The weather today was nothing short of spectacular! It was a perfect day to enjoy a banquet of vistas… served from atop Blarney Castle, the verdant gardens surrounding it, and the byways of County Cork and Country Kerry.
Briefly, the current Blarney Castle dates to the early 1400’s, but stands atop older fortifications that date back to at least the 1200’s. It is the home of the renowned “Blarney Stone”. The Stone is believed to confirm upon those who kiss it the gift of an eloquent tongue or gilded flattery. Blarney is the expression of the “varnished truth”, whereas baloney is merely speaking an “unvarnished lie”.
As we approached the castle a piper played along the path. Christine struck up a conversation with him and at her request he played, as if for her ears only, Amazing Grace. I know that Christine savored each note in tribute to her family members who have passed, and those who struggle.
In times past kissing the stone involved considerable risk. The stone is at the base of a parapet nearly 90 feet above ground. One had to dangle upside down, held by ones feet, to reach the stone. In more recent times bars have been installed to prevent a headlong plunge to one’s death. However kissing the stone still requires an iron will and contortionist’s back. It also requires an accent of over 150 uneven steps through narrow serpentine passages.
In spite of her dislike of heights and closed spaces, Christine proved herself to be of stout resolve and equal to the task.
With Blarney Castle behind us we toured the countryside enroute to the town of Killarney. Since words will not do the day justice I will rely upon my camera to convey a sense of our experiences.
The day ended two floors below our room in Murphy’s Pub. The band played traditional Irish classics. Huw was really in his element as he sang right along at our table, knowing each line and verse by heart.
Sadly, it looks like Ireland is returning to its usual weather tomorrow. As one gentleman told us, “The difference between winter and summer here in Ireland is that the rain is warmer in the summer.”
Peace Everyone. Pete