In Which Kim Talks To (And Names) Trees and We All Kiss Rocks

Emily Bernstein
February 6, 2017

After a full week of classes (and lots of reading), we were all ready for the weekend to begin.

Kim, Kaitlin, Ian, and I all bought tickets to take a bus down (up?) to Blarney Castle and Cork. As a writer, I felt obligated to go kiss the Blarney Stone so that I could have the gift of gab – or rather, eloquence.

The castle is surrounded by miles of walking trails and gardens and beautiful greenery. The castle itself is under construction but it is still really pretty! The castle is smaller than I would have imagined it would be, but, come on, it’s a castle, so if I was living there, I wouldn’t be complaining. We wandered through the castle for a while and Ian guessed which stone was the Blarney Stone (considering they were all technically stones of Blarney, or so we joked). Then, we climbed more steep steps (see last week’s post about King John’s Castle) and got in line to kiss the stone.

 

Ian guessing which stone was the Blarney Stone.

The views from the castle were so beautiful. The countryside was somewhat misted over from the morning’s rain and, wow, was it amazing! While we waited in line, there were funny little signs explaining about the Blarney Stone and why it is so important (which I’m still not 100% sure how the myth around it started).

Just an example of the funny signs we saw.
The view from the top of Blarney Castle.

To actually kiss the Blarney Stone, you have to lie down, kind of scooch down, while someone holds your legs. The Blarney Stone is very far down (for someone of my height – Ian had no troubles at all). I’m not even sure I kissed the stone itself – I might’ve grazed one resting on top of it. They’ve added steel bars in case of someone falling, which Kim and I were very worried about, so it’s fundamentally safe. But that doesn’t really help when you’re lying down on your back and trying to reach a stone that’s about a foot lower than where you’re lying. It’s hard to describe, but let’s just say that Mom would not have liked it.

Kaitlin kissing the Blarney Stone.
That little whole in the top is where we were to kiss the Blarney Stone. This is the view from the ground.

After we kissed the stone, we wandered around the Poison Garden, where they grow things like wolfsbane, juniper, and merijuana (which is very safely fenced off from people trying to take its leaves). Then, we wandered around this beautiful green area that just felt magical (which according to our tour guide, people feel magic all around Blarney Castle). We went to a fern garden, where there was a really pretty waterfall. 

The gyst of the sign says that, while this plant was big in Harry Potter, it was also big in poison back in the day.

 

The much protected Merijuana plant.
So pretty and green! I couldn’t believe it.

Kim found this amazing tree that has branches that are huge and look like strong arms. Something you must know about Kim is that she loves plants. The way she loves plants is kind of the way I love poetry, so clearly she loves them a lot. She kept talking to the wonderful tree, and later decided to name it Atticus. Then we went to the Rock Close, and there we find the Wishing Steps. If you walk down these steps backwards with your eyes closed, and then walk back up with your eyes closed, all your wishes will come true. We all know how superstitious I am, so obviously I had to walk them.

Kim with Atticus.
The Wishing Steps!

After Blarney Castle, we went to Cork, a city bigger than Limerick, but still very quaint and beautiful. I didn’t take too many photos there. But, while there, I found an amazing bookstore called Vibes and Scribes. Alas, I bought no books there because of all the previously mentioned books (see this post for all the nerding about books). I would like to go back to Cork to spend more time there exploring all of the small shops and churches we saw.

Then, we went home and had a quiet night in. Sunday, we all did homework. Then, Kaitlin, Kim, Guy, Ian, Lilly, and I all headed to a pub in Limerick to watch the Super Bowl. It started very late here, around 11:30pm, and two of us (Guy and me) had a 9am class today so we left after Lady Gaga performed. I was so into the football, and very impressed by the Falcons, and we even explained the game to a few Irishman. You can’t really tell from the pictures, but the pub we were at was packed with Irish and Americans alike. Part of me wishes we had stayed for the whole game considering the fourth quarter was such an upset, but I didn’t get to bed until 2:30am as is, so it’s probably best that we left when we did.

Until next time!

Sláinte.

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