Friday, October 12, 2012

Irish Adventure: Blarney Castle

"Cormac MacCarthy,
Bold as bricks,
Made me
In Fourteen Forty-six."

And ol' Cormac built to impress. Visiting Blarney Castle was like diving head-first into a fairy tale. The ancient monolithic structure protruding from velvet green grass made our imaginations run wild.

A time-honored tradition is to kiss the Blarney Stone. Supposedly one of the 99 things to do before you die, we couldn't resist trying it. Kissing it is supposed to bring one eloquence. (We'll see if it helps my blog posts!) You can see in the picture below that you have to lay down and lean over backwards over a castle wall with your head way back in order to reach it. A fairly wild experience if you are at all scared of heights. These days, there are rails to block your fall and a nice castle employee to hold onto you, but apparently it used to be something that people risked their life to do. (There's even a Sherlock Holmes story about a man falling to his death in an attempt to kiss the stone.) Even so, my husband had a tight grip on my son's legs just in case.: ) I wasn't so much of heights as of the germs that might have been lurking around following the hundreds of visitors who came before me that day. My 6-year-old daughter was a little too frightened to try, but then again she doesn't need the gift of gab since her nickname is "Motor Mouth".

My son kissing the Blarney Stone. 
While the castle itself is impressive, the real stars of the show at Blarney are the centuries-old trees and boulders found everywhere on the grounds. At home we've been reading The Hobbit of late, and we were all convinced that Tolkien must had this place in mind as he was writing. The kids half-expected to see an elf or fairy pop out from behind a tree at any moment.: )

Having our grandparents with us made the experience all the sweeter.

There is also a cave that leads to the dungeon. Definitely not meant for full-grown adults in the 21st century, I had to turn back because of claustrophobia. My kids went on until it turned pitch-black.: )

If you are looking for a fairy tale, Ireland is the place to find it!

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