When you go on vacation, are you the type of traveler that does all the touristy things, or do you like to get into the local flavor of things?
I am a total tourist. I have never understood travelers who say that they don’t want to do the touristy things when they go on vacation. I mean, really, it was the touristy things that attracted you to the vacation spot in the first place, wasn’t it? The touristy things are there, because people who’ve gone on vacation have found that they enjoy them.
As far as hanging out in “local” spots, do you think that the locals don’t hang out in the “tourist” spots?
So, when I go on vacation, I like to do the touristy things. My husband and I went to Ireland last year, and one of the things at the top of my list was kissing the Blarney Stone. I didn’t really know what it involved, but I knew that I wanted to do it. I had not really ever heard of how it was done, I just know it was one of those “touristy” things that I wanted to do.
So we grabbed a car, and headed across Ireland. That in itself was an experience, but I’ll leave that for another article. Back to the Blarney Stone. The Blarney Stone, as I’m sure most of you know, is in Blarney Castle. If I really thought about it, I guess I would have thought that it was like the Blarney Stone on the side of Fitzgerald’s Casino in Reno. You know, just a big stone in the side of the building that you walked up to and kissed. But that is not how it’s done in Ireland.
The Blarney Stone in Ireland is at the top of Blarney Castle. Blarney Castle itself is awesome!
And it’s not a guided tour, so you can just wander around at will. If you feel like hanging out in one of the little rooms for an hour or two you are perfectly welcome to do that. I think that is what I loved about this Castle the most.
I have a new appreciation for the servants of the 1500s, who had to carry food and drink up and down those tiny little spiral staircases for their masters.
So, you wander around in Blarney Castle, and you finally make your way to the top. You have an awesome view from up there.
And the land around is so green and pretty, just like you expect Ireland to be. So after you’re through taking in the view, you realize that there is a line at one side of the parapet. There are a couple of people there, one is taking pictures, and the other is holding onto people as they’re laying down. Now by this point, I knew what was going on because I had heard talk about how you have to lay down to kiss the Blarney Stone. But I still wasn’t clear as to exactly how it all worked. So we got in line, and waited for our turn at the Blarney Stone. I had my own camera, and I wanted to take a picture of my husband as he was kissing the Blarney Stone. I didn’t get a good shot. But what I did see, as he laid down to kiss the Blarney Stone, is that there was an opening between the inner and outer walls of the castle, and that it was a long way down!
So basically, what you do to kiss the Blarney Stone, is you lay down on your back, grab hold of some bars behind your head, and pull yourself down into that opening between the two walls and kiss the Blarney Stone on the outer wall. The physical aspects of it really aren’t that tough, but if you’re afraid of heights and you’re looking upside down at a drop of 40 feet or so, it can be a big deal. I watched my husband do it, and I saw that big drop, and I decided no way! My husband tried to talk me into it, but I was pretty sure I did not want to hang upside down over 40 foot drop.
And so, we went back down to the bottom of the castle and exited. While we were at the top, we had seen a manor house in the distance across the park surrounding Blarney Castle that we wanted to go check out. As we were walking, we were talking about our experience in the castle, and how much we had enjoyed it. And I started thinking, seriously, you’re coming all the way to Ireland, and you’ve been in the Blarney Castle, and you’re not going to kiss the Blarney Stone? So I said this to my husband. And he says, you’re absolutely right. And you know what? You can’t really see the ground when you’re leaning over backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone. And so, I decided to give it another shot.
We went back into the castle, and back up to the top.
This time, we were the only ones at the top. And so I walked over, and said that I was now ready to kiss the Blarney Stone. I laid down on my back, reached behind me and grabbed the bars, and the gentleman helping had a hold of my shirt to help me ease back to kiss the Blarney Stone. And I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but when you are laying down and leaning over backwards, your eyes naturally get drawn to where you were headed. Yep, my husband had totally lied to me. About halfway to the Blarney Stone, my eyes were drawn like a magnet to the ground 40 feet below me. At this point, I’m already committed, and so I scoot on back to kiss that Blarney Stone.
So what is the purpose of kissing the Blarney Stone? Well, it’s supposed to give you the gift of eloquence and gab. Now my husband has pretty much always has this, but I think kissing the Blarney Stone that day gave him just a little bit extra. Because how else could he have convinced me that you could not see the ground when you’re leaning over backwards over a wall? The first thing I did when I stood up off the ground was double up my fist and and smack him a good one. The photographer and the helper thought this was just hilarious.
So, that is my tale of kissing the Blarney Stone. And, I was right, I would have been severely disappointed had I gone all the way to Ireland and been in the Blarney Castle and not kissed the Blarney Stone. I had a traumatic 2 seconds, but it was worth it. And, I have the picture to prove it. Fortunately for me, no one can see the expression on my face.
Doesn’t sound like your cup of tea? Read 6 steps to vacation planning to figure out how to plan your perfect vacation.