This weekend I went to Cork, a trip I had wanted to take since the beginning of the semester. Originally this was not on the NU.in Ireland itinerary; however, due to popular demand, an excursion to Cork was finally made possible. The first place I went to was the famous Blarney Castle. A medieval castle originally built as a timber hunting lodge however converted into a stone castle in 1210. The construction we see today was finished by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster in 1446.
I found this to be a very small castle with extremely steep stairs. It was interesting exploring the different rooms as I learned about strange practices during that era. For instance, I went into the “murder room” which was a room with a big hole on the floor. When unwanted guests would come in, the guards who worked in the murder room would drop various items on them such as hot oil and rocks. As I kept climbing up further on the stairs, I eventually reached the top of the castle where the Blarney Stone was. Before coming to Ireland, I already knew of the legend that if you kiss the stone you would possess “the gift of the gab” so kissing the Blarney Stone was a top priority for me. The whole process was quite scary as you had to lie backwards with a man holding you while your head had to be lowered to kiss the stone. I am a little afraid of heights so the thought of falling did in fact cross my mind. Nonetheless, I kissed the Blarney Stone.
Afterwards, I visited the areas surrounding the castle, such as the “poison garden.” As the name suggests, this garden had various poisonous plants with a sign that clearly said to not smell, touch, or eat any of the plants. Besides the poison garden, the plants on the terrain in general were very strange. I saw odd looking trees that twisted around other trees and ones there were bent awkwardly. It was fun to climb over the weirdly curved branches and sliding down the trunk.
Overall, I was glad to have finally visited the Blarney Castle as it really is an interesting historical monument with various greenery to see.