Saturday, July 18, 2015

the gift of gab!

Today started out with quite an adventure! We are staying in a more typical hotel, and it is quite dark and very quiet when it is time to sleep. So, thinking the alarm was set for 8:20 am, I got up to use the restroom and realized it was 10:35 am!

Fortunately, all we had on the agenda today was exploring the Blarney castle, and we were only taking a city bus to get there, so it wasn't a huge ordeal. Though we did not stop for a lovely breakfast like we have been. That being said, MAN, you could spend all day at the Blarney Castle.

Let me start by saying, the weather today was PERFECT. It was wonderfully comfortable for a light tshirt and some jeans since we were walking, that helped keep us pretty warm. The weather really makes a difference at the castle grounds, because there is so much to see! There are gardens everywhere, gorgeous rose and petunia gardens with plants I've never seen before,  and a very interesting poison garden with plants that are deadly if their leaves are crushed (those plants are surrounded by jungle-gym style covers.

In addition to the gardens, there is the Blarney House manor, which we did not get to go into due to time and desire. However, the Blarney Castle is super cool! The castle has every castle-related thing you could ever hope to see. Amazing dungeons, caves, a lookout tower, and an insanely tiny spiral staircase that leads to the Blarney stone, which is, of course, at the top of the castle. For those of you that don't know, the Blarney stone is said to give the gift of eloquence. Cormac MacDermot McCarthy wanted to keep Ireland seperate from England, but wasn't very good at converstaion. An old woman he met on his journey told him that when the castle was built, a stone was put into place and a man said that no one would ever be able to touch that stone again. The old woman told Cormac if he could kiss the stone, he would become an eloquent speaker, and so a legend was born.

We overheard some people talking about the line wait time, and they said that because it was an hour and a half wait, they weren't going to go kiss the stone, they would go instead to the Wishing Steps (you walk up and down these steps with your eyes closed thinking of nothing but your wish and it supposedly comes true). Drew and I thought that to be crazy because why would you take that over the Blarney Stone? Regardless, I'm glad they left, the line ended up only taking about an hour.

The view from the top of the castle was amazing. And terrifying. Because there are "drains" at the top (by drains, I mean GIANT gaps in between the floor and the wall with maybe two iron rods) the wind at the top of the castle is INTENSE. I've never been in one of those indoor skydiving rooms, but it felt similar to what I imagine that to be like. Well, if that wasn't scary enough, the Blarney Stone is located towards the very bottom of one of those rods! You have to lay on your back, over the top of the castle, completely at an angle where if there wasn't a rod and a man holding your feet you would fall. I will be completley honest, I almost chickened out at the last moment! But I'm glad I didn't, I would have been ashamed.

After we returned to our hotel, we spent some time relaxing, I chatted with my sister and Abuela for a little bit, and then we headed out for some chinese! By the time we were back at the hotel, it started to pour down rain, but we are grateful for that nonetheless!

We are currently packing our things and getting ready to leave this beautiful country tomorrow. England, here we come!

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