Dingle is even prettier in the morning light, although the weather was a bit ordinary. We packed the ever increasing tetris of luggage into the poor little car and went for a short drive down the street. We made our way in and out of little gift shops and linen stores, picking up a few more souvenirs along the way since there was at least a few tiny cracks we hadn’t filled in the car and then decided that since it was almost 11.30am by then, we should try for some breakfast. We wandered into a little pub called Murphy’s Pub and ordered Eggs Benedict all around.
Once we’d finished feeding our faces and were sipping on our cups of tea, the waitress started talking to us. This is a common occurrence here in Ireland.. Everyone is so darn friendly. She asked what we were doing for the rest of the day and we told her we were heading to Blarney to kiss the stone.. She said “oh listening to you lot, I don’t think you’d be needing to kiss it.” Cheeky girl lol. Of course for those who don’t know it, the legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you will be granted the gift of eloquence or the gift of the gab. Mind you, my grandmother also once told me that I should kiss the Blarney Stone though I don’t really need to. Hmpphhhh!!! How rude lol.
So after packing yet MORE stuff into the “packed to the gills” car, we headed off.. Blarney here we come. We stopped for a few more photo opportunities along the way. Inch Beach was just one of the many stops we made.
It seemed to be a lot longer drive than we expected. We’ve found this often along the way. We look at the map and think it’s going to be like Australia where, though everything is a long way away, once you’re on the highway, it’s a breeze. The thing is here, the highways are fantastic, but they miss every little town, so if you want to see some of the smaller places, you have to take the smaller roads and they are mostly very small roads, so you can’t do higher speeds. In saying that, people flew past us as if we were standing still.
We really wanted to drive through Killarney even though we knew we wouldn’t have time to stop. I grew up listening to the magnificent voice of Ruby Murray… and of course one of my favorite songs of hers was Christmas in Killarney, so I had to at least drive through it. Next time, I will take more time here and so many other places.
Finally, we saw the signs to Blarney Castle. Oh what a thrill!! After hearing about this place since I was a wee slip of a girl, I was finally going to kiss the Blarney Stone. I couldn’t wait. We got in through the gates well after 4pm so we weren’t sure how long we would have and went straight up to the castle, leaving the grounds till we were finished with the kissing. We climbed and climbed and climbed, stopping along the way, in reality to catch our breath but making it look like a great photo opportunity. The higher you climb the more beautiful the scenery.
To be honest, I didn’t find the climb anywhere near as bad as I expected it to be. I thought I would find it really hard going and I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it is steep. The steps are worn and shiny so can be slippery, especially when they are wet as they were yesterday but a good solid hand rail made for easy going. They have signs along the way to show you what parts of the castle you are standing in which made for interesting reading. I really wanted to get to the top and when I finally got there, I was so excited. We waited in line for a little bit but there were only a few in front of us. Wendy went first, then Debbie. Then it was my turn.
You are rushed through, which is a bit of a pity. Even on days like yesterday when it isn’t particularly busy, they still rush you through. It’s probably one of the first places that I haven’t felt the friendliness that most Irish we have seen so far exude. This place felt a little like they were just going through the motions and there was very little interaction. That was a real pity but it wasn’t enough to ruin my joy at being there.
I sat down with my back to the stone, put my hands over behind my head, grabbed hold of the rails, laid right back and slid down till my face was looking, albeit upside down, at the actual Blarney stone. I couldn’t stop smiling as I puckered up and gave that shiny stone a big kiss. It took about a second before I was being hauled back up again, they snap a quick photo as you do it and that’s it.. It’s over. I think if the men working there had been friendlier it would have seemed more of an experience but they really did give off a jaded “ho hum” attitude. Doesn’t matter though. My excitement and joy at finally having kissed that baby made up for that of 10 men lol.
On a huge high, we wandered back down the stairs, stopping again all the way down to see what we could see. As we reached the bottom, we walked down to the poison garden. It is a beautifully set up place. The gardens are stunning and the whole grounds make you want to wander for days on end. I had seen James Nesbitt’s Ireland and knew that Blarney House was also on the property, so took a quick stroll over to it and took a few shots. Wow.. what a place.
As we were standing admiring it, a group of young kids walked in, and went right up the steps to have photos taken, laughing and being quite raucous the whole time. They destroyed the tranquillity that was all around us. They were bashing on the door and I felt sorry for the tenants who have to put up with such rudeness. I wish people could realise that going in to a tourist attraction doesn’t allow you the right to enter private property, nor destroy the place. I wonder if they’d appreciate someone doing that at their home?
After another wander around for a bit longer, we headed out and had a look at the photos that were taken as we kissed the Blarney Stone. They weren’t fantastic but I still bought mine as I wanted to relive that moment when I get home. We took a brief stop at the gift shop, topped up a bit more… (now there’s really not many spaces to fit even a book mark) and headed out again to the car. Trying to find spaces to slot stuff, we finally squeezed ourselves in and headed off again.
We now have next to no time left on our trip. As we put our trip to Stonehenge off until our return to London, we have only tomorrow to get to Dublin, then to London, so we decided to stop at Waterford and have a meal and find a place to stay. We were all really disappointed that we didn’t have enough time to see all the places we were keen to see and have a good wander around. I don’t believe you can do Ireland in under 3-4 weeks and even then you’d only be skimming over the place. I need to return again to really take it all in and I’ll definitely be back here. I’m in love with the place, as I always knew I would be.
We drove briefly through Cork (another place I want to revisit next time) and then on up to Waterford. When we got there, we tried to find a place to stay but the guest house we stopped at didn’t answer the door, so we headed down the road a bit and wandered into the Grattan Hotel. The barman (and I suspect the manager) Melisa (not Melissa.. it’s a boy’s name) welcomed us when we arrived and then brought menus over to our table, sat down with us and had a chat.. I love this place.. Have I told you that yet? It’s so friendly.
He made us feel like very important customers, as I’m sure he does to all his patrons and we had a drink and ordered our meal. There seems to be a thing with onions and mushrooms here, they put them on lots of stuff and since I hate them both, I asked for my steak without them. He looked at me like I’d suddenly grown two heads, had a bit of a joke about whether or not I wanted steak with my steak and then put our orders in. Dinner was delicious. The whole feel of the place was fantastic and we felt nice and refreshed again so instead of finding a guest house, I suggested we keep driving until we were closer to Dublin.
We drove along the freeway now as it was too late to see much of anything anyway. We were all disappointed that this was to be our last night in Ireland and there was still so much we hadn’t seen. So many places we hadn’t visited and people we hadn’t had a chance to catch up with. I will be back again though, so next time the stay will be longer and I’ll spend more time in every place. Just on the outskirts of Dublin, we found a hotel with rooms available so we stopped. It was a huge hotel called Green isle Hotel.
We registered, unpacked the car and headed to our bedroom. Unfortunately we couldn’t get internet access in the room so we wandered down to the foyer for a drink and some internet time so I could book a room for the next two nights in London. The bar had just closed but the young man on reception offered to make us a coffee while we sat down there. I booked the room, checked some facebook and email and then we headed back up to our room again ready for some sleep. This is the latest we’ve been up the whole time we’ve been here and my head finally hit the pillow at about 1.30am…