It finally arrived…. Our last day with Paddywagon. We started with Blarney Castle and the famous Blarney Stone. Adult admission to the castle grounds is an astounding €12, so I’m very glad that it was included in our trip. This is another attraction that you should definitely do first thing in the morning. By the time we got there around noon, the line to kiss the Blarney Stone was already about 50 people deep.
The story of the Blarney Stone, as told to us by our driver, was that a man was involved in a lawsuit and was on the last day of his trial. He knew he would be convicted, and as he was walking to the courthouse, he appealed to the goddess Clíodhna. Clíodhna was a goddess of many things, including love, beauty, and deception. She told him to kiss a certain stone along the way, and that he would be found innocent.
He kissed the stone and when he went into court, he was able to find the perfect words to change the jurors’ minds. He got off on the charge and went on to build Blarney Castle, where he incorporated the stone into highest battlements.
Knowing that my “gift of the gab” extends only as far as my fingertips, I decided to forego the experience. Me no think old rock make me more gooder talker person. So we spent our time exploring the grounds instead, and there’s a surprising amount to see! There’s a “poison garden” with some pretty laughable examples. Like rosemary. Poison someone with rosemary, in front of my eyes, and we’ll talk. It was set up to educate people about local flora (some they may even have in their own gardens) that can have adverse effects, so maybe I shouldn’t be so snarky.
The Guinness Storehouse
And at long last, we came to the final leg of our journey. The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. Normally admission is a hefty €18, so again I was glad to have it included. I had been to the Storehouse once before so luckily I knew what to expect. It’s pretty much a museum about how beer is made, with some cool high-tech exhibits thrown in.
Being someone who honestly doesn’t give a shit, I just wanted to get my free beer.
Normally I think Alex would really have enjoyed the place. However, we were there on a Saturday in June. The crowds and tour groups were inescapable. It took about five minutes before Alex got frustrated and just wanted his free beer too.
There are two ways to get your pint. You can go up to the gravity bar on the top floor where there is a circular bar with pints constantly being professionally poured, or you can go to the place where you learn to pour the perfect pint yourself. When we went by, the line to pour your own pint was out of the room and around the corner. But hey, you get a nifty certificate to take home afterward. (It will not help you get bartending jobs.)
We gave up on the exhibits pretty quickly and went straight to the top, grabbed our beers, and enjoyed the scenery. The gravity bar is circular with floor-to-ceiling windows all around, allowing you to see all of Dublin. It’s a great spot for a beer when it’s not jam-packed with people from all over the globe. If you need to dropkick a bitch, just make sure not to spill your beer. Overall, it wasn’t the most enjoyable experience.
My advice is to NEVER EVER EVER go on a weekend. Or at least don’t do it during peak tourist months. The other time I went was a weekend in October, and it was much better.
That’s it for our all-Ireland tour with Paddywagon! It was an amazing trip – even better than I expected – and I can’t speak highly enough of them. One thing I don’t recommend is staying in their hostel unless you’re traveling alone. Hostel prices are per person, not per room, so we would have paid much more staying with them than we did staying at Trinity College our first night.
My next and final Ireland entry will be all about Dublin, which is where we spent our last day.