The Gift of Blarney ~ County Cork, Ireland

View through trees and green of a round tower

Blarney Castle grounds and entry tower.

“Did you kiss the stone?” my daughter asked me by phone from London.

“No, but I kissed someone who did,” I replied, laughing. “They say that that is the next best thing.”

Now, I could tell you that I didn’t kiss the Blarney Stone because, as I end my second year of Weekly Wanders, I don’t want to add more gab to my postings, but that would be blarney.

Truth is, after exploring the gardens in the pouring rain and working my way around the castle and up the wet and narrow stairways, I couldn’t cope with the idea of removing my hat, glasses, raincoat, umbrella, two cameras and camera bag – all while standing exposed to the wind and rain at the top of the battlements – in order to be suspended upside-down by a gruff man in a raincoat so that I could kiss a rock. My husband, however, was more amenable, and I reckon that was enough for both of us!

I didn’t mind missing out, because – to my mind – the real joy of a visit to Blarney Castle is a walk through the extensive gardens, and taking in the charm of the castle itself. It rained on the day of our visit (as it has just about every day of our stay – Ireland has just finished the wettest June on record), but this only added to my sense that there might just be faeries around the next corner…

Small bridge over a muddy river - green lawns, trees and Blarney Castle in the background.

It may be summer, but the visitors in the grounds of Blarney Castle, across the River Martin are rugged up in raincoats or huddled under umbrellas.

Fir bough, wet with rain, over a pathway.

Fir boughs, laden with rain, hang low over a pathway.

Red and yellow forest plant.

Rain drops and spider webs cling to delicate plants.

Thin veil of water falling over a large rock into a ferny pool.

Water falls over the Wishing Steps.

Composite on Black: Blarney Wishing Steps and a woman walking up the stone steps with closed eyes.

According to the story, if you walk down the Wishing Steps then backwards up them with your eyes closed, thinking of nothing but your wish, it will be granted.

Buttercups and violets on a wet forest floor.

It is easy to imagine flower-fairies living here.

Black stone: looks like a witch profile.

This stone is said to be the likeness of the Blarney Witch, who wanders the woods looking for fire wood.

Mossy forest growth over rocks.

The Druid Stones are mossy and over-grown.

Rain and mist over a field of long green grass and trees.

All that rain is how the island stays “Emerald.”

Front view of Blarney Castle on wet green grass.

What is left of Blarney Castle (built in  1446) is rather plain on the exterior.

People inside the ruins of Blarney Castle on a rainy day.

Without the benefit of a roof, it is as wet inside Blarney Castle as outside.

Wet mossy walls and stairs inside Blarney Castle ruins.

Moss and ivy grows where the kitchen once operated.

People on the ramparts of Blarney Castle in rainy weather.

On the ramparts, people gather for their kisses.

View down onto the formal gardens Blarney Castle

The formal gardens from the ramparts.

wet rain-jackets as a man hangs upside down at the Blarney Stone.

Hanging from the wet Blarney ramparts to kiss the ancient stone – the ground is far below.

Low brick entries to the back of Blarney Castle.

Every castle needs a back entry.

Rear view of 15C Blarney Castle

The paths wind around the castle and back through more gardens.

Red maple leaves wet with rain.

In the  still-wet gardens outside the castle, trees from around the world are on show.

View: A couple under a rain umbrella read a sign on a 15C tower wall. Blarney Castle

Tower beside the Blarney River.

Close-up: Purple Foxglove

In the “Poison Garden” there are examples of medicinal plants, including foxglove (digitalis).

Wet ivy

Ivy grows everywhere.

Pink rose on an iron fence.

A simple rose climbs the old iron fence.

slainteI didn’t notice any improvement in eloquence from my husband – or indeed myself – but I was entranced by the castle site and left it with pink cheeks and a happy heart.

That is its true gift.

Sláinte! Good health!

Photos: 2012June18

  • Debbie - July 5, 2012 - 12:21 am

    Great photos, funny too!

  • Dietmut - July 6, 2012 - 10:33 am

    Ursula a nice report and super photos. Warm greetings DietmutReplyCancel

    • Ursula - July 7, 2012 - 8:44 pm

      Thanks, Dietmut.
      I hope you had better weather in June than we did here in Ireland!ReplyCancel

  • Signe Westerberg - July 10, 2012 - 1:59 am

    lovely and congrats on your two years… have thoroughly enjoyed the posts and look forward to many more.

    happy travels.ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - July 10, 2012 - 6:14 am

      Thanks, Signe! It’s been great to have your company. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Gisella - July 14, 2012 - 10:43 pm

    What a great read and awesome picsReplyCancel

    • Ursula - July 15, 2012 - 7:33 am

      Thanks, Gisella!
      So glad you liked it! Did you recognise the stone-kisser? 😉ReplyCancel

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