Previously on WordPress:
Kelsey, Libby, Danielle, and I decided last minute to take a bus to Cork, spend the night, and go to Blarney the next day. Our bus left at 6pm, and after narrowly avoiding missing it due to extreme amounts of traffic caused by a rugby match, we traveled the four hours (which were painfully non-direct) to Cork, and arrived at our hostel about half past 10. The hostel had a bar inside, and being a bit stressed from the trip we each enjoyed a few drinks and went to bed.
That brings us to this morning.
We got up early, had a quick breakfast, and then headed to the bus station where we left for Blarney. About half an hour later we arrived in the small town and made our way to the only real attraction offered: Blarney Castle. Most people hear about Blarney Castle and immediately think of the legend of the Blarney Stone, and that if you kiss it, you’ll supposedly get the “Gift of Gab” and the ability to yarn captivating tales. Not that I need help to talk any more than I already do, but it is Valentine’s Day, and I was getting at least one kiss.
Despite the amount of germs I’m sure many of you are cringing at (it was named as the least hygienic tourist attraction in 2009), I also wasn’t going to climb all the way up through the castle and not kiss it, even if it meant getting lowered backwards over a crevice that dropped straight down a mere couple hundred feet. No safety net required.
Stone kissing aside, Blarney Castle is probably my favorite part of this entire trip so far. It is one of the more popular tourist attractions, but that’s at the height of tourist season which, luckily for us, is not the middle of February. Aside from maybe a half a dozen or so other people we saw at a distance, we pretty much had the grounds to ourselves. To understand the gravity of what that means, I should explain that Blarney isn’t one of those sites that ropes everything off except for a strict pathway that leads through approximately 10% of the entire building while advertising CCTV and severe punishments for any visitors who look at anything for too long. In other words, if there was a doorway, a staircase, or a hole in the wall that you wanted to explore, there was nothing stopping you so long as you could fit where you wanted to go.
This led us into windowsills, chimneys, unmarked servant’s quarters, secret stairwells that led to nowhere, a hidden dungeon, and a cave. After we were finished wreaking havoc on the castle, we moved down into the grounds to Rock Close, which are the woods near the castle. We explored all over the trail, finding things like the Witch’s Kitchen, Fairy Glade, Druid’s Circle, the Dolmen, waterfalls, a tire swing, and some ridiculous looking botany. We also found the Wishing Steps, which according to legend will grant you one wish if you can walk down and back up them once without holding on to anything, and without opening your eyes. Given that I’m often unable to walk in a straight line on a flat surface without tripping, I decided to pass on this opportunity, but Libby and Danielle both completed the challenge.
By this time we figured the grounds could probably use a break from us, so we had lunch, then returned to Cork where we caught the 4pm bus back to Dublin. It was a wonderful day trip, and like I mentioned before, my favorite so far. We had a lot of fun, took loads of pictures, and upon realizing that the four of us were the single ladies of the Loras group, had Beyoncé stuck in our heads all day (something that I’m sure you can relate to right about now).
Happy Valentine’s Day.