Monday, December 22, 2014

Cork and Blarney Castle Tour, Ireland

Yesterday we took an all day bus tour from Dublin to Blarney Castle and Cork.   

The Rock of Cashel

On the way we made a stop in County Tipperary to visit the Rock of Cashel.  The Rock of Cashel dates back to the 12th century.

There's a 12th chapel, a 13th Celtic cathedral, and 15th century castle on a limestone hill.

This is the seat of the archbishop of the diocese of Cashel.

Around the cathedral are many old gravestones with traditional Celtic crosses.  

Our next stop was at Blarney Castle; about 10 km (6.25 miles) from Cork.  Blarney Castle dates back to 1446.  The castle is famous for being home to the Stone of Eloquence.  Of course, it is better know as the Blarney Stone.  Legend has it that if one kisses the stone, he or she will be bestowed with the gift of gab.

The catch is that the Blarney Stone is at the top of the castle.  It was set in to a tower in 1446.  In order to kiss the stone, you have to get on your back, hold on to iron railings and bend backwards while someone holds on to you.  You're basically hanging upside down. 

Hang upside down to kiss a rock?
Somehow I have a feeling that no Irish person actually does this.  I think this is something that someone cooked up for tourists to hang upside down while they pay €5 to kiss a rock.  I was fine to skip this as I have enough gab already.

The castle gardens were quite nice and well worth an amble through them.

Our final stop was Cork in.  With a population over 119,000 it is Ireland's second largest city.  Cork was founded in the 6th century and gained city rights in 1185.  

Cork City Hall
While Cork is the 3rd largest city on the island after Dublin and Belfast, it isn't that big.  Brno is bigger.

We didn't have a great deal of time to explore but it seemed nice enough.  I think a proper future weekend visit is in order to really check it out.

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