5.24.12 News Alert: I Now Have the Gift of Gab!

So, I’ve been in Ireland for two days and I have done so much already! This country is much more beautiful than I remember. The hills and mountains are so green and the village of Sneem is already starting to endear itself to me. Yesterday, I visited the quintessential Irish tourist attraction – the famous Blarney Stone. Supposedly, it is well known for giving anyone who kisses it the ability to speak and hold an audience’s attention like a true Irish person. I remember when I came to Ireland last year that some of my classmates went and kissed it and said how much fun it was – and one year later – I’m doing it!
That experience was nothing like I imagined it to be. I thought that the stone was at ground level – I was wrong. Actually, it is at the very top of Blarney Castle so you have to walk up 150 steps to get there. Now, these aren’t your regular, modern, long and wide steps. Since the castle is hundreds of years old, the steps are small and narrow. You have to be very careful and watch where you’re going as you walk up and down them.
As I was climbing up them to get to the top I did not think that I was going to make it. Even though I consider myself to be a strong, confident person, I am absolutely terrified of heights! I had to keep myself from looking out the windows down below. The steps seemed to go on and on forever and I felt myself beginning to grow uneasy. However, one of the students from the other school we are with, Robert Morris University, was right behind me encouraging me that I could make it. When we finally made it to the top of the castle, I felt so happy! When it was my turn to kiss the stone, the student, Jennifer, even took the picture! Then, when it was time to go back down, I began to feel uneasy again. At one point on the way down she told me “you got this” which made me feel that I could definitely mange something as simple as climbing down those same 150 steps which I conquered on the way up.

Once I was back on the ground, I explored the castle’s natural surroundings. The grounds of Blarney Castle are absolutely stunning. The trees are like nothing I have ever seen before. I can only describe them as whimsical – like something about of a storybook fairytale. There were also numerous waterfalls and pathways everywhere you looked. Seeing Blarney Castle and its gardens for the first time reminded me of the poet Patrick Kavanagh’s “Canal Bank Walk” : “Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal/Pouring redemption for me, that I do/The will of God…” (lines 1-3).
Conquering my fear of heights in order to be able to see the vast landscape of the Irish countryside further confirmed to me that I can and I will accomplish whatever I set my mind to.

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