I need to back up a couple of days, back to the day we arrived at our apartments just outside of Dublin. That was a long day and I missed an important part of it: the morning and early afternoon, when we stopped by Blarney Castle to kiss the Stone of Eloquence, otherwise known as the Blarney Stone. It was actually one of the highlights of our tour, seeing the famous tower where the stone is located, but boy was it a long wait!
When we got there shortly after 10 o’clock in the morning the place was already swarming with other tourists, and we had to get in a long line in order to reach the top. Along the way we did a little exploring of the castle, which was largely open as compared with some of the other castles I had been in on my first trip to Ireland. There were so many nooks and crannies that weren’t off limits to the climbing tourists, which kept things interesting even though the line crept as slowly as molasses. We also made up a song to go with the experience. Here is how it went (to the tune of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”:
“I kissed a stone, and I liked it. Hope my tour director won’t mind it. I kissed a stone and I liked it. And I liked it.”
And we got into the debate over who was going to kiss it and who wasn’t. The legend of the Blarney Stone is that whoever kisses it will never again be at a loss for words, that it bestows eloquent speech upon its kissers, and thousands of visitors over the years have braved the elements, and the heights to do just that. However, thousands of visitors over the years have also kissed the stone. How sanitary can it possibly be? The debate then over who was kissing it and who wasn’t was a pretty heated one. People like me who are freaked out by every possible germ were deadset against it, while others who were more adventurous and who liked to play it fast and loose with germs were for it. In the end we all decided to climb the tower, and whoever wanted to kiss it once at the top would kiss it. The rest would just wait and come straight down.
It was a long and winding staircase, not to mention narrow as well, that brought us up to the top of the Blarney Castle to reach the stone. By the time we were finally at the top the song had worn out its welcome and it was time to make the decision. One by one we stepped up and decided to kiss that stone, but at the last possible second I just saw in my mind’s eye cold sores and grievous diseases. I ducked out and didn’t kiss the stone in the end, but I got this gnarly picture of it. And of course the others never let me live down my avoidance of the stone in the end, but I was proud because I conquered my fear of heights, and I’m never at a loss for words anyway, so there was no need to get germs. Right?
After we visited the castle itself, we checked out the grounds, which were absolutely beautiful. The gardens were in bloom and we went along several of the paths, stopping to have some lunch in the process. We took tons of pictures, too, and by the time we got back on the bus by 2 pm, we were even singing the song again. The trip to Dublin from where was exciting because it was filled with anticipation. My apologies for leaving this part of the tale out initially. I’m getting old. Yeah, that’s my excuse. Stay tuned for Part 8, in which we finally do board that ferry for Wales.