Sunday, October 6, 2013

Magic Rocks And Near Death Experiences

Friday night was quiet, we ate our meal out of our makeshift cutlery (including tinfoil pans that doubled as soup bowls) and then went to sleep.
Shabbos morning we lounged about and read until we decided that we were in the mood to eat lunch. We had a big chicken salad and stale peanut butter cookies for dessert. The day passed with more lounging and reading until shabbos ended and we said havdala.
Our adapters wouldn't work in any of the sockets so we ventured outside to the main building and got some adapters from the main desk. We passed the rest of the night making plans for the next day which, according to the weather, was supposed to be clear and sunny.

This morning we woke up to find that the weather forecast had been a bit off. It was gray and dreary, not to mention the fact that it was raining quite persistently. As we made our breakfast we took turns casting feverish glances out the window hoping that the weather would clear up and allow us to follow our original plans. No such luck, the rain was coming down harder. Even the old men who were determined not to miss their time slots looked as if they were ready to call it quits. 
We needed a new plan, fast. 
Upon further investigation we discovered two things, 1)The top recommended "rainy day activities" were shopping and pub crawl and 2)Most places were either closed or didn't open until 12 or later on Sundays.
We finally settled on Blarney Castle, it opened at 12:30 and was pretty close by to where we were staying.

The castle grounds go on for miles. We decided to check the castle out first. There's an old legend that says that if you kiss the blarney stone you'll gain the "gift of gab" (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone in question is built into the battlements at the top of the castle. In the past, those wishing to kiss the stone were dangled by their ankles over the parapet until they were level with the stone and able to kiss it. It's shocking how many people fell to their deaths before they decided that it might not be the best method to go about kissing the stone. Nowadays you lie with your back to the floor, grab onto two iron bars protruding from the parapet and lower yourself down until your head is level with the stone. Not to worry though, a nice Irish gentleman sits beside you and holds onto your hips so that you don't plummet to your death. 
To get to the magical stone you must first climb up 127 steps to get to the top of the castle. The Crazy Lady bravely led the way into the castle, took one look at the narrow winding steps and then promptly lead the way back out. She has a fear of heights which I like to pretend that I didn't inherit. We agreed that she would stay downstairs and wait while I climbed up to see what all the fuss was about. I made my way up the narrow staircase at a slow but steady pace (everything was wet and slippery from the rain), it was terrifying. There were two guys behind me that tried to hurry me along but I ignored them and continued climbing at a snails pace. Eventually I made it to the top and managed to pry my fingers off of the rope that ran up the staircase. 
I looked over the wall and was forced to admit that it was a pretty nice view. 
I made my way along the wall until I came to the famous stone. I watched two people go through the ritual of kissing the stone and decided that I was eloquent enough as is. 
As I tried to pass the "kissing spot" people started to get upset, "Aren't you going to kiss the stone? You've come all this way...". I politely explained that my heart hadn't been set on kissing the stone, I just wanted to enjoy the view (preferably with both my feet planted firmly on the ground). The guy sitting at the edge of the wall (whose job it was to prevent people from plummeting to their deaths) assured me that it was perfectly safe and promised that he wouldn't drop me. I was touched at everyone's concern for me but still had no intention of putting my face that close to the rock. The two guys that had tried to hurry me up the stairs were excited to "show me how it's done", one by one they lay down on the wall and lowered themselves down to kiss the stone. The one that had gone first said something along the lines of  "Ah yes, I can feel the eloquence rolling off my tongue already" to which the other replied "Dude, I just made out with a rock!". They looked at me expectantly but I stood by my original decision. 
They shrugged their shoulders and exclaimed "We've caught the gift of gab! We've caught the gift of gab!". I looked at the unsanitary rock and said "I'll bet that's not the only thing you caught". Everyone looked at the rock again and watched yet another person plant their lips on the sacred stone. Oddly enough, no one seemed to appreciate my humor (aside from the two guys working there).
I said good bye to my new friends (and enemies) and made my way down the staircase and to where The Crazy Lady was waiting for me. 
Next stop, the garden. The garden was a little unorthodox, to say the least.
It featured plants such as the "cannabis sativa".

Beyond the garden lay paths leading in all different directions. We choose one and wandered about the forest for a while.
It started to drizzle lightly and we decided that it might be time to head back.

Back in the car we ate our lunches that we had brought with us (mmm salad) and tried to plan our next move. We decided to head into Cork to see if there was anything interesting there. There was a shopping mall that looked promising, it had a Tesco in it and we needed to stock up on some more veggies (mainly potatoes).  
We picked up our groceries from Tesco and wandered about the mall until we got tired and decided to head to our "lodge" to relax. 

I got on my laptop and started to blog while The Crazy Lady found her kindle and sat down to enjoy yet another book. 
It's still cold and rainy outside but we're hoping for better weather tomorrow. :)

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