Wayyyy back in December, when I started planning my trip to Ireland, one of the first destinations that came to mind was the infamous Blarney Castle. While planning my trip I made sure to pick the brains of a few people that had traveled to Ireland before. As we discussed places to see, the unanimous vote was that Blarney would be OK to skip.
Well – I’m glad we didn’t skip. I will say that waiting in line to kiss the Blarney Stone, the rock wall meant to bring the gift of eloquence, was a bit intense. Of all the places we visited, this was the busiest and the line was a bit overwhelming. Alas, you cannot come to Blarney and not kiss the stone.
Or at least attempt to.
I’ll be honest. My money makers did not quite touch the wall. The process was very assembly line like, and I tried to reach the very bottom (it was much harder than it looked) and then the man helping me pulled me back up. I was flustered and over it, so…I accepted getting “close.”
Besides, the gardens of “Blarney Castle & Gardens” was waaayyy better.
It felt like there were endless acres of green. The views from the castle were spectacular. Whenever I was asked, “why Ireland” I didn’t have a good answer. My answer was something along the lines of, “the green!” Seeing the hills near Blarney answers this question.
Now if I’m asked “why Ireland” I’ll just show my photos.
I loved walking the lay of the land, from the poison garden, to the jungle, to the bog garden there were endless places to explore. We also happened to be there on the first day of summer tours for the Blarney House – a mansion built in 1874.
The mansion is still occupied to this day, and for three months of the year the tenants allow the public to view the interior.
This was the only day of the trip with “unfortunate weather” and it was raining pretty hard. The rain added to the ambiance of the area, and it actually made the entire experience more magical.
Only a Seattlite would say such a thing…
After a full day at Blarney, it was time to head towards Clonmel, our launch pad before heading back to Dublin. It just so happened to be Sam’s birthday, and we were lucky enough to find a delicious place to eat right next to our hotel.
You’ll never guess what I ordered….
Where to stay: Clonmel Park Hotel, just a little over an hours drive from Blarney. This hotel had a beautiful view, and an amazing breakfast. This hotel gave me my final Irish feast before coming back to reality. It also made me feel pretty fancy.
Where to eat: Red Herring had amazing service, and even better mushy peas. I think Sam would say they also had a great birthday dessert.
Travel Tip: If you’re renting a car to get around, be aware which nozzle is diesel and if your car requires it. Also, you pump BEFORE you pay. Honor system on point.