It is time, dear readers, to take you on a visual journey through one of my best days in Ireland – Blarney Castle. I took a bus out to visit the ruins on my third day in Cork, and I would have to say, it was a turning point in my soul. Dramatic, I know. But I’m not sure how else to put it. I felt at home there, and could easily imagine living in a place like that (before it had become a ruin :P).
The day was magnificent – warm and bright, but with a nice breeze. The views from atop the castle were magnificent – truly breathtaking. I stopped and just breathed up there, taking everything in, and stilling myself – something I’ve never been good at achieving. I just was.
I relished galavanting around the grounds and exploring every nook and crevice – from the dank dungeon to the hidden ice house in the forest, the witch’s kitchen to the horse graveyard. I was a child again – but a bold, adventurous one. I saw the countryside, stepped where actual men had been held prisoner, stood on the grate that had seen soldiers pour boiling liquids on intruders’ heads, smelled the flowers, contained my roaming hand from touching the poisonous plants, kiss the Blarney Stone (and didn’t get sick!), went where I wasn’t supposed to, sat and reflected in the bedroom of the girls that used to live there, and felt my spirit finally at rest. It was really quite glorious. I could have spent days on those grounds.
I was a bit surprised, though not unhappy, that all the other visitors only seemed interested in the castle itself, not the expansive grounds. I did the castle first, as I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take, but then I traipsed off on a path to see what the great “wild” held. I was not disappointed. I witnessed such beauty and natural growth – nature at its finest. I’ve sorely missed being surrounded by verdant green-age ever since moving to NYC. I loved tramping through the underbrush, getting my hands wet and dirty with the goodness of the earth. I wish I could have seen even more than I did!
Alas, all good things must end, and so did my time at Blarney Castle. But just as I needed to be about my way, it started to sprinkle, and then heavily mist, so all-in-all, it was a good time to skee-dats. It was with a joyous heart and a wet head that I said my farewells.
So, a funny little post-script for my adventures in Blarney. I had actually met a man on the bus from Cork. He was originally from Blarney, and made sure I got off at the right place. We ended up chatting and grabbing a tea before I went to the castle, and met up a few hours later to take the bus back to Cork. We started talking to the girl behind us, who was finishing up a year long travel extravaganza! It was terrific talking to her, and when we arrived in Cork, since the weather was by then wet and dreary and none of us were in a rush, we stopped at this lovely little coffee shop where I got an absolutely scrumptious cup of hot cocoa. We chatted and sipped for over an hour before our various duties called us away. I was tempted to write, “Only in Ireland”, but actually, I think opportunities like that can happen anywhere, if you’re open to them…