Thursday, June 23, 2016


We were a little better rested when we got up this morning. We are having relatively easy day today, because we are within walking distance to Blarney Castle, which is our activity today, and Steve's concert will be on the castle grounds at noon. Nothing else was really planned! Yay!

We started out with breakfast, and I FINALLY got to eat some black pudding! We've had catered breakfasts so far all this week and they haven't had any black pudding, but we got some this morning. In fact, we had both black and white pudding! I knew black pudding is made with pig blood, but I had no idea what white pudding was. The black pudding wasn't bad at all. It tasted a bit like liver, but with the consistency of sausage. I wasn't crazy about it, but it wasn't bad. The white pudding tasted a bit like thanksgiving stuffing, but I still don't know what it's made of. Oh well, I'll look it up later. (EDIT: White pudding is the same as black pudding without the pig's blood. So, there you go!)

We walked to Blarney Castle and gardens and it was gorgeous! I mean, of course the ruins of a castle are going to be impressive, but this was some straight out of a fairy tale type stuff! The gardens are house and cultivated a lot like a botanical garden, as well as having the places that had been set up by former residents of the castle.

Steve and I took pictures, but we rushed to the castle so that we could kiss the Blarney Stone. I figured that we could walk the grounds later. As it turned out, that was the best course of action, because we basically walked straight up to the stone staircase that led to the stone with no problem. The winding staircase was so small and claustrophobic, that I almost didn't make it. If it hadn't had the arrow slits (or whatever they were) cut into the stone, I wouldn't had been able to do it. As we got higher, the staircase got  narrower and the stairs got smaller. It was not fun, but I kept telling myself not to be a jerk face and get up there to kiss the thing. Who knows if I'd ever get another chance?  We made it up really quickly and I did it!

It is a weird thing in that you have to lie down and stick your head into a kind of notch in the parapet (?), lie leaning over backwards and kiss the tiny rock set way down into the wall. The attendant looked miserable, but how else could he feel when he has to hold on to a thousand people a day who he doesn't know and who probably make the same jokes and stuff all day? He gets a lot of tips. I'd imagine that's all that keeps him there!  

Actually,  I accidentally licked the stone after I kissed it because I got excited, and since it was so much effort to climb the stairway, I guess I thought it owed me a French kiss! Haha!  No, really, I think I must have been licking my lips after kissing it, as sort of a reflex because the stone is cold and I was still close enough to reach it with my tongue. I didn't actually mean to do it. All I I could think of after that was that I probably got hepatitis or herpes or something. Cold sores, here I come. Steve tried to get a picture of me, but it happens so fast that the picture is really of me getting back up and it's all awkward under chin and boobs. Luckily, they take a picture of you while you're doing it, kind of like the ones you get when you ride on a roller coaster, so I bought the one of me that they took, which is much better. It's still weird looking, but it's much better. 

Steve was going to do it too. But he happened to look down when he got to the hole and he got vertigo. I kind of can't blame him, but I'm sorry I didn't get to see him do it! When I made my way down the path, I saw that literally hundreds of people were standing in line at this point. I was so lucky that I made it up when I did, because now I had time to look around the grounds instead of standing in line all day!

I got lost trying to make my way down to the ground and ended up in some kind of corral.  It didn't have an exit.  I kind of panicked for a minute, because I didn't want to be stuck in some kind of weird pen, so I had to climb way back up until I could walk back down the entrance line.  There was another way down, but I never found it.  I walked down and found Steve, who'd made it to the bottom before I did, and handed him my picture while he sat and people watched. I explored the grounds a bit. I actually caught up with one of Steve's band mates and we explored together for a while, which was fun. I finally found Steve again right before he had to go back and change his clothes for the concert, but we didn't have much time to talk. I walked around, and kept thinking that I'd sit for a bit and rest, but I kept finding things I wanted to see! I finally went over to listen the the band play, and they did a great job, except that the wind was blowing so hard that their music was going everywhere. It was funny to watch them try and hold on to everything while the wind blew.  Well, funny for me.  I bet they were pissed!

They day had been gorgeous, with sun and even some warmth (I got sunburned. In Ireland! Go fig...) but right at the last song, it started to rain. They did finish the song and we got everything packed up and we went back to the hotel. As it turned out, the bus was going to be going to Cork city, and after I did some souvenir shopping at the hotel shop, (and I forgot to get one of the things I meant to get and won't have time to go back...damnit) Steve and I went with it. I didn't want to miss out on anything since I was still relatively awake this time.

If Dublin is the New York of Ireland, Cork is kind of like its Chicago. It's the second largest city in Ireland, but it's a bit dirty, a bit seedy, and maybe a bit more dangerous. Steve and I walked around with the same guy I'd explored the castle grounds with, and we had a good time! We didn't really do much more than walk, but we did a bit of shopping here and there and a lot of looking around. We saw more of the every day part of Cork than we did the tourist parts.  We also found out that we had to pay to use some toilets and that sucked, because you have to have the right coin to even open the door! I had to stand in line to get a euro
exchanged into different coins just so I could pee! Then I had to wait until I saw someone come out before I knew how the door worked. That is some bull crap, y'all. Nice bathrooms, though.

We were all exhausted and had been rained on pretty much for most of the time we'd been out, but we made it back to our bus and back to the hotel so that we could have dinner. I had cottage pie, which was good,
if not a bit too filling, and some chocolate eclair things that were just right!

Speaking of chocolate, Ireland has a lot of little chocolate shops! I haven't had a chance to get into one just yet, but I still have a couple of days! We'll just be driving and come across one!  I can appreciate surprise chocolate shops!

We came back to the room and Steve fell asleep right away. Now I have to make myself get up and organize my stuff. We're checking out if this awesome place tomorrow (Boo!) and we are heading on to Limerick.

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