Just kidding. Bret is against kissing the Blarney Stone for hygienic reasons and we didn’t even actually go into the castle, but we did ride our bikes up to Blarney.
you can see all of Bret’s pictures from the ride here:
The ride was really nice. We had a lovely morning to start and a large hill to climb getting out of Cork. Bret took this picture looking back at St. Finbar’s cathedral (our next door neighbor) from the start of the climb.
Our rest stop was the Blarney Woolen Mills. Currently, the woolen mills remind me of an outlet mall. There is the Irish shop (largest in the world), a kitchen goods shop, a cafeteria-style restaurant, a pub, and a hotel. Historically, the site had been a woolen mill since the 1750s! The original mill burned down and the current structure was rebuilt in the late 1800s. The wool market took a big plunge in the 1960s because of the rise of synthetic materials and the mill shut down in 1973. It was reopened in its current incarnation in 1977 by a man who had worked in the mill as a child. We had a cup of coffee and bought Irish sweaters. Bret took this picture of us at the wool mills with our new sweaters!
We then popped by the Blarney Castle for a peek, but did not go inside, and headed back to Cork on a quiet country road with amazing views.
my pictures from the parking lot at Blarney Castle
And Bret’s picture from one of the lovely vistas on the ride home: