Kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland

A Bucket List is a wonderful thing. For those of you who have started one, either mentally or on paper, you might want to consider visiting Ireland.  Kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland was my number one, on the top of my list, top of the morning to you all, for 2013.

Blarney Castle in County Cork

Blarney Castle in County Cork

And the wonderful man I’m married to granted my wish, and said, “Go ahead, make plans to visit Ireland.”  After a chat with a my good friend Ross Pagano (from Synergy Travel), who poked around the Internet until he found us half priced airline tickets to Dublin, leaving JFK International Airport on Labor Day September 2, 2013, we were as good as on our way.

I did some searching on the Internet myself and hooked up with Exploring Ireland, an Irish based agency who get you information on driving instructions in Ireland, places of interest, restaurants, B&Bs, hotels, and a myriad of other delightful attractions to check out.

And of course, it’s always recommended, if you know friends who have traveled to a particular country, have them share their experiences and places they visited.  Our friends Bob and Nancy, suggested the Merrion Hotel for our two-day stay in Dublin (more about Dublin in part 2).

So here we are on the grounds of Blarney Castle, and stories began to circulate  how one woman from a group of U.S. travelers, got half way up to the top, had to turn around and go back down.  Her fear of heights did her in.

The grounds surrounding Blarney Castle

The grounds surrounding Blarney Castle

I had come all the way to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone, and now my knees were shaking.  Just how high was high?  I couldn’t not go!  My husband learned how to drive on the left side of the road to get me to County Cork.  And the evening before, we had had a wonderful dinner and saw a live show at the Muskerry Arms.  But of course, being right across the road from the Blarney Castle, jokes were told by a story-teller that evening about people who shivered in their boots climbing up the narrow spiril stone steps to the top of the castle.

Anxiety filled me as we entered the castle.  I can’t tell you exactly how many steps there are.  But I can tell you they get narrower and narrower the higher you go.  The pace was good though, as there wasn’t a long line, but enough people were in front of us for me to take the steps nice and slow.

At the top of Blarney Castle the view is extraordinary. Green fields and peeks of other castles and churches poked out from beneath the large trees. My husband opted to go first to prove there was nothing for me to worry about.

Kissing Blarney

Ralph kisses Blarney

I still had my facilties to take this picture as two strong Irishmen held on to my husband’s chest and legs  helping you position yourself to kiss Blarney.  And yes, I finally kissed the Blarney Stone.  My husband says I haven’t shut up since.

 

Muskerry Arms

Muskerry Arms: authentic Irish music

Look for Part 2: Dublin, coming soon.

Photos:  Patricia Florio

 

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