Blarney & Healy’s Pass

In the morning we checked out and then drove across the river again and parked to take another look at Cork in the daylight. After we decided to go find the Blarney Stone!
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Blarney is actually the town that Janette is from, and is home to the famous Blarney Castle. The grounds were beautiful, so green and lush . A far cry from frosty Calgary that we’d left days before. How cool are castles! Rachel and I came to the conclusion that we should start a paintball
company and wage epic battles. You could have snipers set up at the top pegging people as they approached.  It would be grand.

 

There were tourists galore. It started to rain so we got in line to head up the castle and kiss the stone. There were Americans behind us on our way up the tiny spiral staircase. They were talking about the rats in their houuuse. The old man who had the pleasure of helping people kiss the stone looked like he was having a jolly time.

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They get you to lie down on your back over a gaping hole in the edge of the walkway that has bars for you to grab on the wall. The old guy helps to suspend you in the air while you lean back and kiss the wall upside down. I was freaked out. I’m totally a chicken shit. I don’t know how I ever did a bungy jump because I almost didn’t even kiss the stone. But I did. Rachel did like a champ. I wonder if I got any of the tourists sick.

There were some caves below the castle you could enter. blarney01.jpg

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From Blarney we drove to Adrigole and then turned right after the bridge onto Healy’s Pass. It’s a 16km drive along the Caha mountain range and over the Cork / Kerry border. The road narrows to literally one lane going uphill, swinging hard left and right like a go kart track. It was fantastic going up because I could see that the road was clear and could fly along it. Next time I visit Ireland I’d love to get a car with a little more zip.

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We got out at a little stone bridge to take pictures. The doors either fly out of  your hand or slam back into you, it was quite blustery. We actually had the car rental guy warn us about the wind at the Cliffs of Moher. So many cars come back with marks on their side panels from people opening their doors in the wind and smashing the car next to them.

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There was a wild looking man who was threatening to be blown away who approached the car as we were about to leave. There was nothing around for a considerable ways, he must have been walking for awhile. I was wiping the rain off of my glasses when he knocked. I peeled down the window a bit less than half way and was greeted by a three toothed Irishman with long, wispy winged nose hairs and a curious smile. I couldn’t stop looking at his nose hairs, I wish I’d thought to take his photo, but it got a little weird at the end.

He seemed innocent enough. He asked Rachel and I if we liked Ireland or not and if it was our first visit. Would we live here? It wouldn’t be too boring for ya? Do you have any siblings? How many? Where in the order are you? Are your parents still together? Have they remarried? Do you have boyfriends back home? Ha! We opted not to go into the fact that we were together. Have you any nieces or nephews? Oh that’s grand, how old is your sister? Oh 30, how old are you? 25, that’s not too young to have kids. How old was your mom when she had kids? All these family questions, you get the gist. He did start to repeat some questions near the end which was odd.

This whole time the storm is continuing on, fighting its way through my cracked window and soaking me, the man couldn’t have been more wet than he already was. Apparently the death toll was high in the construction of the road. He asked us our names and told us he was John. He had no kids and never found a wife but if he could go back he would have kids for sure. I almost regretted asking him the questions, you could sense the sorrow of what had not come to pass pressing on him.

Finally he kissed our hands through the less than half cracked window and bid us farewell. It was only after we started driving away that Rachel let me know that every time I had looked at her in the conversation, he had hastily peeked around me to see what was in the back of the car. I was like, “why didn’t you say something!” She responded that she put her seatbelt on as a way of saying, okaaay let’s go. Next time use your words more directly, my god!

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At the summit of the pass we ventured out of the car into the rainy wind to clamber the rocky landscape and take pictures. The deceiving spongy ground led to some puddle filled shoes and Rachel’s graceful ass slide in the mud.

We continued down into Kenmare where we stayed for the night. 80 euros at Foley’s BnB, room 12. The shower sold us, it actually got warm.

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Here’s a good shot of a two lane road in Irelandblarney10

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