Freetime in Ireland Posted on January 20th, 2014 by

This weekend we were finally set free to explore Ireland- provided we stayed in groups and told Baker and Priscilla where we’d be getting our beauty sleep. Aly, Lacie, Tram, Jessica, Eric, and I all decided to go to Cork. Friday night we split up, as Aly and I were meeting up with a good friend of mine, Amanda, who lives in the UK and came over for the weekend. On Saturday, Aly, Amanda, and I walked through Cork and saw a number of sights. First, we went to the English Market, which is a small food market in the heart of Cork. We also saw a national monument dedicated to those who fought in various rebellions. Cork is definitely a holy city; we managed to visit St. Peter and Paul’s Church, the Church of St. Francis, Holy Trinity Church, St. Ann’s Church (and the Bells of Shandon), and St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral. Additionally, we saw the steeples of at least three more churches. All of the churches are easily within walking distance from each other; every time you turn around, there’s another church! For lunch, we went to Crosshaven, a small fishing village just south of Cork, which happens to be the home of a pub that has my name all over it, literally.

(No relation... I think)

(No relation… I think)

Later in the afternoon, we walked around Cork a little more, and we managed to find the Cork Butter Museum, but by the time we arrived, it was closed. We were understandably heartbroken about missing out on that cultural experience, so we decided to call it a day. Sunday morning we got up bright and early and caught up with the rest of the gang. We all headed over to Blarney Castle and everyone kissed the Blarney Stone at least once. The thought of all the diseases I exposed myself to did cross my mind, but my vaccines are all up to date and I think my immune system can handle whatever the castle can throw at me. According to Eric, the Blarney stone was “cool.” Upon seeing how high up the stone is from the ground, Lauren said, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…” When Jessica kissed the stone, the man in charge of making sure we don’t plummet all the way to the ground told her, “You can say any sort of words you’d like.” She did not take up his offer to practice her French, but later she expressed her relief for just making it out alive. I think I can speak for all of us when I say the experience was quite nerve-wracking, but definitely worth it.

View from the top of the top of the Blarney Castle. The Blarney Stone is between the two bars, at the bottom of the wall.

View from the top of the top of the Blarney Castle. The Blarney Stone is between the two bars, at the bottom of the wall.

Blarney Stone

We also explored the castle grounds, which are filled with beautiful plants, streams, towers, and gardens. In addition to 7 years of the gift of gab (per kiss, several of us kissed it again for the sake of a better picture), we also have each been granted a wish after walking up and down the wishing steps with our eyes closed. The grounds are home to waterfalls, fairy gardens, a druid cave, and a poison garden, complete with a marijuana plant encased in a cage, which Tram claims was “the greatest discovery” of the day. The entire area seemed so magical and enchanted that it could have been pulled straight out of a fairy tale.

I’ll finish up this post with a short poem from Lacie, which I think serves as proof that the legends surrounding the Blarney Stone are true: “I’ll be eloquent for quite some time, since I kissed the Blarney Stone three times!”


One Comment

  1. Pat Britt says:

    Thanks, Morgan! This was a joy to read on a cold Minnesota morning. You described my same feelings when kissing the Blarney Stone 27 years ago on my honeymoon. I may have the Irish gift gab but I know for sure I got my wish, a long and happy marriage!