The original plan was to visit Waterford Crystal while we were in Waterford and buy a really nice wine decanter, we thought we would be able to get them to ship it back home for us instead of risking it in our luggage. Alas, like a lot of well laid plans.......
We slept late and just made it down in time for breakfast before rushing out to the crystal showroom. It was raining (again) and after driving round and round looking for somewhere to park, we gave up and decided to just head off in the general direction of Killarney in County Kerry, which was our home for the next two nights.
We took the coastal road and made out first stop a really lovely town called Cobh (pronounced Cove) It was at Cove that ill fated passengers boarded the Titanic from the White Star Line offices (which are still here)and from here that she made her final port of call before heading off across the Atlantic to a rendezvous with an iceberg. (just think Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, in this very spot...sigh)
It was also just off the coast here that a German U-boat sank the Lusitania in 1915 killing 1,198 of the 1,959 people on board. The locals at Cobh helped to rescue the survivors and bring in and bury the bodies of the dead. There is a memorial in the centre of the town commemorating those involved.
The town is filled with colourful houses and shops while the harbour is filled with fishing boats.
Back in the car and on to Cork. We didn't stay in Cork, just had a quick look round and continued onto Blarney.
The castle here is now a ruin, but that doesn't stop the visitors.
The reason for that is what's at the top of the castle - the famous Blarney Stone.
Legend says if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be gifted with the power of eloquent speech and flattery (in other words, full of bull shit) The term "Blarney" as it's used today is said to have originated with Queen Elizabeth I when after continued requests for an oath of loyalty to her from Cormac McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney she receives yet another "diplomatic" reply. Her response is said to have been that he was giving her "a lot of blarney" Thus the saying.
In order to kiss the stone you have to climb to the top of the castle. This is no easy task! The stairs are many and steep. They are also very, very and let me stress very narrow. It's a good job I went on a diet before this holiday or I might still be wedged somewhere between the ladies room and the parapet. Once at the top the view was amazing. After 3 hours of catching my breath I headed straight for the stone. Now you can't just kiss the stone and be done with it, no you have to lay down, hang over the edge, bend over backward and kiss it whilst you are upside down. In the past people have been seriously injured and some even fell to their death, however in this day of heath and safety regulations there is now steel bars to hold onto and a steel cage to catch you if you fall (pfft wus!) Anyway, knowing how much I needed this gift of eloquence I quickly jumped to the floor (well as quickly as one my age and size can) grabbed the bars, bent back as far as I could and snogged away. Like many a kiss it was over too soon and left one a little disappointed. However it was done - world watch out, here I come!!
Next it was Susan's turn. I saw the look of fear on her face - for those who don't know Susan has a very chronic fear of heights.
After some cajoling and encouragement from others she screamed "I can't, I can't, you don't understand, I just can't" It was actually the first time I had seen Susan really look and sound terrified. Much to her credit though she eventually got down and with some help from one of the guides she kissed the blarney stone. She received a very rigorous round of applause from all those there. I think t was probably the quickest kiss in history, but still she did it!!
After all the excitement we headed straight to Killarney from there, grabbed some dinner in a really nice restaurant and booked into our hotel. Well I say hotel but it was really a country house B 'n' B. It was really gorgeous. The house and the owner were lovely.
It was another tiring day and we tumbled into bed, exhausted but we spoke very eloquently in our sleep.