So, yeah, I admit it. I made out with a rock, while on my back, and in the arms of another man -- nearly 90 feet above the ground.
My head turned upside down, and my hands were grasping onto a pair of solid, black, metal bars.
It's hard to brag about kissing a rock, but in this case, it is totally different.
This was the Blarney Stone. The legendary Blarney Stone -- in Ireland, of course -- which legend says will bestow the gift of gab upon anyone who kisses it while being held upside down. There are not-quite-scandalous photographs to prove that I kissed it, but I swear there was nothing lascivious going on.
And by the way: In case you were wondering how I had it in me to spend 15 consecutive weeks writing about a two-week European vacation (with at least two or three more weeks more to go before a really big reveal that only my Facebook friends will see coming), this is what you have to blame -- kissing the Blarney Stone. Well, that and the fact that I did a whole lot in a two-week span.
But, I wasn't the only one who did it (kiss the rock.). There was a line of people waiting to do the same thing. And, to be perfectly honest with you, you can't really get any sort of thrill out of it. The Blarney Stone is slimy, and the people who work there do not wipe it down after each kiss.
And, quite honestly, the stone doesn't try to make the experience an enjoyable one for you. It doesn't kiss back. It doesn't make a promise to call you the next day. It doesn't even offer to take you out to dinner afterwards.
Now, the Blarney Stone is pretty famous. In fact, when I was a kid, it was even more famous among myself and my fellow children than even "Fraggle Rock."
The legend of the Blarney Stone's purported power goes back more than 200 years, according to Blarney Castle's web site. The web site states that there are all kinds of legends about where the stone came from, ranging from it being a rock that David (of the Bible fame) hid behind to evade Saul, to being the rock that gushed water when struck by Moses, to being part of Scotland's Stone of Scone.
I know where I think it came from, but I'm not going to be all gabbing to everyone, for fear that I'll lose my gift of gab for doing so.
There is a lot of history at Blarney Castle. It is, in fact, the third castle to be located on that site, and was once home to the king of Munster. Then it became the home of a bunch of lapdogs for the English crown.
When you are walking across the grounds of the Blarney Estate, toward the castle, though, it can be a bit intimidating. For the most part, the castle is a large stone tower on a high hill. It looms over you once you get close to it.
Because of the height of the tower, and the fact that the stone is at the top of it, you have to hold onto handle bars, and someone has to hold you during the kiss, just to prevent you from falling to your death.
The presently standing castle is nearly 600 years old, although it's mostly ruins at this point. Once you get to the top of the castle tower, you can look straight down, through each level of the castle, to the ground floor. It is not really much to behold, and the real reasons to go to the top are to kiss the Blarney Stone, and to check out the view.
From the castle's top, you can see all of the surrounding countryside, toward the City of Cork in the distance.
For all the kidding that can be made about kissing a rock, upside down, in the arms of another man, at the top of the castle, the experience is well worth the trip.
As the T-shirts sold in the gift shop state -- "You never forget your first kiss."
Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.