Blarney Castle, Republic of Ireland

Blarney Castle sits north of Cork in the southern part of Ireland, its most famous for the Blarney stone which if kissed give you the gift of the gab! The castle is situated on an impressive estate where the entrance fee was part of our tour costs with Busabout / Shamrocker Adventures and we arrived early in order to beat the crowds (mainly tours with older clientele).

Blarney Castle, the Jewel of Southern Ireland Castles

There is a queue to enter the castle and kiss the blarney stone, to give an idea when we arrived it took 35 minutes for us to make our way (causally) through the castle up to the stone. However once we left I noted the line to kiss the stone extended well past a 2 hour mark, so early is essential to avoid a morning in queue and there is plenty of other things to see.

The main attraction… no not the sign!

The castle itself is quite a fascinating structure, while the walk up is enjoyable (yes lots of stairs and tight spaces) they have off shoots into the various rooms used by staff when it was a functional castle. Its a good idea if you can spare a few minutes to check out a few nooks and crannies as they are unique but also give you a bit of breathing room from the line of eager rock smootchers.

The Famous Blarney Stone – and protective rails and attendant.

Now if you don’t want to actually kiss the rock (I for instance did not) its still worth the climb for the amazing views of the grounds.

The poison gardens on the grounds is worth a wander around, if you are into botany or want to notch up your survivalist belt on which plants not to eat this is the place to do it.

A had a good giggle over how some of the plants were in tiny protected. Mandrake, Wolsbane, Nightshade… all deadly and in little cages; however, Cannabis (Marijuana) is kept in a playground sized bubble! Priorities…

Those yellow flowers looked so tasty!

On last glance back at the castle… through a rock… oh Ireland is the Emerald Island, but also the land of unique rocks.

Everyone has to get this photo… including me.

Varadero Beach Tour Bus – Varadero Peninsula, Varadero, Cuba

Varadero Beach Tour Bus – Varadero Peninsula, Varadero, Cuba

For those who don’t mind a bit of sunshine and a bit of wind in the face, the Varadero Beach Tour double-decker bus is a great way to see Varadero and the Varadero Peninsula.  Cost is $5CUC ($5US approx) for a ticket good for the whole day and with unlimited on-off privileges. The bus runs about every half hour with multiple stops along the Peninsula and about every three blocks in town. Continue reading

Caravaning in Scotland

A Touch of Scottish Yellow - Benderlach, Scotland

Caravaning in Scotland

Jim had planned for us to head north in his truck hauling his caravan to a caravan park north of Oban, Scotland.  He felt that he could handle the preparations quite well without me :-), so, while he was getting things ready for the trip, I had a few hours to travel to Eglinton Country Park near Irvine, Scotland to meet up with another photographer, Stevie Manson to photograph the flora and fauna of the area. Some of the birds that Stevie had hoped to show me didn’t materialize and it was a bit breezy for insects but we did manage to have some fun shooting what we found.
Stevie and his damselfly technique The bugs forced him to his knees Continue reading