On our drive from Carlow to Cork we passed through a few small towns and came upon this private lot that had these castle reminants. How cool would it be to live on land that had this?
There was a small cave around the castle that the kids really liked
Arlington kissing the Blarney Stone. There are many legends of this stone. One is that Jacob used it as a pillow as he dreamed of a ladder extending up to the heavens. The stone was brought from the Holy Land after the crusades
Cainan kissing the Blarney Stone. Another legend is that it was given to the McCarthy chieftain by Robert Bruce in thanks for support in Scotland against King Edward II.
Mat kissing the Blarney Stone. Another legend is about the Queen of the Fairies that fell in love with a chieftain that died in BAttle. She found his body near the stone and his blood and her tears from crying blended into the stone as she continued to kiss it. This caused magical powers in the stone.
And that is where the kissing ends. Finley and I took a pass at kissing the stone. Not being Irish, I have to admit it didn't mean anything to me, so I took the pictures instead. Finley doesn't have great depth perception and there is a pretty decent gap between the stone and where you lay down (if you are under 8 years old you can't even do it), so she didn't like that at all.
Cainan at the "Murder Hole" The soldiers would throw things down this hole (not grated obviously) to kill or seriously injure intruders below.
Harry Potter fans will recognize this plant! It was growing in the Poison Garden around the Blarney castle
We enjoyed walking around the grounds of the Blarney Castle before heading off. The grounds are beautiful and there are lots of places to hike.
None of the kids would let me sacrifice them. Big babies.
After Blarney, we continued on toward Cork. Our first stop after we dropped our car and our belongings at the hotel was St. Anne's Church. We stopped here because I had read online that you could ring the bells in the bell tower, and I thought the kids would like that.
There were a lot of songs to pick from. Arlington did EdelWeiss. It gave instructions on how to ring the bells to make the song.
Cainan did Kum By Ya (I have no idea how to spell that)
Finley did Mary Had a Little Lamb
We were then able to climb up into the bell tower - past the bells and out onto the terrace to look out over Cork.
One of the bells in the tower. The walk up was arduous and very narrow.
Our next stop was the Cork City Gaol. It was built before the 1870s, and was a replacement for a 100 year old Gaol in the city. It hasn't been a working prison since 1923, but it is in amazing shape - they are taking really great care of it. From 1927 to the 1950s, it was actually the home of a radio station. There were children that were imprisoned here as well. A lot of people around the early 1900s were so desparate and starving that they would commit petty crimes so they could go to prison and get 3 meals a day
Kids at Cork City Gaol (prison). I tried to leave them in the cell
This is George Boole's house - the mathematician and inventor of Boolean Algebra
Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral. This church was gorgous. This church was built in 1870. Saint Fin Barre came to the marshes of Cork in 606AD where he founded a monastery with what became a renowned monastic school on the site of the present Cathedral. Christian worship and learning has continued here ever since. He died in Cloyne in 623AD and is said to have been buried in the the graveyard somewhere near the east end of the present Saint Fin Barre's Cathedral.
This is a canon ball that was shot at the church during the revolution. The church retrieved it and hung it over the door.
Before heading to the hotel for the night, we walked around and then grabbed some dinner. Cork does have a very nice, very modern downtown, so the kids enjoyed walking along the shops. There was a very large foundain the middle of the square.
The sign on the right caught our eye because it is in German
We took this picture for our daughter Finley (who we call Finn)
Statue of St. Mathew - spelled the way Mat spells his name