Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
In honor of the wearin' o' the green, I thought I'd recap my Ireland experience of kissing the Blarney Stone.
Friend Irish and I landed at the Shannon airport at o'dark thirty, got our rental car, learned to drive on the left side of the road after being honked at several times, and headed on our way south.
After about a 2 hour drive, we stopped for lunch in a town called Kinsale, the culinary capital of Ireland. Best shephard's pie I ever had. Yum.
Having filled our bellies, we drove 20 more minutes to get to Blarney Castle.
"There is a stone that whoever kisses, Oh! he never misses to grow eloquent 'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber, Or become a member of parliament." -- Francis Sylvester Mahony
Once you park your car and pay the (at that time) six euro entrance fee, you're faced with an imposing castle, oftimes covered in green moss and red ivy. Follow the signs "to the stone" and you'll notice that the Irish aren't particularly concerned with being sued. You must ascend a winding set of stone stairs, wide enough for only one person at a time, and with only a rope that drops through the center of the winding stairs to hold on to. (Gee, I really hoped that there was no one coming DOWN while I was going UP.)
When you reach the top, you have a wonderful bird's eye view of the expansive grounds. There are towers with green moss sparkling in the sun (or with the rain, as it does so often in Ireland.)
The biggest surprise to me was that the stone isn't just sitting out on a pedastal or something for you to lean over and kiss. Oh, no. The stone is built into the side of the castle. Out of normal reach. So there's a guy, his job is to hold your feet. (Tip him well, people, tip him well.) You then lie back, putting all your trust in an Irish man you've never met, holding on to two iron rails, and lean into space like you're doing a backbend. Then you'll get a little quip from the man you just paid to hold on to you. Mine was "just kiss it, you're not asking it for a date."
Then you pucker your lips and put it on a stone that thousands of people have put their lips on before you. You do this so you can get the gift of eloquence, yes, but more so you just want to be able to say you did it. I did it, and funny enough, had a cold for the rest of the week in Ireland. Germs suck.
Because we drove through a town called Limerick, I thought I'd leave you a limerick. Perhaps you'd like to participate in comments? Or visit my weekly work column and do it there?
There once was a girl and her friend
Who went to Ireland
We flew on Aer Lingus
Cuz they said they'd bring us
And had lots of fun to the end!
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