When in Cork…

Encounters with Blarney

I am not above being a cheesy tourist. And one of the more cheesy, more touristy things I have ever done occurred a few years ago when I spent a few weeks tooling around Ireland.  After taking the ferry over from Anglesey to Dublin and tooling around Dublin for a few days, I headed south out of the city towards Cork.  I’m not a bad driver, but I don’t do so well with the manual transmission or driving on the opposite side of the road than what I’m used to.  Let’s just say it was baptism by fire, and I probably shaved a few years off my life and perhaps some of the other drivers on the Dublin-Cork highway.

I am a small town kinda girl, and while Cork is a pretty big city, but it’s fairly navigable.  Cork has a fair amount of charm, but it main draw in the Blarney Stone and to a lesser extent–Blarney Castle.

So the question of the day is did I kiss the stone? Did I really put my lips on that wet slab of germ-infested rock where thousands…maybe millions of people have done the same thing before me? Did I actually DANGLE my body off the side of the castle and risk my life?!  People have actually DIED doing this.

Yes. Yes I did.

I mean, how can you not? It’s there; I’m there. A lot of other people were doing it, and while it may be cheesy and touristy… occasionally I’m cheesy and occasionally touristy.

The Blarney Stone is a block of Carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 8 kilometres from Cork, Ireland. [Thank you Wikipedia] According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. The word blarney has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk”. John O’Connor Power’s definition is succinct: ‘Blarney is something more than mere flattery. It is flattery sweetened by humour and flavoured by wit.

The Blarney Stone gets all the press, but the castle itself is actually rather interesting and the surrounding castle grounds are gorgeous. The tiny, winding staircases are not for the claustrophobic, but the sweeping views of lush green country and manicured gardens are worth the trip to the top.

Kissing the stone is not for the faint of heart -– you have to dangle yourself over the gaping hole in the castle floor, death-grip the handrails and the man assisting unceremoniously grabs two fist-fulls of your clothes and shoves you close enough to kiss the stone. A second later you’re hauled upright and sent on your way.


  1. Wow, I’ve been to Ireland a few times as my boyfriend, and travel partner, is Irish but we’ve not had chance to go to Cork, or the Blarney stone, yet. Hopefully next time we’re in Europe we’ll get to see some more of Ireland
    Carly recently posted…The wild north of South AmericaMy Profile

  2. I’m with Jolanta on this Michelle. I’d rather remain an introvert than pucker up to a germy slab of rock. But I am a sucker for castles.
    Dean recently posted…Cozumel – beyond the cruise crowdsMy Profile

    1. No one would ever call me a talkative extrovert. I wasn’t going to do it, the I got there and said “why not?”

  3. Thank you and great blog!! This very helpful as I am off to Ireland Next Month
    arvin recently posted…Dharamshala – McLeod GanjMy Profile

  4. Hmmmm… I might pass on kissing the stone, simply because I’d be too scared to dangle upside down like that. I’d be very interested in seeing the castle, though. That’s more my speed 🙂
    Francesca (@WorkMomTravels) recently posted…Favorites from ArtPrize 2015 in Grand Rapids, MichiganMy Profile

    1. The castle is also awesome. I’m not sure why everyone dangles upside down though. It seems like you should be able to lean over and kiss it while standing on your own two feet. But did I see anyone do that? No. No I did not.

  5. Kiss the stone, eh? I’m not sure, even if it gives me the gift. Looks like a fun trip, though, and I love the photos. There’s something about really old buildings made of stones!
    Jolanta aka Casual Traveler recently posted…What to do during the April Break? Go To the Cambridge Science Festival!My Profile

    1. I didn’t get the gift of gab, but it was a fun time, and the entire grounds are beautiful.

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