We boarded the plane on June 8th and flew 5 and a half hours to New York, from there we boarded a bigger plane to Ireland. That was Libby’s first flight and she did very well. We flew through the night and 7 hours later we landed in Dublin. Our tour guide Mic picked us up and we were off to see the country.
The first thing I saw was there are a lot of trees in Ireland.Our guide Mic told us that trees grew really fast there. Trees take about ten to twelve years to mature there I guess because of so much rain. It would take twenty years for our trees to mature like that here. Fifty shades of green they say. I would believe that after having been there.
Ireland is broken up into many county’s. They have a few highways but mostly we drove on little country roads that were about as big as one lane road in America. Our first stop after driving two hours was, The Rock of Cashel in Tipperary.
From the first castle I saw I was amazed at how tall they built their buildings of solid stone. There is very intricate carving on much of the stones as well. Part of the Rock of Cachel still has its roof, the second story floor is made of stone and the fire places are hugh. We went through that and out into the ruined part of the castle. there was an alcove with a stone box in it. On each side was a carving, six men on one side and six on the other. I think it was depicting the twelve apostles of Christ. We walked out onto the grassy hill behind the ruins where I saw my first Celtic cross head stones. They are beautiful and touching to see.
From there we walked down a path to the road, which took us to another ruins right in the middle of someones cow pasture. Its like that every were in Ireland, ruins out in someones hay field or pasture.
That evening we stayed at a little place called the Commons Inn in county Cork. The food was great.
Our second day we took off for the Blarney Castle in County Cork. Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster built the castle in 1446 on the foundations of two other castles that were torn down before that. As the story goes they had a magical stone from Scotland given to them when they helped Robert the Bruce defeat the English. They built it into the castle three story’s up. If you kissed the stone you would have the gift of eloquence and be able to persuade people to your way of thinking. The stairs to reach it are very narrow and steep. When you get to the top you walk around the rock wall to the stone there’s an opening beneath the rock. In the old days they would hold people by the ankles and hang them upside down to kiss the stone but when some one was dropped (remember its three very tall story’s up) they put some bars under the stone and now you lay on your back and bend your head back to kiss it while someone hold your legs. That’s still really scary. They say a million people can come through there a year. The stairs you go down on are wider then the ones you go up on but not by much. you can see miles and miles across the country from those towers. They had to be able to see far to protect themselves from invaders. I was amazed to think about how old the stones in the castle were. The family still lives there on the property in a beautiful stone mansion about a half mile away from the castle. The other story I really liked our guide told us was about when the English ruled the country all the land owners had to go to England and give their land to the queen and swear fealty to her. The Lord of Blarney sent a letter telling the queen he would come but on the appointed day the queen received an eloquent letter telling her why he couldn’t come. This went on for a while and every time he was to see the queen he sent letters explaining why he couldn’t come to England. One day the queen received another letter and she exclaimed, “more blarney!” That’s when, your full of blarney came to be. 🙂
There are the most beautiful gardens on the surrounding grounds. We walked through some of them. I wish we would have had more time there. One of the gardens was called the poison garden. They have many poisons plants there. In the garden the signs said Do Not Touch. In the old days if you didn’t like someone or you wanted to move up the succession ladder you would use the plants and poison their food. All the Kings and Lords had food testers for that reason. Every where you go around these Historical sites there are always musicians playing their instruments of the songs of Ireland. I really loved that.
This is a beautiful place we stayed at while we were in Ireland.
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We checked in to beautiful Killarney Oaks Hotel, County Kerry on the lake. from our window we could see a little family of swans on the lake. I’ll tell you a legend of swans they have in Ireland later in our travels. There was a guard tower in ruins down by the lake. It was my second most favorite place we stayed.
That night we went to a concert by the group Celtic Stepps. The had been in America touring in March and I was really excited that I got to see them in Ireland. Their music, dancing, and singing was amazing. The dancers were competitive Celtic dancers. I was amazed at how high they kicked their legs and the intricate patterns they danced. WOW!