Ireland Part II: Glendalough, Kinsale, and Blarney
Well, when I last left you, we had just finished our epic tour of Dublin, Ireland, made complete with whiskey drinking, Guinness pouring, and lots and lots of potatoes. But I did admit that Dublin as a city wasn’t really my favorite. Luckily, all of that changed literally the minute we piled into our rent-a-car and headed south.
Welcome to IRELAND.
As mentioned, the catalyst for our trip to Ireland was the fact that Sean’s fraternity brother (ZBTs for life, yo!) was getting married in Cork, so we had to make our merry way down the island to get there. Which, as it turns out, is really THE way to see Ireland. It was such a beautiful drive! Well, partly due to the fact that I wasn’t the one driving (wrong side of the car AND wrong side of the road? No thanks.) but seriously. I mean, you can see for yourself:
Our plan was to make our way leisurely down to Cork, which is located on the southern tip of Ireland, so we stopped in beautiful Glendalough en route.
I’m still not 100% sure of the historical significance of Glendalough, but I do know that it was pretty stinkin’ beautiful.
And made for some picturesque photo ops, hehe.
Plus, on our way back down from the lake, it felt like I found Rapunzel’s tower!
We drove through a few adorable towns on our way down to Cork, and eventually made it there late that evening. Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photos in Cork, but I definitely remedied that over the next couple of days, haha. The next day, we were off to visit Kinsale, a tiny coastal town about half an hour from Cork.
The entire town was so exceptionally CUTE. And with tons of adorable shops, a handful of old stone churches, a marina, an old prison tower, and a couple of ruined forts, it was a full day!
The next day, we packed up the cars once again and headed out to Blarney, which is only about 15-20 minutes from Cork and happened to super close to where the wedding was taking place! You may have heard of it, if only due to the much-famed legend of kissing the Blarney Stone, hehe.
Which is, of course, exactly what we set out to do!
In order to get up to the Blarney Stone, which is located on the very top of the castle, you have to climb up these ridonkulously narrow and steep stairs — up, up, up! One thing is pretty clear: people back then were not the same size as people today, hahaha. Once we got to the top, though, all the squeezing was definitely worth it. Check out the view!
The actual Blarney stone is a specific “brick”, for lack of a better word, that’s located on the interior of the castle wall, down a bit. In order to kiss it, you have to lay on your back and hang onto these handlebars, then leeeeeeeean back and give it a smooch. There’s an friendly Irish man there to help you, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my own picture of me kissing the stone, but I DID get a photo OF the photo of me kissing the stone, hahaha. Fair warning, it is incredibly unflattering, hahaha.
So there you have it! Supposedly I am now blessed with the gift of eloquence, and I can say I’ve kissed the same piece of rock that hundreds of thousands of people have kissed before.
The grounds around Blarney Castle are well worth a walkthrough themselves, even after you’ve finished swapping spit with the stone. It’s just such a beautiful place!
So for those of you who might consider skipping Blarney since it’s so touristy, I still recommend going. There weren’t a ton of people there when we went, and there’s just so much to see! Caves, absolutely GORGEOUS flowers, and even a poison garden!
And, yep, that last photo is of EXACTLY what you think it is, hahahahaha. It was in his huge metal cage so people couldn’t reach through and snag some for themselves.
And thus wraps up our trip through scenic Ireland. Next stop, a true blue Irish Wedding! Which included a tradition that I just might have to adopt for my own future nuptials. But I’ll get to that. For now, you’re off the hook, hehe.