Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cheap Things to Do in Ireland – Kiss the Blarney Stone

I actually did not want to kiss the Blarney Stone.  It sounded gross and like a tourist trap.  But Blarney Castle, and especially the surrounding grounds, really surprised me.

It was Frank’s cousin, who lives in Ireland, who convinced us we needed to go to the Blarney Castle, about three and a half hours away from Dublin.

Luckily, we were staying in a little (and I mean little) town south of Cork on our tour of Ireland and only had to drive about a half hour.

I expected Blarney castle to be swimming with people waiting in line to kiss the Blarney Stone.  But even though it was a beautiful day, it was relatively quiet. 

The building that stands today was constructed in 1446, but Blarney Castle dates back to the tenth centuryAt the bottom of the castle were the dungeons.  The dungeons were pitch black and apparently made for midgets.

Frank can barely fit through
I am kind of a midget and the close quarters in the dungeons made my skin crawl.

After Frank did his best dungeon pose…

We exited the dungeon and started making our way upstairs to the Blarney Stone.

Not all of the stairs were laid out that nicely.

But the castle was much more interested than I expected.

The "garderobe" was where people would go to the bathroom (this explains
Frank's pose).  People would stand over the grate and do their business and then
their "business" woud fall a few stories to the ground.  Kinda makes the other
bathrooms in Europe seem a lot more civilized (and sanitary).
I think my favorite part of the castle was the murder hole.

Nothing like throwing hot liquids on your guests to make sure
they never stop by unannounced again!
I was so in awe of the castle, I forgot what happens when you get to the top.  You kiss the Blarney Stone!  Only, you have to lay down and look upside down to do it, with only some crazy guy holding on to you.  Did I mention it’s about 90 feet in the air?

This is quite frightening!
After you kiss the stone, the story is you will have the “gift of gab.”  I think I already had that before, although most people wouldn’t call it a gift, but instead, annoying.  The view from the top though, when you aren’t upside down kissing a stupid rock, is breathtaking.

To me, the views, and the things around Blarney Castle, is what made the journey here so worth it.  Things like the Poison Garden…

The website for Blarney Castle says "the plants are so dangerous and toxic that they may be kept in large cage-like structures."  One of the plants is Cannabis, which is not-so-dangerous, but we also saw Wolfsbane, which contains a
deadly poison.  Awesome!
The Rock Close…

The brochure says the Rock Close is a "mystical place on the
stie of an ancient druidic settlement."  I just thought it was
really cool!
And the beautiful lake… where Frank’s cousin, Conor, didn’t realize the fence was electric and touched it.

Moments after the incident.  I didn't catch Conor in action
because I was laughing too hysterically!
You can visit the Blarney Castle and the surrounding grounds all year long (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – the Irish are very particular about Christmas), but the times vary depending on the seasons.

Total Cost: 12€/person (about $16)

Best Deal: Eating a Twister popsicle outside of the castle

These things are ah-maz-ing and to my knowledge, not sold in the States!

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