Anyone that knows me at all, knows that I am deathly afraid of heights. I get dizzy and scared just standing on a chair sometimes. I don’t know where this fear came from, because as a kid, I really didn’t have a problem. It makes me sad sometimes, because the best views and experiences are quite high in the air. I haven’t let it get the best of me, and still force myself to make that trip up, if the view is worth it. This summer, I visited Blarney Castle in Ireland.
Now, the castle is not one to just look at, as most visitors are there to do one thing…kiss the Blarney Stone. Legend states that if you kiss the stone you will be granted the “gift of gab,” or, a great speaking ability. It’s one of those experiences you just can’t miss out on if you’re physically able. Why physically able, you may ask? Well, the stone is on the exterior wall at the very top of the castle. You actually have to lay down, on your back, and lean back over the side of the castle to kiss it. A man is helping guide you back and into place the whole time. You may be thinking, “I’m out!” I was too. I had forgotten the procedure you had to perform to kiss the stone as I entered the castle walls. The moment I walked inside, a line was formed. It was the line to get to the Blarney Stone. I stood in it, just as we all do, when a line of people are waiting for something. It wasn’t so bad, at first. Just standing in a large room, and then moving to a larger staircase, where people were standing. Those staircases weren’t any big deal at all. I just continued to wait. As we moved into the upper level of the castle, however, we started climbing up a tiny, circular staircase up, up, up and up!!! I was starting to get nervous, and the dizziness began, but…it was too late to exit. I had missed the last available way back down. I had no choice but to get to the top. Fortunate for me, I had a very nice man in line ahead of me, that continuously talked to me, and reassured me that it was getting “a little bigger up here,” and saying, “isn’t this place amazing?” After climbing, standing, and climbing some more up those teeny-tiny steps, that were spiraling up and up and up…you had to crawl out on your hands and knees to the top of the castle. Well, I had to crawl. Everyone else just stepped. I, however, was about to pass out. So, I slowly crawled so that I could stand at the top…and not look down. I slowly made my way along the top of the castle to the Stone. There was still a line to wait in, and I would quickly look out over the scenic views, but not really enjoying them.
I finally made my way to the moment we were all waiting in line for. At that point, wanderlust took over, and I decided, I’m already up here, I didn’t stand in a line for nothing, and I’m going to do this! I figured I had made it that far, up those tiny, little, circular steps…I could kiss this stone! I sat down, leaned back, and screamed! The man grabbed hold of me and lowered me to the stone. He didn’t have to do that for the others I watched before me. The others just sat down, lay back, grabbed the bars and lowered themselves. I could not do that. I squealed that I was scared. So, he grabbed me and lowered me down. He told me when to kiss it, I kissed it, and the rest is history! I’m so thankful for the kindness of strangers. The man on the stone stairway, and the sweet, little man at the Blarney Stone both made my dream come true.
It may not seem like much to some thrill-seekers, but the adrenaline was pumping through my veins that day, and I loved every minute of it! I’m now waiting for my gift of gab.