06/12/2015 – Written by LuAnn & Melissa
Today we followed in the footsteps of world leaders and superstars who climbed the steep, stone spiral staircase to kiss the Blarney Stone! It’s said that once you do, you’ll be granted the gift of eloquence and never be at a loss for words again.
LuAnn had reservations about kissing the famous stone (because of the germs from hundreds of thousands that came before us) and the narrow staircase (because of claustrophobia). Although she had a few brief moments of anxiety while climbing the 100+ stairs, nothing kept her from pushing through and feeling the rush of excitement when we reached the top of Blarney Castle. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone….
Since we waited in the queue for over an hour to kiss the Blarney Stone, that only left us with an hour to explore the rest of the grounds. The surrounding countryside is lush with countless varieties of flowers, trees, bushes, etc. We walked a short distance to the Blarney House which offers 30 minute tours throughout the day. (Helpful Hint: No food/drink, photography, or stilettos allowed!) Unfortunately, we did not have time in our schedule to partake in one of the tours.
On our way to the Woolen Mill Shop, we walked through the Poison Garden and spotted a few interesting plants from Harry Potter: Wolfsbane and Mandrake.
The last stop before heading back to the ship was at the Woolen Mill Shop. This three story building houses blankets, scarves, clothing (men’s, women’s, and children’s), Waterford crystal, food items, and much much more! We only had time to see the 1st floor displays before it was time to return to the ship. Although we saw the highlights, we both agreed that three hours was not enough time. This tour could have been a full day and we would not have run out of things to see.
TIPS FOR BLARNEY CASTLE AND WOOLEN MILL SHOP:
-Bring comfortable walking shoes. The grounds are extensive and most paths are gravel, not paved. The stairs inside the castle are narrow and well-worn, making them a little tricky. There are good hand rails and you are moving at a slow pace, which allows you to focus on each step.
-Be prepared to wait to enter the castle/kiss the stone. Go directly to the castle line when you arrive or try to time your visit around tour bus arrivals. Either way, it’s worth the wait!
-The Woolen Mill will ship your purchases if you do not have room in your luggage or they are too big to carry. If you spend a certain amount, shipping is included.