Blarney Castle - Worth a Visit

We couldn't resist stopping at the Blarney Castle on our return journey to Dublin from Cork.  Set on expansive and picturesque grounds, the castle towers above its surroundings.
We climbed to the top, stopping to appreciate the dark and damp interior along the way.
We were rewarded for our efforts with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
We spotted this colorful little fella' perched on the castle wall.
This is what kissing the Blarney Stone looks like from below...
Here I am, getting into position...  The gent working there instructs you on where to place your arms and then holds you as you contort to kiss the Blarney Stone.  It's a little dizzying to look back.  Apparently, it's not as scary as it used to be since they've installed metal bars to prevent people from falling.  After smooching what was likely a cootie covered rock, I'm excited to take my new Gift of Gab for a spin!
I took quite a few pictures of the Blarney Castle and surrounds.  Here's a nice selection.
This plaque did a nice job summarizing Blarney and how it differs from baloney:

Baloney is flattery laid on with a trowel.  Blarney is flattery laid on with the lips; that is why you have to kiss a stone to get it  - Monsignor Fulton Sheen

We climbed back down and took a walk through the nearby Poison Garden.
The warning before entering was rather concerning:  Do not touch, smell, or eat any plant!  Children must be accompanied at all times.
There were all manner of poisons:  from poison ivy to mandrake to nightshade.  The more serious poisons were covered with a protective mesh to make sure people heeded the warning not to mess with the plants.  The poisons were interspersed with colorful tulips.
We concluded our visit with a walk through the Rock Garden on the Blarney Castle grounds.
Each rock formation or dolmen was adorned with a plaque describing history and mythology in the area.
I thought the Witches' Stone was aptly named.
The natural beauty of the place was striking.  I liked these flowers with a checkered pattern on the petals...
...not to mention the fine texture of these leaves...
Here, it was almost as if a cartoon person had been carved into the rock.
We passed a gloriously old and somewhat spooky tree.
With one last stop to smell the flowers (these weren't of the poison variety) we concluded our weekend in Cork and the surrounding area.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Blarney Castle - Worth a Visit
Blarney Castle - Worth a Visit
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