First up, our trip to Blarney Castle. You can't go to Ireland and not kiss the Blarney Stone so we got up early and headed out to County Cork. We stopped in Blarney to eat a nice pub lunch, at the Muskerry Arms, before heading over to the Castle. You couldn't see the Castle so we were very surprised to find that it's located just a couple blocks from downtown Blarney. I was wondering if it was some sort of bungalow castle until it finally appeared when we turned a corner and crossed a bridge. The grounds were so beautiful, you are in a lovely park with so many shades of green.
We lined up for the steps (I counted 110 but I could be wrong) that wind up to the top. The steps are very narrow, twisty and slippery but we all made it. I think being the guy that helps you kiss the stone must be one of the most boring jobs around (next to the guy that just presses a button to take your photo). "Lie on your back, reach your hands over your head, grab the bars, arch your back and move downward" must be repeated in his sleep, he says it so often. But they were good instructions and we all managed to kiss the legendary stone of eloquence.
Josephine, our guide, was excellent, telling us the history of the lighthouse and leading us through the levels. We didn't get to the very top because it's a working, automated lighthouse but we saw everything else and had great views off the balcony.
One other fact was about the saying "By hook or by crook". When Cromwell decided to invade Ireland he knew he would either go by Hook Head, Wexford (Hook) or Crooke, Waterford (Crook). He was sure that either way, he would defeat Ireland. That's where the saying comes from.
We spent the rest of our time there looking around the downtown, shopping and getting lost trying to find the carpark where we parked our car. David, the first to succumb to too much shopping, found it fine but Bereket and I got a little confused. The super-shoppers (Eskedar, Kelly, Trish and Marion) got quite confused but managed to find us in the end.
Friday we fly from Dublin to Vancouver, and Saturday fly back to Cranbrook. This huge trip is coming to a close and I am of mixed feelings about it. While I can't wait to see family, our dog Dexter, friends and students, I am so sad that the trip is over. I could keep going! Onward to Iceland! But, alas, all good things must come to an end. We will go home and try to find a place to rent - luckily we found a nice motel that allows dogs in the meantime. It seems that everyone is trying to rent a house back home so we've been out of luck so far. Hopefully we'll find something soon.
This is not the end of the blog, however. We have two more posts left that we'll write when we get home. David will be doing a post on all the stats - how many countries, cities and other things he has been counting all along. I will do the final post where we answer questions like we did on day #100 and day #200.
Do you have questions you'd like to ask? If you do, email us or leave your comment below! We'll include it for our last post.
Thanks so much for reading! Have a great day.