3.29.09 Copper Coast to Blarney
Blarney Travel Blog› entry 14 of 114 › view all entries
3.29.09 Busy, productive day today! We changed our clocks for daylight savings time and were up before 9 am. Sunday morning was a lovely time to drive the Copper Coast. It is a hilly, curvy road overlooking windswept cliffs along the ocean- dramatic and spectacularly romantic. No one else was out and it made our ambling pace relaxing.
We stopped in Midleton- there is the distillery of the famous Jameson Irish Whiskey there. Irish whiskey has an "e" in it and is distilled three times, as opposed to the Scottish whisky that has no "e" and is distilled only twice. American is distilled only once. Anyway, we had a grand time seeing the movie, the many buildings, and the enormous mechanical equipment. Lia got to ring the big bell that was used to notify the coal suppliers below of the heat needs for the distillery equipment above.
At the tour’s end, we all got to sample the Irish, Scotch, and American whiskeys. Okay, the kids got water, but I earned a taste tester certificate in spite of having to take a pass on the big glass of whiskey at the end. Being the only driver…
We continued through rain and rather heavy Sunday afternoon traffic around the northern ring road of Cork. Cork is second to Dublin in terms of size, but I understand only about a fourth the size of the million people in the capital of Dublin. The ring road was often a hilly, curvy two lane road with many stoplights, so we were glad to head north of town for Blarney.
Blarney Castle is right off the main square of Blarney with hidden parking of a large lot, for which we were grateful. There were more tourists here than we’ve seen on our trip and while not crowded, we can only imagine the crush in the summer. There was no wait to climb into the castle and up the claustrophobic, winding stone staircase to the very top. We also did not have to wait to lie on our backs, grasp the iron rails above our heads and lean way back over the open air to kiss the Blarney Stone. Have I developed eloquence from my endeavor? I think not, but kissing the stone was a "must do" and the assistant and photographer there put our minds at ease. I took our own pictures and saved the 10 E per picture, but they are not such great candids by any source, given the antics required.
We enjoyed the magical rock castle garden with trees with ancient root systems, marble wishing stairs to climb with your eyes closed, and information about the Irish legends and techniques for keeping the fairies at bay. Entertaining and beautiful gardens.
At the front reception area, our request to stay overnight in the nice parking area resulted in a "no" because "it is private" (what does that mean?) but they kindly told us of the Blarney Woolen Mill coach parking right across the street. I tried to get directions to the police station so I could secure permission, but their station was recovering from a fire and their whereabouts were unknown. So off we went there, where we ended up spending the night alone in the lot with no bothers. I did feel like I was sleeping with one eye open worried about it though, so it was not overly restful.
But we did get to enjoy the spoils of the enormous shops at the Woolen Mills center and got Ned a little gift. We also used our entire 10 E phone card to call Ned and talked for 30 minutes until it unceremoniously cut us off. We wandered a local grocery store and found items that could be cooked only on the stove. Without a generator or oven, our food selections require thinking and we eventually came up with good ole’ Texas tacos, which were delicious. We also bought Guinness (for me) and some real Irish cheese to have with crackers. The cheese was really good. The Guinness… there is a reason they call it stout. Whew! But I managed.
We did try to go to the one campground in Blarney, just to check it out, but it was indeed closed with a locked driveway bar and a sign indicating the April 1 opening. Wednesday cannot come soon enough with some cg’s opening then. So we had no options for about 20 miles (the only other one being back in Midleton) and so we resorted to our Central America tactics for boondocking.