from Cork to Blarney to kiss the Blarney Stone
Blarney Travel Blog› entry 16 of 68 › view all entries
Tuesday morning, with my pack safely checked at the bus terminal, I walked about the town, but nothing much caught my interest in Cork City. If for lack of any other significant sites in the area, I took one picture of a modest Christian church and caught the 10am coach out of town.
Off the bus in Blarney, I discovered a picturesque village, some lavish homes with beautiful landscaping, and the famous castle. To my Irish enchantment, I heard In a Lifetime broadcast from the speakers outside the gift shop. I waited for the song to end before entering Blarney Castle.
From the top of the castle while queued to kiss the Blarney Stone (otherwise known as the Stone of Eloquence), I looked out over the surrounding woodlands in addition to Blarney House, a more recent mansion added to the property in 1874, which was not open to visitors at the time. Legend holds that any visitor who turns upside-down to kiss the Blarney Stone will thereafter possess with the “the gift of gab” (meaning great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone is simply a segment in the battlement around the roof of the castle. Two steel bars provide railings for visitors to hold while inverting themselves to kiss the wall. With decades of accumulated lipstick and natural bodily secretions, the stone is blackened and filthy. Repulsed by the idea of pressing my bare lips against the unsanitary masonry, I swung from the bars like an acrobat to reach an inaccessible part of the stone underneath and kissed the cleanest surface I could reach. I scoffed at the price of the optional “professional” photo.
Having lost myself in the gardens around the castle I found just enough time to visit a cemetery with graves dating back to the 1890s. As a church bell marked the hour, I caught the noon bus for the 20-minute ride back to Cork. Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall played over the sound system in the bus.