Monday, October 27, 2008

Blarney Stone

One of Ireland's most visited tourist attractions is nothing more that an inconveniently placed rock with a legend conveniently attached. Of course, I am talking about the Blarney Stone. Since we are staying not far from Blarney Castle, we visited during the first weekend we were in Ireland.
Here is Blarney Castle. The Blarney Stone is at the top of Blarney Castle. If you pay about 5-10 dollars, you can get a ticket to visit the castle, kiss the stone, and wander around the castle grounds.
Here we are winding our way up the steep spiral staircase. The castle is basically just a ruin of what used to be a castle. We waited in a line that started outside, snaked around the ground floor of the ruins, and up a spiral staircase to the top of the tower. Apparently, the present castle wasn't the original castle on the site...and they seem to be unsure if the Blarney Stone is actually the original stone.
Here's a view from up on top of the tower. All of the places you could fall off were blocked by metal gates, but it still seemed pretty precarious to me.
Here is a line of people waiting to kiss the stone. The legend goes that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you'll get the "gift of gab." They define "gab" as something to flattery or sweet-talking. There is a story behind why kissing this rock is supposed to give you the gift of gab, something about Mr. Blarney and the Queen of England. But I was concentrating on not falling off the tower, so I didn't really pay attention to the story. You can Wikipedia it if you want to know.
Here is a view of the Blarney Stone from the ground. If you compare this picture to the one at the top of this post, you'll see that the stone is at the top of the tower, just above the double window.
Here is a picture of a picture of me kissing the stone. You basically have lay down, flip your head backwards, hold onto two rods, let some guy grab you, scoot out over the edge, and kiss the stone while some other dude takes your picture. The grass you can see is where I was standing when I took picture right above this one.

After kissing the stone, we walked around the castle garden/grounds. There are some really cool natural formations and plaques describing local legends about witches, elves and whatnot. Here, the guys are preventing a huge rock from blocking the path.
Here is another local legend: the wishing steps. The legend goes that if you close your eyes and walk backwards up the steps, then turn around at the top, and walk backwards down the steps (still with your eyes closed) all the while thinking and concentrating about just one wish, then the wish will come true. Here, Andrew is desperately wishing that Halo IV is as totally awesome as Halo III. I actually forgot to make a wish until I was halfway back down the steps.


Anonymous said...

I put up 5€ that you didn't make lip-to-stone contact.
Or that if you did, you didn't mean to.
Or that if you did and meant to, you regretted it immediately.
Or that if you did and meant to and did not regret it immediately, you're having some kind of never-seen-before outbreak :)

Chapmaster said...

I did make lip-to-stone contact. I'll pick option #2. So after kissing the stone I heard a rumor that locals like to pee on it at night.