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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not kissing the Blarney Stone

This is the lovely Blarney Castle.
On our way back to Cork we saw it on the map and decided it might be worth a look, even though anything 'Blarney' seems to be sort of cliche' and touristy.
When we got there, there were quite a few cars in the carpark and a big touristy gift shop flanked entrance (with a 10 euro admittance fee) but we decided to go anyway.
I'm so glad we did because it is definitely one of the prettiest places in Ireland....The walk to the castle takes you through a creek lined park and looming ahead is this huge stone structure..
Once inside you must walk up the 147 stone spiral staircase steps to get to the top...I was a bit worried about Dad but once again, trooper that he is, we kept going and arrived safely at the top and looked out to a gorgeous view of the property  which has been witness to many battles since1446...

  It had been raining up until we got to the top of the castle when the sun came out to show off all of those magnificent shades of green!   The stone work is incredible and once again a photographers dream with a shot around every corner...                                  

          Looking over the edge about 150 feet down .

When you're at the top for another added fee you can kiss the famous Blarney Stone which entails lying over an opening in the castle floor, upside down and kissing a big wet rock.
It's supposed to give you the gift of the gab...needless to say Dad nor myself needs it (since we already possess enough of that) and I couldn't really imagine paying the extra euro to give myself and Dad back trouble for the remainder of our trip!
When we climbed back down, we had the chance to meet up with some really friendly rooks who were hanging out in the picnic area...they are the Irish version of our ravens...

Anyway it was back on the road to Cork to return our rental car and hop the train to Dublin...

You say Shaboom, I say Macroom....

After Dingle we headed back to Killarney and stayed another night in a pretty little boutique hotel with views looking out into the village.

It was a rainy day so we thought we would just drive towards Macroom and see where it took us.
Dad kept calling it Shaboom and I just about drove off the road cause it was driving me batty!
On the way into Macroom, we found this lovely old cemetery and church ruins and pulled over for a closer look.

                        The views were really pretty out into the valley...
We had passed through Macroom on the way into Kerry and decided to come back and have a closer look. Right in the middle of town, (actually the motorway runs straight through it) is a medieval castle bulit around 1654. Sir William Penn was granted this place by the oh so generous Oliver Cromwell.
   The motorway bridge is another gorgeous marvel of architecture..

             And of course another mossy old cemetery to poke around in...

 I found this tombstone and thought it very interesting and one of these days will try to do some research into the battle it mentions.
Well back from my research and found a link on Wikipedia about the battle which happened very close to where we were.Click here to read more Coolavokig Ambush. It was areal hot bed of ambushes in this area, in fact it's where the famous Michael Collins was killed in a similar ambush.
The walk around Macroom was so interesting...deeking in and out of Medieval castles along the river...I even found a pretty broken piece of old pottery as a souvenir
We were in Macroom on a Sunday and at around noon we decided to go for lunch in a hotel on the main drag. Well talk about dining with the locals! It was the big Sunday buffet for many locals after church so we sat and people watched and listened to the men propped up at the bar speaking in Irish while we ate another excellent meal.
A short note: I had left my charger and extra camera battery in our room in Dingle, and didn't realize it until Macroom which is a good 3 hour drive away. So instead of going back for it we had the Oh so sweet Thomas from the Quayside B&B click here for more to put it in the post for me. Therefore there are only a few chosen pictures left and since it was nearing the end of our trip, I figured I would rough it and put the rest of my memories in the old fashioned brain.
 On the way out of the Macroom area we stopped in another pretty little Irish town called Kenmare where almost right in town is a tiny park with some ancient bronze age standing stones.  The odd thing about these is how they got to this spot since the type of rock is only found in an area many miles away and these stones weigh a few thousand pounds each....