Sloppy Kisses with the Blarney Stone

16 Oct


This past weekend, 3 American students and I hopped on a bus to visit Cork and Blarney. We arrived in Cork (after a 4 hour bus ride) in the evening. We found a nice restaurant and had a traditional Irish meal. Our hotel was located in Blarney, which was only a short 15 bus ride from Cork City. The next morning we got a taxi to drop us off at the Blarney Castle! It was 10 euro to get in which felt a little pricey to just kiss a rock, but it was totally worth it because there was so much to see on the grounds around the castle. We walked down this super pretty path that was full of plants, trees, and a river. They had a few different gardens you could walk through. We decided to go up to the stone first before more people got there. The castle was built on a hill so first we had to walk up to it. Then there were 100 stairs on a spiral staircase to get to the top of the castle. The spiral was so narrow and the stairs were not very big. We also had our backpacks on with all of our stuff in them so the task of walking up these stairs was a little difficult. There were little rooms along the stairs that you could stop and take a break in (Thank god!) The castle is really old and run down. It kind of was just a bunch of rocks. A little history, the Blarney Castle was built in in 1400s as a medieval stronghold. The people who occupied the castle were Irish Lords and confederate soldiers. There were many rooms that you could stop in while walking through the castle but there wasn’t anything in the rooms, just little descriptions about what each room would have been used for. When we finally go to the top, the view was breath taking. I could see all of the rolling hills of Ireland and the cute little Irish houses all lined up. It was so pretty. We got lucky with the weather because there was no rain the whole time.

The Blarney Stone is said to have been a magical stone used as the place to crown Irish Kings. Those who kiss the stone are supposed to receive the gift of eloquence or the ability to deceive without offending. It is said that an Irish King was involved in a lawsuit so he asked the goddess Cliodhna for help. Cliodhna told the King to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court. He did just that and by some miracle, he won his case by pleading with great eloquence. After his win, he built that very stone into the castle. The actual stone is called “bluestone” and was put into the castle in the 1400s, right around when the current castle was built. (All info came from signs around the castle with support from the internet.)

The process to actually kiss the Blarney stone was terrifying. The area where you lay down is right on the edge of the castle and the stone is not attached so you are literally hanging out over an open space, ready to fall to your death. There was a man there to help hold onto you and tilt you back to kiss the stone. They also had metal rails to hold onto. It felt like I was just going to slip off the edge and fall down the crack to the ground. As you were upside down, you could see the ground below you, which was probably the scariest part. I kissed that stone as fast as possible and stood up. It was so cool to do it but I don’t think I’ll ever need to do it again. Apparently the metal rails to hold onto haven’t always been there. To kiss the stone, someone used to hold onto your ankles and you literally just hung upside down with nothing to hold on. I am very much appreciative for the metal rails now.

After my kiss with the stone, we headed back down the narrow staircase to the bottom floor of the castle. We decided to check out the Poison Garden which was right next to the castle. It had all of these poisonous plants growing in it with cages over them. It was so weird because one of the plants they had growing was a Marijuana plant. I just thought it was so funny because that’s not even poisonous! So crazy. The rest of the garden was really pretty. We walked down to the Dungeons and caves that are under the castle. 

Kissing the Blarney Stone is one of the first things Americans think of when they think of Ireland. When I first was accepted to study abroad in Ireland and after I had told my friends and family, everyone always asked me “Are you going to kiss the Blarney stone while you’re there?” I am happy to announce that Yes, I have kissed the Blarney Stone. It was definitely an experience that everyone needs to try at least once in their life. 

Ebby Szczerbinski 10/16/2013


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