Feeling: freezing cold hands, the cold Blarney stone on my lips
Tasting: “nutcracker” brownie from Insomnia, salty vodka-cured salmon
Seeing: mist over the hills in Blarney
Hearing: the bus rattling
Smelling: a castle
I started off the day with a quick pilates session, then overnight oats and green tea with lemon, so my life is basically a fitness Instagram. At 8:30 I met Laura’s friend Anna outside the apartment to head out to the bus stop, and it only took at half-hour bus ride to get to Blarney.
The town and the castle was very quiet, and the air was cold and misty. We’d originally wondered whether an 8:00 or 9:00 departure would be better in terms of beating the crowds, but our 9:30 arrival was perfect since things opened late on Sundays. We made a beeline (well, slowly) to the stone, then on the way down we explored the nooks and crannies (including a “murder hole” which was used to drop lethal items on invaders should they get past the front entrance). There were also lovely gardens around the castle, including a poison garden full of plants of varying toxicities and a fern garden with some of the hugest ferns I have ever seen, leading up to a waterfall.
Per Laura’s recommendation, we went to a café called Insomnia in the Woolen Mills. The Mills is apparently the largest Irish store in the world, according to the sign out front. She specifically recommended the hot chocolate, so Anna got a red velvet hot chocolate while I opted for my usual macchiato and got an awesome brownie topped with cranberries, white and milk chocolate, and peanuts.
We took the bus back to meet Laura and almost went into a craft and vintage sale but decided against it when we saw that there was an entrance fee, so we went to the Electric bar upstairs for a light, quick round of appetizers. Neither Laura nor I had been to Elizabeth Fort, and having a guest from out of town is a great excuse to see tourist attractions that you may have skipped over.