Our last day in Ireland we were debating on either driving two hours to do the ring of Kerry or driving 90 minutes to Blarney Castle. We went back and forth on what we should do. Due to the boys both having upset stomachs the past few days we decided to go with the castle. The ring of Kerry would mean we would be in and out of the car the entire day .I am so happy we decided to go with the castle. It was another beautiful day and touring the castle grounds really felt like a true Irish experience. The entire time we were just in awe of the beautiful landscaping and the kids had a blast.
Blarney castle is 600 years old and is so much more than just a castle. There are endless gardens and trails and things to explore here. We spent the entire day wandering around and could have spent longer had we not needed to be in bed early due to an early flight out the next day. One of Kellan’s favorite features was the cave that resembled the one in his book “Going on a Bear Hunt”. Of course we had to sing the song while in the cave….but to his dismay we didn’t find any bears!
The main attraction of the castle is the Blarney stone. There is debate on the origin of the stone but for the past 200 years its been used at the top of the tower for visitors to kiss and gain the gift of eloquence. We do know its made from limestone that is 330 million years old! To get to the top of the castle you have to walk up very narrow winding stairs that seem never-ending.
Once we reached the top it was instant chaos. A switch just went off on both my kids. Kellan was scared and Carter started screaming. I’m not sure if he was also scared or if he was upset that Daddy was the one holding him up the stairs and not me (true mama’s boy). But they both just started crying and clinging at my body. Add the fact that I was feeling uneasy of the height myself and it was just not a good situation. There was a line and the men assisting visitors kissing the stone were pleading for us to keep moving forward… but I had Kellan wrapped around my leg and Carter clawing at my chest. Every time I tried to hand Carter off to Ben so that I could take my turn Carter just lost it. Given the situation I decided it wasn’t worth it to upset Carter further and Ben went ahead and took his turn while I managed to snap pictures with one child around my leg and the other screaming at the top of his lungs.
In order to kiss the Blarney stone you have to lay on your back and allow the gentleman to scoot you in position so that you can reach it. There are bars in place so that you can’t fall but that’s still pretty scary if you are not a heights person…having your head to the ground. If you are tall about half your body or less will be off the edge. A short person would have to use a good portion of their body in order to kiss the stone.
Heading back down the stairs Carter howled the entire time. It echoed through the castle and I am sure every person there could hear him. As soon as we reached the ground level though he was fine! So I am not sure what exactly caused his temporary lapse in sanity but I stopped asking why toddlers do the crazy things they do a long time ago.
Next we walked towards the back of the gardens where we saw some mules and horses. Kellan loves horses so I think we spent a good hour just feeding them grass and watching them eat.
Afterwards we had some fun on the playground and then walked more trails and gardens.
I can’t believe we almost didn’t go see the Blarney Castle. With so much to do in the area it was hard to narrow down what we wanted to see in 3 days. However, this is a can’t miss excursion and I am so happy we decided to go.
There is just something about Ireland and the culture that I have always been drawn to. I wish there was a military base here because I want to live there so badly! The scenery is gorgeous, and the people are some of the nicest I have ever met. We met an older couple on the plane that invited us to stay with them in their home in Limerick. Ben and I are seriously considering taking them up on their offer. There is just so much to see and explore in the area. Overall, I think our first overnight trip in Europe was a major success. Next on our schedule: a week in Greece!