The Emerald Isle, where we almost kissed the Blarney Stone in Cork (yes, almost…), walked atop the parapets of King John’s Castle in Limerick, stood at the very edge of the Cliffs of Moher on the far Western Coast, and felt our mortality while standing inside a 5000 year old monolithic passage tomb at Newgrange! Not to mention the many other amazing sights “along the way” during our recent visit to The Republic of Ireland!
With no shortage of interesting must see places, manageable driving distances between cities, and a long wish list of sights to see in a relatively short period of time we decided driving would be a great way to try and see it all! Picking points of interest about 2 or 3 hours into the route on driving days would give the kids a break from the car and all of us the opportunity to see even more of the beautiful Emerald Isle!
The Blarney Stone
Along the way from Dublin to Killarney… Cork, Ireland 259k from Dublin
The first leg of our road trip around Eire was from Dublin to Killarney, and our midpoint stop was Cork! Home of the famous Blarney Stone located in Blarney Castle! I won’t pretend this is not an incredibly touristy destination, it absolutely is. For that reason Tim wasn’t all that keen on a stop here, but as I always say, “these places are touristy for a reason.” Sometimes good and sometimes bad, but I’m happy to say we all loved our visit, even Tim!
For more than 200 years people from all walks of life have climbed to the top of Blarney Castle and kissed the Stone hoping to gain the gift of eloquence. After some debate, Simon and I decided that although the Blarney Stone is the world’s germiest tourist attraction* we too would join the ranks, brave the germs, and the incredibly long lines and kiss the stone. After all who couldn’t use a little more eloquence, and besides how could we come all this way and not at least give it a try?
All of this sounds easy, but in order to kiss the Blarney Stone one has to lay down on their back and lean backwards over a large opening at the very top of the Castle’s parapets. What I should say is that Simon and I attempted to “kiss” the Stone, but honestly it was so far out, did I mention the very large opening, and the drop is so far down… Even with assistance from the Castle staff neither Simon nor I could reach it without leaning WAY WAY over… and really, don’t I already have the gift of eloquence? Oh well… we almost kissed the Blarney Stone!
Don’t despair lovely readers, our visit wasn’t for naught! The climb up through the Castle to kiss the stone provided lovely views of the surrounding countryside…
The Castle grounds were beautiful, much more so than we expected, with extensive gardens including a poison garden, creeks, and walkways.
We spent about two hours exploring and taking pictures but easily could have spent two more…
Stay tuned for our next stop on our road trip around Ireland…Killarney and Ring of Kerry!
*We’ve now visited #1 and #2 of the world’s germiest attractions! Read about our visit to Seattle’s Gum Wall located in the Pike Place Market!