smilingrid: Blarney Castle

January 14, 2015

Blarney Castle


Where in the world Ireland are we in this picture?!
Here's a hint: this is where the "gift of the gab" originates from!

If you (randomly) guessed Blarney Castle, you'd be right! 
Other accepted answers include Cork, somewhere near Galway, and you know what, I'd even give you western Ireland if you really had no idea where I spent the last couple of months!

Fun fact! There's a hilarious story surrounding how Blarney Castle got it's name. It's sad that Queen Elizabeth demanded that the Earl of Leicester seize the castle from King McCarthy of Munster. Like a good subject, the Earl continuously tried to negotiate the matter. However, wanting to retain possession of his awesome real estate, McCarthy kept delaying him with banquets and other diversionary tactics. Whenever she received progress reports from her subject, the Quinn is said to have called them "Blarney," thus leading to a pretty bomb name!

Back to the hint- you might have heard a relative (I don't know why, but I'm picturing an older woman relative with a creaky voice here. This is especially weird because none of my relatives fit that description. Maybe yours do?) talk about the "gift of the gab." It's a term used to describe someone who has a way with words. It's said that eloquence is bestowed upon anyone who makes the climb up the tower to kiss the legendary Blarney stone.

The castle itself is smaller than I was expecting, but it feels HUGE when you get to the top to kiss that stone! Plus, it's pretty darn impressive for being almost 600 years old.

which, y'know, is pretty cool...

...until you end up in the dungeon!

But even then, it's all good if you've got the right cell mates :)

Jailbreaks definitely raise morale, especially when you get to explore a castle afterwards!

This was actually the kitchen, built intelligently with access to the open air in order to clear smoke from that HUGE fireplace! Yeah, over where Natalie is standing is where all the cooking happened- can you imagine how much you could cook/bake/create with a fire that large?!

Blarney's stairways are very narrow and can be treacherous with the natural wear of several hundred years' worth of tourists! I always think it's so cool that these spiraling staircases ere designed with the defending swordsman's range in mind- fighting in these quarters would be difficult for anyone, but much more likely to end in death for the attacker who wouldn't be able to use his dominant hand at all!

I'm not sure which is a "nook" and which is a "cranny," but these two definitely squeezed themselves into both!

Up we go!

Huge smiles and some firmly planted smooches

Before you go, take a second to enjoy the view from the top with us!

...not bad, nature.

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