It’s getting cold. First of November and the first frost hit Dublin. This morning I left the house at quarter to five to find my wind-shield frozen over. Warm water assisted me, but you could have sworn I poured lava on it for the steam! After five minutes warming up the car, and dropping the kettle back inside the front door, I managed to head off to work.
As it begins to get colder I think about happier times – like last when I went to Blarney Castle again. I love the grounds at Blarney, but I’ve never been there on a sunny day! Never the less, I shall add to my post about it. Thus forms, the Blarney photo essay!
I’m going to come right out and say it: Blarney Castle is not a castle. It’s a tower house. In fact, most of Ireland’s castles are really tower houses. Like castles, they are fortified defensive structures, only castles have a little more offense in there. To put it mildly Tower Houses hide their hate better, whereas Castles come right up in your face and tell you they don’t like you.
Abusive analogies aside, the ‘castle’ is situated in the town of Blarney, just north of Cork City. About a ten minute drive. The town itself is blink and you’ll miss it, and I’m sure many do – bee-lining straight for the castle (said in that tone). A friend one had to catch a bus from there once and opted to not, in case they couldn’t find the stop (you can’t). It’s cute. It’s got a field. It’s got a post office. It’s the hometown of Mick Flannery, and if you don’t know him Google him since his surliness is very in vogue regarding all things sexy (also in that tone). I am to snarkie what Mick is to depression. And oddly – that’s a compliment.
I’m side tracked because I just had my life put in perspective by a job offer of becoming a Christmas Elf for two weeks. I’m still pondering that fate in case there is a chance Santa will take me back to the pole with him after Christmas where I can live in his workshop and play with toys and have Christmas all year round (breath, breath).
Anyway, since I have covered this history in previous write ups I won’t reiterate it. Blarney is high on the tourism hit list for its position in Irish legend and folk lore. In my opinion, Powerscourt has better gardens and Trim has better fortifications (being an honest to goodness CASTLE), but there is only one reason people go to Blarney – to kiss the Blarney stone. The myth is that those who kiss the stone will be given the gift of the gab. And that can’t be recreated anywhere!
Onward and upward! After a world tour of Scotland, the Blarney Stone returned to Ireland and is now incorporated into the tower. The Blarney Stone is situated in the top parapets of the castle. One winds their way up a spiral tower staircase to the roof, shuffles along the edge of the castle to where a man is perched precariously on the edge. I use the term one because although I have climbed to the top of Blarney Castle I have not launched myself off the edge. Basically, you lie on your back, reach for the bars now behind and slightly above you and the man joyfully grabs you by the waist and gives you the leverage to kiss the stone. So there probably isn’t much actually looking down involved.
I rather enjoy the poison gardens better. Keep walking around the back of the castle and you will find them nestled beneath what remains of Blarney’s battlements. In this garden is all manner of lethal plants with captivating explanations as to how people once used to think they were curing their children, but were really killing them slowly. I wanted to find as many Harry Potter potions class references as possible. Hellebore, I must be rusty on my Potterisms as I can’t remember if I am thinking of the game or the books when I got excited about that one! There is also some rather peculiar art…
Two hours at Blarney for the tour and I spent fifteen minutes whipping around, taking pictures before meeting some friends for lunch. I can thoroughly recommend the stew if you choose to eat at the restaurant next to the Blarney Woolen Mills. Fantastic. And that’s the end of my photo rant. I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures, perhaps learned something you didn’t know, but mostly enjoyed my over blown analogies! See you tomorrow x.