Well, we got up…ate breakfast, packed our bags, said our goodbyes to Gretta and headed off for our day’s sightseeing ending up down near Cork in Ballinhassig. Our first stop was the Clomantagh Castle and ruins right near the Bungalow Farmhouse B&B where we got a couple of snapshots. After that we stopped by up in Urlingsford for some diesel for the car…and attempted to get lunch from the takeaway place that loaned us their phone the other day…but they weren’t open yet so we gave up on that idea. Neil popped into a convenience store for a diet coke for the drive and then we were off.
Here’s a couple of shots of the Clomantagh Castle…it is privately owned and is just a ruin anyway…so all we got was a picture over the fence. The closer shots are of the old abandoned church and the farther away shots are the castle…it mostly looks like a fortified tower with a house added on later. The last shot with the vista and the way, way out there castle like structure was across the road and is just some random castle like structure…but we thought it made a decent shot.
Our second stop was in the Glen of Aherlow. A glen is essentially a valley and this one is located in the middle of the Galty Mountains. Along the way we searched and searched…faithful reader Ron had asked us the other day about Touchdown Jesus. I gotta tell you…we were unable to find that but we were able to find either Dead Ball Jesus or First Down Jesus…it all depends on how you interpret his signal. So Ron…this one’s for you.
According to the sign…it’s supposed to be the Christ the King statue…but I think that First Down Jesus has a sooooo much better ring to it…so FDJ it is. Neil’s been keeping a Roll Tide Tracker for our trip…and we’re up to 8 Roll Tide’s and 1 War Eagle for the trip so far…not bad for 6 days Ima thinking.
Here’s a panorama view from the top of the ridge just in the FDJ parking lot. We’re about 500 or so feet up from the glen floor here and it was a really pretty decent view. Nice sunny day today…a lady we saw right after this while taking pictures at the abbey told us that 2 nice days in a row was a rarity for Ireland.
Our next stop was the Moor Abbey…a Franciscan abbey which was established in 1471 and remained in operation until they were massacred in 1570. The Franciscans returned in 1646 although they no longer lived at the abbey and remained until 1806 when it was again abandoned and it has remained so ever since. It’s just ruins but is better preserved than some we’ve seen this trip. Along the way to the abbey we spotted an Irish RV Park…and there is clearly no way we could get BAT and the house in there…but then the roads woulda stopped us already anyway. The last shot below is of a grave in the church portion of the abbey…you can still see the carved image of Mary over the tomb even after going on 600 years. I included a shot of Connie and Neil standing in front of it…it was taken by the lady you can just see at the left side of the first picture…she was putting up a notification about discounted beer at this weekend’s BBQ Festival.
Our next stop was lunch…which ended up being in the town of Blarney right outside of the Blarney castle which was our final scheduled stop for the day. We ate at the Muskerry Arms and discovered they had Murphy’s Stout…so naturally we had a couple along with our sandwiches…egg salad for Connie and chicken for Neil. While we were sitting there a group of Irish working guys came in on their lunch break…and I gotta tell ya Neil’s vision of the rough and tough Irish working man was shattered…shattered I tell ya. He expected them to eat some manly sandwiches bursting with meat and toss down several pints with them. Instead…they ate some namby pamby sort of sandwich on Ciabatta bread and they drank tea. Tea for criminy’s sake…with milk in it. Tea…for lunch. I tell ya…it was an abomination.
After that was done we discovered that we had parked our car right in front of the Garda substation (that’s the cops)…so we were pretty safe while we ate lunch. Next we headed into Blarney Castle.
Now back to that OSHA stuff. We gotta tell ya…if Blarney Castle was in the United States there is absolutely no way that it would be open to the public. Between the changes they would have to make for the Americans with Disability Act, the changes for safety of both the workers and the visitors, and all the other regulations they would have to meet they would never, never get an operating license. Here in Ireland though…they look at these things with a longer view and just put a sign up at the bottom of the tower stairs that said (essentially)…”enter at your own risk, it’s old, dark, narrow, and steep and if you break yourself too bad.” The castle was built in 1446 and safety and access were way down the list of important building specifications I guess.
We climbed up the 101 steps to the top…Connie was getting a bit panicked on the way up with the narrow, steep steps…closed in sides…and her lack of depth perception. Neil stayed below her to steady her and she made it up to the top…at which point she looked at what you had to do to kiss the Blarney Stone and said she wasn’t doing it. It involved laying on your back over a foot wide crack leading 150 feet or so down to the ground then sticking your head back and down into the hole where the stone is. She was worried that she would get a vertigo attack on rising…this happens sometimes when she gets out of bed so she passed on it. Neil did it though and she got a picture of him. Here are shots of Blarney Castle and environs. The last two show Neil at the stone and then a ground level shot looking just about vertically 150 feet or so into the crevice where the stone is.
Yeah, the Blarney Stone is kinda schmaltzy I know…but it’s one of those things ya just gotta do while you’re here to go along with the more cool, exotic, non-touristy stuff like Skellig Michael and the Giant’s Causeway.
With that our day was done…we got back to the car and another hour or so down the road drove directly to our home for the next 2 nights…the Ardfield Farmhouse B&B in Ballinhassig…Connie’s destination figuring out process last night got us here with no issues. We met our host Bernadette and got checked in then headed off to Kirby’s Corner Bar and Restaurant for dinner. We quickly spotted Beamish Stout on one of the tap handles and went no farther…two pints each later along with dinner which was Pan Fried Sea Bass for Connie and a steak with mushrooms, onions, and wine sauce for Neil later we came back to the hotel after stopping for some cookies for snack later. Met the horse out in the pasture in front of the house and that was it for today. I’ll grab a shot of the view from the yard in the morning…it’s a pretty nice view.