This photo of Blarney Castle & Gardens is courtesy of TripAdvisor
My family went on a trip to both England and Ireland when I was 19. We spent one week in England visiting family and then we headed over to Ireland to visit extended family. My father was elated to roam is old stomping grounds in the southern part of Ireland. While he is British, he used to spend summers in Ireland with his family. It had been decades since he returned and this time he was bringing his new family.
We stayed in Mitchelstown in the southern part of the island. We had rented a car in London, drove through England and Wales, took a ferry to Ireland and drove to where we would be staying. There wasn’t much in Mitchelstown and we had to go quite a distance to do any sightseeing. Luckily we were close enough to Blarney to visit the famous Blarney Castle.
One of the amazing things about Ireland is how green everything is. In ways, it reminds me of Japan because they are both a vibrant green color with mountains covered in grass that look like you could walk to the top! Blarney Castle was covered in green foliage which was nice to view while we stood in line awaiting entry.
I was a little disappointed in the actual structure of Blarney Castle. I have been spoiled by London and its lavishly decorated castles which have been preserved impeccably. Blarney was nothing like London. It seemed to be falling apart right in front of our eyes. When we climbed the stairs to the top, it seemed a little unsafe, but everyone else was going so I followed along.
When my brother, mother and I reached the top we were greated by a funny old man who offered to hold our feet while we bent over backwards, off the side of the castle, upside-down, and kissed the Blarney stone. We had climbed all the way to the top of this rickety old castle so there was no way we were passing it up, but it didn’t seem that… safe. According to legend after kissing the Blarney stone you will be given the ‘gift of the gab‘ – the ability to talk and convince people. I did it!
The Blarney House is more of what I was expecting in a castle (come to think of it… maybe I have always confused ‘castles’ with ‘palaces’ and ‘manors.’) The Blarney House is in much better condition and is much more luxurious in its appearance.
Over 10 years later I definitely have the ‘gift of the gab.’ I worked in sales for quite a bit and could be quite convincing at times. Whether its just my Irish blood or that I kissed the Blarney Stone, we’ll never know, but that kiss could have been magical!
For additional information on Blarney Castle check out these posts: