September 2005


05.09.05: Stone Smooched!

So Monday was an odd day. (Even odder because I’m writing this in past-tense, even though it’s Monday because I have no idea when I will be posting it.)

I got to my B&B at 8:15 after catching the bus from the ferry, and I thought I rang the bell, but later I realized it didn’t actually work. Anyhow, I eventually checked in and then went down to catch a bus to Blarney.

Stone Smooched!

The Blarney Castle was fabulous and fun, in that sick and twisted kind of way. As far as I can tell this is basically a tourist trap without too much excessive crap associated with it. For 7€ a person, one gets to climb all over the Blarney Castle, which is but a shadow of its former self-missing floors, well worn floors, and missing walls here and there. Upon reaching the top one gets to kiss the Blarney Stone. And have your photo taken while doing so.

The grounds were crawling with American tourists.

Of course to kiss the Blarney Stone, you are assisted by a nice gentleman who took my glasses from me, told me to bend over backwards, grab the two rails behind my head and then work your head until you can reach the bottom stone to kiss. Your photo is then taken (twice) by a professional photographer and just before you exit the Castle grounds one can purchase the photos for a small fee. I bought one because I have no idea how good a photographer the man behind me in line is.

From there I headed back to Cork, where I wandered around town and ate lunch in a park along with a decent portion of the city’s workforce.

In the afternoon I made my way up to the Butter Museum.

Yes, the Cork Butter Museum-a museum dedicated to the history of butter in Ireland, and Ireland’s butter in the world. It was pretty fascinating-albeit on the small side, but exactly how much can be said about Irish butter.

A lot, actually.

The story is a rather interesting story of collective action where getting all Irish dairy farmers to act as one resulted in higher butter prices and a coordinated brand action in overseas markets. The group was given, in essence, monopoly powers.

I suddenly realized that I had fallen victim to the story, indirectly. Last year when I was first buying butter in Germany, I bought KerryGold butter because I thought Irish butter was probably better than German butter. It might have been less expensive, but regardless, I found it romantic-and all I was exposed to was its packaging in that Celtic font and the shamrock leaf.

Unfortunately the museum didn’t have postcards for sale-although I suspect that my friends are grateful for this fact.

Ultimately the day was shaded by the fact that I’ve felt queasy all day. I don’t know if it’s a lasting effect from the boat, but my inner ears have occasionally wreaked havoc on me today-thus limiting the amount I could do since I would occasionally need to sit down and let things go past me.

I came back to the B&B in the late afternoon and took a nap-I’ve yet to test if I’ve recovered from my problem yet-I will do so shortly when I make my way down the hill into the city center for dinner.

Hotel Review: I stayed at the Emerson House, a Gay Bed and Breakfast located in Cork. I highly recommend the B&B-Cyril, the owner, is very nice and knowledgeable about Cork and the surrounding region. He made me feel very welcome at his B&B and in Cork. To my great surprise, even knew what street my hotel was on in Dublin just by the name of it. I would tell you where I stayed in Dublin, but as you’ll read in the Dublin entry, I have a reason not to.

Random Notes: I picked up some packages of Boots Pocket Tissues while in the UK. At some point I was bored enough to read the packaging, which contained a couple interesting points. First of all, instead of declaring that there were 10 tissues per package, it announced “Average Contents 10 x 4ply Tissues.” The second point was the kind of consumer warning that one would expect in the States: “Please remove all paper tissues from garments before washing.

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