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kissblarney.jpg (19939 bytes)Day 5: Waterford to Tralee

The Gift of Gab

Leaving Waterford, we first headed through Cork, the third largest city in Ireland (would barely count as a suburb of L.A. or New York, mind you...).  Then we headed for Blarney, home of the famous Blarney stone.  Kissing the Blarney stone is supposed to give a person the gift of Gab.  Apparently the Irish used to do something else to the stone that made me wonder if they had cleaned it properly...

Getting up to the Blarney Stone was more difficult than I imagined.  The Blarney stone is at the top of a castle wall, underneath the battlements.  To get there, you have to walk up a set of very narrow spiral staircases that wind their way up the inside of the castle wall.  They were very slippery, having been worn over the centuries and also because it was raining that day.  Most of the group elected not to go up, but I did (as you can see!).  When you get up to the top, you have to get on your back, hold on to a pair of iron bars, and reach underneath to kiss the stone.  All they have to catch you is a lousy net: otherwise it is a 4-story drop straight down! 

It was a lot of fun, actually...

On the way over to the castle, I was stopped by a man who was reading little poetry sheets and claiming they were done "just for you".  He would then sign them and give them to you, but mentioned that a "small donation" would help him out... I gave him a punt.

There was also an outlet for Waterford crystal at Blarney castle: I picked up a few pieces and had them shipped to the U.S.  Waterford crystal is renowned for its clarity and strength.  I thought it looked kinda cool, too. :-)

Roses and Carnivals

When we left Blarney, we headed for Tralee, famous for the "Rose of Tralee" festival that takes place there every year.  It's a beauty pageant for We were a bit late for the festival, but the town definitely lives up to its name: there were rose gardens everywhere.  We also went into a little museum that talked about the Kingdom of Kerry (Tralee is part of Kerry county, which was a Kingdom in ancient times.  We were also to go around the famous Ring of Kerry the next day).  In the front of the museum was a wax figure of a man who bore a startling resemblance to a member of our group!  We were playing "spot the dummy" for a while there.

The museum also features a little ride into an animatronic medieval version of Kerry.   Although interesting historically, the ride had one problem: it stank!  I don't know what was in there, but it smelled like something had died...  Bleah.

In the evening there was a carnival going on across the street that I checked out: lots of rides, games, etc.  Fun!  I played a few games, but then headed to the movies to see what Irish films were like.  Unfortunately, the only non-American film that was playing was "Bean" (which eventually made its way to America anyway), so I went and saw that: not a bad film, actually.

One thing that was interesting was that sometimes the theater seats are assigned!   Fortunately that was not the case this night...


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1995-2002 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Tuesday, March 09, 2004