What we did today: We left Kinsale after a fabulous breakfast and made our way to Kenmare. We also took a quick hour to do laundry today. The weather was cool and overcast with breaks of sun. We are expecting a sunny day tomorrow.
First stop was Blarney Castle near Cork. We spent a couple hours here exploring the nooks and crannies of the castle and taking in the gorgeous grounds. Blarney Castle was built in the 1480's in the tower house style (fortress residence) once common in Ireland. The taller the house, the less likely the opportunity for invasion.
The origins of the famous Blarney Stone legend may derive from the decendent of Cormac Laidir, original occupent of the Castle, during the Nine Year's War. Native Gaelic Aristocracy came in open defiance of the English Crown. Sir Cormac tried to appease both sides and his ability to play each side against each other allowed the word "Blarney" to be passed on to modern speech, referring to smooth, flattering and cajoling talk. Do you know anyone with the gift? Well, you can kiss the stone to get it.
There are two, tight, very steep circular stairwells inside the castle. The kitchen was on the 2nd floor and the grand eating/entertaining hall was on the terd (3rd) floor. Once you climb these stairs it's difficult to imagine carrying trays of food up and down everyday. On the way down a man emerged from one cranny in front of me and I asked, "what's back there" and he replied, "a murder hole" then proceeded down the stairs. Everyone in the stairwell had a good laugh.
The dungeon . . . it goes on and on and the ceilings get lower and lower
The skinny stairwell we used to ascend to the top
View from the top
After this we drove to Kenmare, did laundry, walked the town and went to The Coachman's Pub for a great meal then stayed to listen to traditional Irish music over dessert and Smitick's Ale (Smithwicks) or tree (3). Love this stuff, hope we can get it in America someday soon. Michael O'Brien and the Celtics played for an hour and totally had the crowd into it. We're going to hit the pub scene again tomorrow for more music.
What we learned today: "Baloney is flattery laid on with a trowel. Blarney is flattery laid on with the lips; that is why you have to kiss the stone to get it."
One last view from the top...
Word of the Day: Today it was phrases and tings (things)
- Surface Redressing = construction term for repaving a road
- Polish Coal = It is literally coal from Poland. We couldn't figure out why we kept seeing signs for it on sale. Turns out the Irish buy coal to use in their fireplaces and stoves to heat a home. The signs say "buy 4 and get one free."
- At Loggerheads = In dispute with. We heard this in reference to the Hurling championships which are currently going on. It was about two opposing teams. "We're always at loggerheads with dem (them)."
Tomorrow we take the road less traveled so check back for more.
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