To catch up on our Ireland journeys, check out our Wednesday journey here.
Thursday meant we were up and at ’em early, because we wanted to beat some of the crowds at Blarney Castle.
On our way to Blarney, we made a quick detour at a toy factory and museum.
We were able to watch a toy soldier be cast right before our eyes.
Though it’s not an actual tour, visitors are allowed to walk through the back room where the figurines are painted, as well as see the various molds that are stored there.
Because the craftsmanship is so intricate, all of the figurines were very expensive. Julie and I only purchased Christmas ornaments, and in hindsight, I would NOT have purchased mine had I known it cost almost €20! Lesson learned.
On our way out, we were involved in a bit of morning traffic.
Having spent the previous three days exploring the much slower and more rural areas around Galway and Killarney, venturing into a tourist packed area like Blarney Castle was a little uncomfortable for me. How very human of me to want all of this beautiful land to myself and not share it with so many other people!
And yes, it was really cold that morning. Julie, Jonathan and I are all drinking coffee and hot chocolate. Seth….. eating ice cream.
In the picture below, notice the black railing on the side at the very top. There, on the inside wall, lies the Blarney Stone.
Some views from the top:
And then, the time had come….. to put our lips where hundreds of thousands, probably even millions before us had also put their lips… the Blarney Stone.
I don’t know whether to feel sorry for this gentlemen for having to hold on to us well fed folk every day or to laugh at the things he gets to see.
So, there, that happened. So far, I haven’t been diagnosed with any communicable diseases.
Back on the ground, we took a stroll through the Poisonous garden. ALL THE HARRY POTTER FLASHBACKS.
Blarney Castle and the surrounding grounds contain lots to see and do. In fact, we spent 2-3 hours there and maybe saw half of what they had to offer.
ADVICE: Prepare yourself for a more touristy experience, but definitely set aside 4-5 hours to peruse the grounds, have a snack, and kiss the stone at Blarney Castle.
Upon finishing up at Blarney, it was, of course, time for food.
I had read about the Old English Market in Cork and really wanted to check it out. So worth it! Disregarding Seth’s anxieties when dealing with crowds, I think we could have spent hours there.
We loaded up on meats, cheeses and bread for later picnics, but decided to grab some lunch from these gentlemen. Those sausage dogs were OFF. THE. CHAIN.
With fully bellies and snacks to go, we made our way over to Midleton for another “one of my favorite things.”
I chose to do the Jameson Experience in Midleton vs Dublin, because I had read that the Midleton Experience was more inclusive. Still having never been to the Dublin option, I’d vote for the Midleton option. Partly because we had such a wonderful time, partly because you’ll learn later that Dublin was my least favorite part of the trip.
We sprang for the €35ish (can y’all tell I don’t remember the exacts of anything?) ticket that gave us the full tour, as well as a private tasting. When you go, DO IT. Again, another of my favorite things that was well worth the money.
Jameson = my new favorite drink.
This lady must have had a few too many tastings.
Also, this is what our car looked like the majority of the time, and IT. WAS. AWESOME.
When we arrived back in Killarney, we made a stop through Killarney National Park. I must say, one of my biggest regrets is that we didn’t spend enough time here. It was absolutely beautiful and like something out of a movie! They could have filmed the opening scene of Twilight here for sure.
On my next trip, I plan on setting aside at least one entire day to roam the park.
We even got ambitious and took a mini hike up for a better view. By this point in the trip, we were all fat and happy, so this “mini hike” was rough!
But the view was worth it!
It was about this time that Julie was cursing me for having the idea! Haha! Good thing it was downhill from here, because we almost had to leave her behind.
Thursday evening meant spending time packing again, because Friday would see us heading out for Dublin!
Until that is chronicled…
Happy travels, travel bugs!