We left The River Lee behind sometime shortly after sunrise on the fourth day and headed up through the busy winding streets of Cork towards Blarney Castle. The tour bus was pulling into the castle lot just ahead of us making Amanda and me groan a bit as we looked at the long lines we would have to stand in just to get onto the grounds. We groaned, that is, until we heard the tour guide tell the bussers that they had just one hour on the grounds before the bus pulled out. It was not the first nor the last time I was glad to be on a self-guided tour. Amanda and I may not have seen as many hot spots on this trip to Ireland as the bussers did, but what we did see we actually had time to process.
The road out of Cork. Towards Blarney
Blarney Castle was built some 600 years ago by Cormac MacCarthy one of the great Munster Chieftains
I don’t care how fast you walk, you cannot see the grounds of Blarney Castle in an hour. It takes almost that to climb up and down the ruin never mind the time it takes to spin around the beautiful grounds.
A view from below the poison garden
Poison Gardens were a common part of many medieval castles.
Because we could spend four or five hours at Blarney we were able to inspect the caves as well as the gardens. Here is Amanda at the entrance to the Badger’s cave, an ancient escape route out of Blarney Castle. The way is sealed though, you may not pass.
Of course if you are going to Blarney Castle you have to at least see the Blarney stone. You may not feel like kissing the thing but just seeing it launches you into the story of the Blarney Witch
We took some time in the rock close, the domain of the Blarney Witch.
The Witch’s Stone is said to be the ancient cage in which the Blarney Witch was trapped.
The falls in the rock close
The falls leading to the Witch’s Kitchen
Amanda walks the wishing steps.
A bird’s eye view from the top of Blarney Castle
A walk through the meadow gardens brings you to the foot of Blarney House the current home of the Lord Colthurst
We spent four hours at Blarney and could still go back to see more. All in all we felt bad for the people on the bus tour. They didn’t so much kiss the Blarney stone but miss the Blarney stone and so much more. My sister commented on the fate of the bussers when we were explaining it to her. She told us in Europe they call it seeing the world as an American, which means you go to a place, step out of the vehicle, snap a picture, get back in the vehicle, drive away and then tell the world you’ve seen it.”
I have been thinking this is how I often do life and maybe just maybe that has to change.