Blarney, Ireland

After our visit to Rock of Cashel, our loose itinerary had us headed toward Cork. I didn’t see much of Cork other than what was visible from the window, as we were merely passing through on our way to Blarney. If I’d had the time, I definitely would have gotten out of the car and explored as much as I could.

Incidentally, I rented a mifi device for the trip to Ireland. I cannot tell you how helpful it was pulling up Google maps versus trying to pinpoint our location using a huge folding paper map. We were also able to make calls on my phone using Skype on the mifi signal, with no worries about international charges. I don’t know that I’d ever travel internationally without that device again.

Back to Blarney… The weather was chilly and damp, making me grateful that I had purchased a pair of wool cabled fingerless gloves in Cashel. They kept my hands warm and my fingers free for doing important things, like shooting photos and holding a cup of coffee.

Blarney castle is probably one of the more well-known Irish castles, and it is also one of the oldest. My father visited Ireland decades earlier and had kissed the Blarney Stone at the top of the castle. Karen and I had already decided not to kiss it, as neither of us would normally touch anything that had already had thousands of other mouths on it anyway. However, we were still intent on climbing the steep and very narrow stone staircase (beware if you easily get vertigo or get anxiety in tight spaces) to the top of the castle to see the view of the beautifully tended grounds below.

It was very worth the trip.