by Nikki Hoffpauir
A morning off meant that it was time for an adventure to Blarney Castle for the intrepid Ireland cast of A Few Good Men.
But first, it was Brianna’s birthday so a tea party had to happen at Tara’s Tea Room, across from the theater. The teacups were so delicate that it was almost comical to see the men drinking out of them.
Following teatime, everyone gathered in front of the theater to walk over to the bus station together. Kevin and Colin, who had been there before, had promised us spectacular grounds and gardens, walking paths, a historic castle with ruins, and a stone to kiss. Lord knows, every actor could use the gift of eloquence and luck.
Unlike years past, we were there in the high tourist season so as we entered the grounds, we were warned that it was a 2 hour queue for the castle and the stone. Colin, Kevin and Jon roamed the grounds, while Maboud, Ian, Thony and I headed up to the castle. Brianna and Josh stopped to check out another part of the castle grounds before getting in line, so they ended up about 30 minutes behind us.
The stairs, once you get into the castle proper, are very narrow and oftentimes very steep, so there were a lot of warnings from the guys to watch my footing, known as I am for being a bit of a klutz. For the record, no missteps were had by me and it was Ian who was hugging the railings and clutching the castle for dear life.
When you get up to the top, the actual blarney stone is one of the stones in the bottom part of one of the walls. To get to it, you have to lay on your back and slide forward, almost in a backbend, with a staff member holding your legs to keep you from falling. There are bars to grab on to to hold yourself and below you to catch you, so you know you’re safe, but it’s still hundreds of feet in the air and is mildly heartstopping to do. You’re aiming for about a foot square area at the bottom of the wall, about 3 feet away and about a foot below the level you’re on.
I must be very shortwaisted because I swear my tush was off the edge in order for me to reach it. Each of us will say our aim was true, so at least 6 of us now have the powers of the blarney flowing from our lips. Just in time for us to go to Mullingar! Too bad we had a show to get back for that night so we didn’t have enough time to roam the grounds and enjoy the landscaping. Maybe next trip…
We finished the evening listening to a local band playing some trad music after the show at the birthday girl’s request. (Well, if you call “Wagon Wheel” played with trad music instruments and tone as trad.) All in all, a pretty perfect day. Happy Birthday, Brianna!