Kissing the Blarney Stone

Blarney StoneOr not.

By the time I hiked through a lovely meadow and climbed the 100+ steps to the top of Blarney Castle, I had second thoughts about giving the bluestone a big wet smack. Take a look a this picture. You can actually see a discoloration on the stone from all the kisses over the years. Since I’ve been on high dose steroids for 3 years for a lung condition, my immune system is a bit compromised to begin with. I didn’t need to swap germs with an Irish icon, however revered it might be. (Of course, the fact that I’d have to lie down and hang backward over that precipice while the guy in red keeps me from slipping away in order to give the stone a kiss had nothing to do with my decision!)

View from Blarney CastleBut the view from the top of Blarney Castle was more than worth the climb. It’s situated to be able to see advancing foes far in the distance.

You see, the home of the McCarthy’s wasn’t built for comfort. It was crafted with an eye to defense–thick walls, soaring towers, and murder holes in the gate house! Blarney Castle is a ruin, so we had to use our imagination as we climbed through it. Floors were missing in the main section, but once we began ascending a narrow spiral staircase, the chambers leading off it were mostly intact.

Blarney Castle's Earl's WindowThe photo to the right shows the ornate window in the earl’s bedroom with three openings on a “Juliette-type” faux balcony. Most other rooms must make do with arrow notches to let light in. The chute-like openings (a small one to the right of the earl’s window and a much larger one almost dead center to the left) were from the castle’s garderobes. A garderobe is a medieval latrine. Human waste exited the castle through those openings.

Blarney Castle's Back DoorAnd speaking of openings…no castle would be complete without an emergency exit. When Cromwell’s forces led by Lord Broghill took Blarney Castle, they were in for a big surprise. Once they entered the bailey, they discovered only two elderly household retainers were there. All the Irish defenders had disappeared along with everything of value in the stronghold! Here I am at the Badger’s Cave where the McCarthy warriors escaped from the English.

I thought this was a fun discovery since in Sins of the Highlander, I gave Mad Rob’s castle an elaborate cave that allowed him to enter and exit without using the main gate. My fiction has the ring of truth. Who knew?

This week my One Night with a Rake tour continues. Be sure to check my itinerary each day to follow me through cyber-space. Prizes at every stop!

6 thoughts on “Kissing the Blarney Stone

  1. Laurie Evans says:

    Oh I loved the secret passage in Sins of the Highlander! Sounds like a great trip.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      When I wrote it, I had no idea any castle might actually have a secret exit, but thought it might come in handy. Turns out, it did!

      1. Nynke says:

        I was so surprised about that as well! Especially since it wasn’t just some 17th-century tunnel with a trap door, but an actual cave!

        And otherwise, this trip sounds great, too…

        1. Mia says:

          We had a wonderful time and I stored up so many delightful details I’ll use in my books later. It was a rich time!

  2. Theresa N. says:

    Mia,

    Of course the guy in red holding you in precarious positions had nothing to do with it, it is obvious that he has had YEARS of experience.

    Now place Chris Hemsworth (Thor)there to dangle me for a kiss and it would be a totally different answer. *winks*

    Either way you are so lucky to have a chance to visit!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Oh, yeah. Chris could have gotten me on my back. Wait a minute…that didn’t sound right.

      And yes, I am incredibly grateful for the chance to take this trip with my DH. We had a wonderful time. You should have seen him heading for work today after having two weeks off. It was hard for him to finally let the adventure end.

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