28 November 2009

Ireland - Blarney Castle

We found a fantastic B&B above a restaurant and bar right down the street from the Blarney Castle which was almost as good as the place we found next to Bunratty Castle. We had a nice dinner in the restaurant downstairs and woke up to a very excellent Irish breakfast.

Unfortunately it was raining like cats and dogs that day. Thankfully, it was the only day it rained like that the whole time we were there. So I think we were taking our good weather a little bit for granted and this day made us realize that.

Needless to say that made it much more difficult to enjoy and explore Blarney Castle and it made climbing to the famous Blarney Stone that much more difficult. I seriously never expected the experience to be as scary as it was.

First of all, they don't seem to require safety rails and such in Europe like they do in the US. So as you climb this very precarious castle with no rails it gets scarier and scarier the closer you get to the stone. Then when you get to the top, to the outside you have holes in the floor that are about 13 floors down to the ground below (which you can see) and to the inside is the inside of the castle with very small rails (probably about 6-8 floors).

The following pictures sort of give you an idea of what I'm talking about but they do not do it justice. You really need to be there to experience the complete scariness of it. Needless to say, I barely got out there and Micah could barely get to the top in order to get down. Rebekkah and Nicole did it with no problem at all because they are not scared of heights. They made the men seem like whimps. Oh well.

According to Wikipedia:

The castle originally dates from before AD 1200, when a wooden structure was built on the site. Around 1210 A.D. this was replaced by a stone fortification. It was destroyed in 1446, but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac MacCarthy - then King of Munster...At the top of the castle lies the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone. Tourists visiting Blarney Castle may hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáil—a magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.
As you can see from the pictures below the proof that we kissed the stone. We bought the pictures from the castle because we figured that our pictures weren't all that good because it was raining so bad. We were hoping that by kissing the stone we would all go back to France speaking French fluently. Unfortunately, it didn't work...

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