June 30, 2013 8:20 PM—Dublin
I took a little trip down to Cork today, but not without some problems. I went down to the train station this morning at around 8 AM and all I found was trouble. It seems that someone jumped onto the tracks or something. The train company said that the trains were not coming into the station at all because between two stations further down “a person was struck and fatally injured”. I don't think this guy knew what problems he would cause. For everyone getting on my train, they were going to put us all on buses to get us to a station past the incident, but I guess the buses weren't coming fast enough, so they started putting people in taxis. Imagine a whole train full of people getting into taxis. That's a lot of taxis. By the time I got towards the front of the line, a bus showed up, so I took a bus about a half hour to a further station. In the end, this delayed me about an hour and 45 minutes.
Once I got to Cork, I walked to the bus station to get to Blarney. Blarney is a small village just outside the city center. Unfortunately, these buses only run once an hour, so I had about 40 minutes to wait. No worries. I got lunch. I went to Subway and got a sandwich and by the time I got back it was almost time to get the bus. The bus ride took about 20 minutes and then I was in Blarney.
Upon arriving I walked to Blarney Castle (the main reason for coming). Blarney Castle is not just a castle. In fact, it included the entire grounds of the estate, which included acres of gardens and a handful of other buildings. So to start I went into the old castle. This is where the Blarney Stone itself is. The castle was really awesome. You had to climb narrow windy stairs to get to the top, but there were quite a few rooms to stop and see along the way. I felt like this castle was made for me, because all the doorways were really low. I got to see all these big tall guys ducking down to walk through this castle, while the same doorways were about an inch or two taller than me, so it was perfect (there are usually very few advantages of being short).
When you reach the top of the castle, you end up in a line. This line is to kiss the Blarney Stone. This whole part of seeing the castle was incredibly cheesy. The Blarney Stone itself isn't much more than part of the wall. It doesn't even look like a separate stone. Right in front of the stone they have removed the floor and they have made this into a thrill seeking activity by telling everyone they need to kiss it upside-down. So everyone that wants to kiss it has to lie down on the ground and practically lower themselves into this hole in the floor to kiss the wall upside-down. Now, don't worry, there is an employee there to support you and there is also a guy there with a camera and a huge flash to take your picture if you want to remember this ridiculous experience. Personally, I didn't see the need to risk my life to kiss this disease-ridden wall, but I didn't mind watching other people do it. In fact, this is the only thing in the whole castle that wasn't accommodating to short people, because it was so far away from the actual floor short people had a harder time reaching it.
After seeing the Blarney Stone, I continued to walk around the gardens of Blarney Castle. I actually really enjoyed this part of my trip, but unfortunately due to my morning delay, I only had about an hour to wander. I could have wandered for at least 3 hours. The place was huge.
In order to not get back to Dublin too late, I left Blarney Castle a little after 3 PM. And, again, I had more transport problems. My bus to get back to town was about 10 minutes late and the driver was not at all interested in catching up his time. So as it turned out, I had to run to the train station so that I wouldn't have to wait an entire hour to get the next train (and get back an hour later). I did make it and I got a workout at the same time. So by taking the train at 5:20 I managed to get back to my hostel just past 8 PM. I think I just went on the wrong day. It also didn't help that today was Sunday. I think there were generally fewer trains and buses just because it was Sunday. Nonetheless, the day was a success. I made it there and back and I saw what I wanted to see. Tomorrow I have an organized tour that will take me out to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. And tomorrow is going to be even longer than today, but hopefully a bit more productive. I have to be at the train station at 6:40 AM tomorrow morning and I'll be returning to Dublin just before 10 PM tomorrow night. I'm really going out with a bang!