That Time I Kissed the Blarney Stone

Do you ever remember reading about the Blarney Stone in a history book? If not, here’s a quick overview.

The Blarney Stone is a block of carboniferous limestone that was built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in 1446. It’s located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, whoever kisses the Blarney Stone is endowed with the gift of gab, also known as great eloquence or flattery.

Today, Blarney Castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland. It attracts visitors (me!) from all over the world to kiss the stone, tour the castle and see its gardens.

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A view from the top of Blarney Castle

Onward to Cork

When I was first planning my St. Patrick’s Day trip in 2018, I knew that the flights in and out of Dublin over that weekend would be nightmarish. Trying to fly back to London would undoubtedly be expensive, and I wanted to minimize my travel expenses as much as possible. I’ve learned over the years that the best way to do that is often by changing where you’re flying from in the country.

Sure enough, the flights from Cork back to London were more than affordable. The train ticket between Dublin and Cork? Only $20! Plus, I would get to visit another part of Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone. It seemed like the perfect plan.

On Sunday, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, I hopped on a train from Dublin to Cork. I had booked a room in a cute little Airbnb with an Irish host named Jennifer and her dog, Blue. She was kind enough to pick me up from the train station, and she knew that I wanted to go out to Blarney Castle. She offered to give me a ride out there, and she gave me directions on how to get back there on the public bus.

Visiting Blarney Castle

I paid the ticket price to get into Blarney Castle where the Blarney Stone is located. At that time, it was probably in the ballpark of $10-$15, which sounds like a lot to kiss a stone. What I didn’t realize before entry is how much is included. To get to the stone, you have to climb up into the castle. To exit the park to get to the bus stop, you wind yourself through the gardens. Well worth the ticket price!

The experience of kissing the stone was interesting. I didn’t know that you had to lay down, hold onto two vertical rails, and bend backward to kiss it. In the past, I think people were held by their ankles down that shaft to reach the stone. While I much preferred this method, it was still an adjustment in thinking as you waited in line and watched everyone go before you.

Fortunately, the process lasted mere seconds. The stone itself felt smooth on my lips, and you could tell that there had been friction from other people throughout the years.

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Final Thoughts

The rest of my trip was smooth. I spent time walking about the downtown area, grabbed dinner in a pub, and retired that evening feeling satisfied. Unlike my trip to Dublin, I don’t know that I would go back to Cork without prompting. I enjoyed my time, and I’m grateful I had such a gracious host in Jennifer.

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