As we planned our trip, it was important each person got to do and see their top two things. Keith’s top one was castles. As you can imagine, the rest of us Americans were pretty happy about that. We did see a number of castles, and even stayed in a place with a view of one in Cork County – Blarney.
Before we arrived at Blarney, we took the train from Dublin to Cork. I love the train! From there we were to rent a car. Yikes! Driving on the other side of the road. Not me. Sean and Keith signed up as drivers, and Sean loved it. I admit, I usually sat behind the driver, not watching. I figured it was probably better for everyone that way. It is amazing how adaptable we are though. Each day it seemed more natural than the last.
On our train ride, Merri and I did some art journaling. Here is photo of her working in her travel journal. To see more of Merri’s travel journal, visit her blog at http://atravelingtwo.blogspot.com/
Arriving in Cork, we were on foot, looking for lunch and the car rental dealer. After walking a few blocks we came across a lovely cafe – such a blessing for travelers. Francesca’s Cafe Culture. It was like an oasis. Wonderful food, coffee, and service!
|Merri at Francesca’s Cafe Culture|
The car was rented, we found our way to our rental, and then drove around the little town of Blarney to the castle. I’ve heard it is a “tourist trap.” Well, I guess it kind of is BUT we were tourists, so we looked at the time and figured we had just enough time to go through the castle and grounds before it closed. Actually, it was the perfect time: not very many people, tour buses had gone, the light was perfect for photographing and the weather couldn’t be better. We were blessed. We took tons of photos. Here are a few:
|view of a tower from the upper part of the Blarney Castle|
|View from main floor of Blarney Castle, showing 3 floors (without the ceilings)|
One thing we noticed that is quite different in Ireland, than in the US, is the sections of the castle are all open. A sign is posted that you enter at your own risk etc. It was nice for us to be able to roam around a bit.
|At the top floor of the Blarney Castle|
The place where people kiss the Blarney stone is to the right of this photo. Merri and Sean kissed the stone. There is no way I’m kissing a rock with all those potential germs. I took their photos instead. Honestly, you can’t believe anything they say about Blarney. It has a reputation of the gift of gab that is as old as Ol’ Blarney himself. So we read the signs with a smile and know that a sense of humor is required. Here is a photo of an Art installation, by artist Sandra McCowen (www.ssandram.biz), at the foot of the castle:
The grounds and pathways are beautiful and well worth a visit:
More Art Journaling in my little watercolor journal:
Happy & Blessed at Blarney!