As my Mitchell year comes to a close and my classes end, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a bit more often throughout the island and to continue going to plays. From Galway, and Limerick to Cork, Blarney and Kinsale, I have spent time aimlessly walking around the Irish coast and getting lost in the beauty of various parts of Ireland. My favorite amongst my recent trips has easily been my trip to Blarney Castle.
Growing up, I heard endless stories (likely like every Irish-American person) about the beauty of Blarney Castle and the great fortune or luck I would receive from kissing the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle, located next to a quaint town, is in the center of a magnificent set of gardens and wildlife reserves for guests to walk around. The castle itself, like the gardens that surround it, is a marvelous site that has been relatively well preserved, and I made it a point to actively explore every nook and cranny within it. After exploring the grounds and taking pictures of the castle from virtually every angle to send home to my family, I casually waited for 1.5 to enter the castle and climb to the top of the keep.
Although the wait was long, once at the top of the castle I was able to see the Blarney Stone and give it a big kiss. Looking back on it, it may not have been the best idea to kiss a stone that is hundreds of years old that has been kissed by millions of people. The attendants at the top of the castle did, however, give the stone a nice wipe with cleaning spray after every kiss. Nevertheless, let’s hope an aspect of the luck associated with the Blarney stone is not getting sick from it. After leaving the castle I meandered around the castle grounds for hours before leaving.
As I have traveled, I have been, to say the least, continually amazed by the traditional beauty of Irish cities, the friendliness of virtually everyone I meet, and the magnificently green rural landscape of the nation I get to see every time I bored a bus or train out of Dublin. I’m going to miss, possibly most of all, the natural beauty and tranquility that the Irish countryside offers those willing to explore it and the outgoing nature of this island’s cities.