It was a chilly day when we visited Blarney Castle, but trees on the grounds were bursting with spring blossoms. Blarney Blossoms

The castle, built in 1446, is the third to be situated on the site, the first being a wooden structure dating from the 10th century. The 13th century keep still stands, and it is here that visitors may climb to the top to kiss the famous Blarney Stone and thus receive the gift of gab.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Oubliette







The stone spiral staircase is narrow, but if Oliver Hardy and Winston Churchill could do it, so could I. Safely past the Oubliette,  a trap door allegedly used to eliminate unwanted castle guests in the past, I approached the man who would facilitate my downward dip into eloquence.


Kissing the Blarney Stone





Frampton did it, too.

Frampton at Blarney






Kinsale Cookoff

Kinsale TastingAfterward we headed for Kinsale, a former medieval village that has been hailed as the “Gourmet Capital of Ireland.” We saw gulls taking a break from fishing, perhaps waiting for leftovers from the chowder festival in progress.

Kinsale Gulls

Later we explored part of the Ring of Beara. Shared by counties Cork and Kerry, its breathtakingly rugged landscape is a walking, cycling, and driving paradise.

By early evening we arrived at County Kerry’s Waterfalls Farm House, so named for the waterfall on the River Sheen which flows through the farm. Proprietress Nora May O’Sullivan greeted us warmly. So did Peanut, her pup (seen below in left foreground), who accompanied us on a walk to the falls .

Peanut and the Falls - Copy

A sign warned of Leprechauns but they were not in evidence. Yet.

Waterfalls Leprachaun Crossing Sign

We were pushing the dinner envelope in the nearby town of Kenmare, where restaurants open at all–this not yet being “the season”–were closing their doors. But we managed to find beef stew, hot bread, and red wine in a near-empty pub before returning to Mrs. O’Sullivan’s and a marvelous night’s sleep.