Kissed the Blarney Stone, Sunday, June 02
Leaving Waterford after breakfast on Sunday, June 02, we headed to Cork. Cork is only 120 kilometres from Waterford. We decided to avoid the freeway and take back roads to spend some time in small towns before going to Cork. It was good that we did it. For the first time, we came across fruit stalls on the road, selling strawberries.
We stopped at one place and Mala bought a big punnet of strawberries. These Strawberries are from Wexford. They are very fresh and sweet. We have eaten similar tasty strawberries in Canada.
On our way, we came across a Farmers Market in a small town called Dungarvan. It was a small farmers market with a fair number of stalls selling various items. We were not interested in buying vegetables or plants. We wanted to taste home made foods found in these food stalls.
We saw a lady in one of the food stalls selling home made cakes and brownies. Mala bought some brownies from that lady. Then there was another lady selling cinnamon buns. We bought two buns.
We also bought freshly brewed coffee from another stall and had our cinnamon buns, brownies and coffee sitting at a small table at the Farmers market. The person making coffee knew a lot about Australia. He was in Australia for several years, but had to come back. His friend got permanent residency in Australia and stayed back. He was telling Mala that his time in Australia was the best time in his life.
We were still too early to check into our hotel when we came to Cork. We decided to visit the Blarney castle before going to the hotel. Blarney castle is a very small castle, but it has become famous mainly for one reason. Any one who visits this castle has to kiss the Blarney Stone. The Blarney stone is supposed to have some magical powers. People who kiss the stone would gain the gift of eloquence. There are different stories to explain how the stone acquired these magical powers. For more than two hundred years, millions of people have been coming to this place to kiss the stone and acquire this special power.
We drove to the castle grounds and parked the car in the special parking area. The castle in on high grounds and after reaching the castle, you have to climb about 100 steps in a circular staircase to reach the top and the Blarney stone on the top deck. Climbing 100 steps cannot be an easy task. But there were so many people in a queue waiting to climb. The climb itself was very slow as each person had to take close to 30 seconds to stretch on the ground and kiss the stone. Both Mala and I joined the long queue and slowly moved up the winding staircase.
There is a person near the stone to help you stretch on the ground and kiss the stone the correct way. You have to lie down on the ground on your back with your face up. Then hold the two rails, drag yourself up to the wall, bend your head down and kiss the stone which is below your body level. A photograph is taken as proof of your kissing the stone and you can buy it at the bottom of the castle if you are happy with it.
After following all these rituals and buying a photo showing I have kissed the stone, we drove to our hotel. We were fairly tired and also hungry. I have to wait till I come back to Australia to test my new found eloquence. In Cork, we have booked the hotel called Lancaster Lodge. The hotel was near a water stream. After checking in and keeping our bags in the hotel room, we drove to the city centre and found a Chinese restaurant to have our dinner. Most of the streets in the city centre area were one way streets.
Tomorrow we are planning to move to Killarney and spend two nights there.