July 6th, 2012
We settled for the night in a tiny village called Baltimore on the South-western tip of Ireland.
We checked over our itinerary and realized that we needed to be back in Belfast on Saturday morning to return the car. Belfast is in Northern Ireland…on the East coast. There are not many places in the country that were further than Belfast from where we were at that moment and it was now Thursday night! We had one day to drive the entire country. We panicked!
Then we Googled the distance….
Five hours and 40 minutes! We were laughing! Thank God we were not in Cananda!
We were up early and on our way hoping to fit in a visit to Blarney Castle if we had time.
I ventured into Blarney-land on my own….spending five weeks in a car with anyone requires a few moments alone every now and then so Paul went off to do his own thing and I began my quest to kiss the Blarney Stone.
There are a few legends surrounding the Blarney Stone. Here is one version which seems to be the most supported:
The builder of Blarney Castle found himself involved in a lawsuit and appealed to the goddess Cliodhna for assistance. She told him to kiss the first stone he saw on his way to court. He did so, and pleaded his case with such eloquence that he won. This is why it is said that kissing the Blarney stone will impart great eloquence. “Blarney” has come to mean: “Gift of the Gab” (eloquence, or skill at flattery or persuasion).
He then incorporated the stone into the parapet of his castle and for centuries people have come to kiss the stone.
I was excited to take my place in the line of history.
This little lady welcomed me at the base of the tower.
Blarney Castle is an impressive structure. It’s a tower castle so it goes straight up with a circular staircase on one side. Blarney, built in 1446, was built in two parts so there are two towers side by side and two staircases inside.
(You can see the line down the middle showing the two separate towers.)
Each floor has a main room and smaller rooms off to one side. There are little passage ways everywhere which make it great fun to explore. The walls are over eighteen feet thick in some places!
I tried to get a photo of the ‘going up’ staircase but it was too dark and too crowded. It was the narrowest and steepest staircase I had ever been on! The steps were barely wide enough to hold the ball of my foot. Near the top I entered into a room to find a woman crying…apparently she didn’t like heights or small spaces and that staircase would aggravate both fears in the strongest of people!
(This is a photo of the ‘going down’ staircase. It is MUCH wider, the steps are considerably bigger and it has a handrail on the outside rather than a rope that runs up the centre…MUCH easier to navigate!)
(This was the family room and above this was the banquet hall… floor/ceiling is gone now.)
(The top of the castle looking over the banquet hall and family room)
The people in the photo are standing on the “Parapet” which is where the castle was defended from. There are large holes in the wall which were used for pouring hot oil or throwing rocks at invaders below.
The Blarney stones sits on the bottom of that far wall and you must lay down on your back and hang over the edge upside down upside down to kiss it. It is a chilling view looking up at the ground 90 feet away!
(The hole in the centre is the one where the Blarney stone hangs from)
The Blarney Stone is said to bring eloquence to the lips of all who touch it.
I kissed the Blarney.
I have no photographic proof.
I guess the truth will only be determined by the uttered “blarney” from my lips.