Today was our second day on tour with the SMC choir. They let us sleep in a bit which was nice, as many of the passengers had some jet lag from coming over from MN. They had a full Irish breakfast at the hotel for us before we headed out to the Blarney Castle.
Everyone knows about the Blarney Stone and if you kiss it you will get the gift of gab and eloquence. But not everyone knows the story. In fact, based on information in the story I can just throw my 6 year speech pathology masters degree out the window and go buy a Blarney Stone! Legend has it that the young Blarney lad had a stutter, and was instructed to kiss a stone near the river and his stutter would be cured. And alas after kissing it, miraculously he no longer stuttered! So he built the stone up high in his castle where it would be safe from intrusion. You have to walk up the steep, narrow and winding staircase to get to the top. From there you are dangled upside down with help of a chipper Irish man to kiss the stone.
Originally I wasn't going to do it, I mean the idea of kissing a stone that has been kissed over and over for a few centuries seemed a little frightening... However I got over my fear of germs and bucked up and puckered up. I can't say that I didn't previously already have the gift of gab, but I am hoping that my gabbing just gets more intense as I know Jason will love that.
There actually is quite a bit to the Blarney Castle grounds. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was. There was a waterfall, a standing stone circle, a fairy garden, "3 wise men" trees, a fern garden, hiking paths and a poison garden. The poison garden only had plants that could kill you! I learned that the leaves of rhubarb plants are incredibly poisonous, and can quickly shut down your immune system. The garden had juniper, poison ivy, tobacco, and many other types.
For lunch we headed over to the infamous Wollen Mills, and had some sandwiches at a local pub. Outside the pub were 3 young girls doing traditional Irish dance to music. They were all dressed up and so cute! I couldn't help but donate to their dance group. At Woolen Mills I bought an infinity scarf that was a rust orange color and a hand-knit hat that had an awesome fluff ball on top. I couldn't help it, they had great stuff and you all know I like cute clothes.
We headed back on the bus and stopped at Charles Fort that afternoon, and learned all about the inhabitants, the attacks, their role outside of Kinsale and the local hospital. The fort had been set on fire previously so there are a few remaining buildings left. We had a great guide who was super saucy and sarcastic and I loved it. At the end of the tour I got a pot of tea which was wearing a hand-knit chicken suit. I have to tell you that absolutely made my afternoon.
That evening we went into Kinsale, where we were able to walk around to the various shops. I have previously been to Kinsale with Jason, Anne, and Joe for Kelsey's wedding and it was so fun to visit again. I made sure to stop in a jewelery shop that we had previously visited. At 8 pm, we sang at St Multose church in Kinsale. Jason and I had actually been to this church and cemetery as recommended by Rick Steeves. When we pulled up I got super excited because it reminded me of our journey that we had shared together there.
There were 4 new songs I had never sang before (eeek!) but I had been listening to them online and was familiar with them audio wise. The concert went well, and the acoustic sound in the old church was amazing. After the concert, a young couple came up to us and told us they had seen our sign outside the church earlier today, so they decided to come. They actually ended up being from St Louis Park. Small world!