Today we managed to make it to Blarney Castle. Teri and I had been there before, but for many reasons we both wanted to go again. This time we would show it to Bobbi and Phil.
Again we went to the Adare Heritage Center and had breakfast before heading out in our trusty Ford Focus (yes, both mirrors are still intact). The trip to the castle was supposed to take about 90 minutes but the weather was overcast and it was drizzling so we assumed it may take just a little longer. We also decided to put the GPS away and let Navigator Phil guide us to Blarney. He is pretty good with a map and he told us he knew a shortcut.
We got there anyway.
We easily found the parking area and fixed out clothing for the weather and headed to the castle. There were not too many visitors and we decided to take the roundabout route to the hill where the castle stood. Along the way we saw quite a few birds and according to Teri and Bobbi, they were not like our friends back home. We talked with one of the maintenance staff and he gave us directions that would help us see the most interesting parts of the park. The only problem was that because of his thick brogue, we really didn’t understand a word he said.
We managed to make it anyway and headed to the castle. It really is an impressive structure and the views from the top were beautiful. When we finally climbed the narrow stairs to the top, we were tired, but excited and ready for the stone.
Teri and I told Phil and Bobbi that you had to lay down and lean backwards to kiss the stone, but I don’t think they really knew what it would be like. The castle is easily five stories tall and the stone is on the top level, on an outside wall. There is an open space between the walkway and the outer wall that extends to the basement so as you are leaning backwards you literally look to the bottom of the building before you kiss the stone.
“Oh my,” Bobbi said in a loud and excited voice as she drifted over the open space. “Is this what you are supposed to do?” she said.
Teri, Phil and I followed her and we laughed together as we made our way back to the bottom. Once we were safely back on the grounds, we decided to visit the refurbished stables (there was a small cafe and rest area there) and get some coffee, tea and scones. It had been about three since we had eaten – so why not.
As the rain and drizzle came down, we sat in front of a small fireplace and had our hot drinks and snacks. It really was good just to sit and enjoy the time together without a schedule.
Finally we decided to move on and went for a walk on the grounds surrounding the castle. Teri and I saw many of the plants and gardens we had seen on our earlier trip, but this time the gardens were either dormant for the winter or trimmed back in anticipation of the spring. It was nice.
In all, we spent about 3 hours walking around the area, and then we decided to head into town. Teri, Bobbi, and Phil wanted to pick up a few things at the Blarney Woolen Mills, and I wanted to walk around the town. We decided to meet later in the afternoon and have lunch together at the small restaurant on the corner of the main street. Yes, some people would classify the restaurant as a pub, but hey, we were ordering food too!
We each had a small bowl of soup and some brown bread (not the kind you have with baked beans – more like a wholesome version of 12 grain bread, but sweet) and then made our way back to the car. We left Blarney at around 5 p.m. local time and without too many wrong turns, we pulled into the villa at 6:30.
We decided to walk into town for dinner and surprise, surprise, we had a small meal at Bill Chawke’s Pub. As we ate, we watched a Champion’s League soccer match with some of our local friends and then walked back to the villa. We were all tired and happy.
Anyway here is a slideshow I created from our adventures. I hope you like them, and Happy Birthday little Emma!