was one of the places we came and so I remembered most of the castle and I knew I wanted to see the garden again and it did not disappoint. It was magical and very fun to explore. The crowning point of
If these are Ents it wouldn't surprise me either 
our epic day though was as we walked back from the Rock Close past the castle and the world's best rainbow. There was most certainly a pot of gold at the end being guarded by a magical little man in green. By the time we got a photo with us in it, the rainbow was actually starting to fade, but it still captured our extreme excitement. 
Our adventure went so smoothly that our bus arrived in Cork just in time to hop onto our bus from there to Galway. We ate the rest of the cake/lunch and chatted the whole way home hyped up on the coffee. Then I was held captive by Star and Monique until I posted my photos. And we've begun to plan our next adventure as well.
"Cause we live in Ireland"


  1. *Overwhelmed with the awesomeness of this post and with extreme envy.* What's new.

  2. I would like to say I took half these pics :P and good post Ber :)