Lilly had waited in line to kiss the popular and probably germ infected, Blarney Stone. It had been two years since her husband Phillip died and she hoped that taking a trip to Ireland would give her a new perspective on life.
Once she emerged from the narrow staircase to the rooftop of the castle, a cool breeze struck her face. Kissing a stone embedded in the adjacent wall while upside down seemed silly and yet she longed to make her wish. “Don’t worry. I’ve gotcha. Just lean all the way back.” Lilly felt the warmth of the man’s grasp as she brushed her curly brown hair from her eyes.
“Okay. Here goes!” Lilly leaned out over what seemed like a thousand feet. She closed her eyes and kissed the cold moist stone. “It’s time to find a new love.” As she looked up at the black-haired Irishman and saw the clouds behind him rush by, she heard a whisper in the wind.
“You’ll be happy here.”
The strong attendant pulled her back up and she rose to feet, only to feel rather woozy.
Lilly had dinner at the restaurant on the castle grounds while consulting a map. Her next stop would be at a bed and breakfast where she would stay the night.
She drove through the lush green countryside while long shadows began to creep across the winding lane. Soon lights glimmered from quaint cottages separated from the road by ancient looking stone fences. She had to stop twice for herds of sheep that trotted right in front of her. Trees canopied over the road like dark fingers clasping. The moonlight illuminated deteriorating castles as she drove on.
McClarran’s B & B.
Lilly pulled into the circle drive and parked in front of the old stone castle. Dragging her wheeled suitcase behind her, she walked up to the curved knotty pine door. “It is like a fairytale,” she thought as she banged the brass knocker.
She heard footsteps and then the heavy door opened on old hinges. “Welcome! You must be Lilly. I’m Liam. Come in!”
“Thank you.” Lilly entered the hall.
“Let me show you to your room.”
He led her up a staircase. The rungs were carved with ivy leaves. A large black wrought iron chandelier was hung from the ceiling in the center of the foyer. A beautiful painting of the sea hung on the wall on the landing. “Is that the Cliffs of Moor?” Lilly asked.
“Yes. My father painted it years ago.”
“Are you interested in art?”
“Yes, I’m a watercolor artist.”
“Wonderful! There are many gardens here on the grounds. Feel free to explore and paint all you like.” He opened up the bedroom door for her and said, “Oh and I hope you’ll join my brother and me for breakfast in the dining room. If you won’t be needin’ anythin’ else, I’ll see you in the morning then.”
Liam nodded his head, and went back downstairs.
Lilly threw her suitcase on the feather bed and walked over to the paned glass window. She could just make out the contour of a turret in the moonlight.
“What an amazing place.”
Lilly slipped on a cream silk nightgown and climbed into bed. Her dreams soon took her to a sun-drenched garden. She giggled while dancing with someone, but when she looked up at him, he vanished.
A current of frigid air woke her from her dream. She gasped at the apparition who hung suspended overhead. The gentleman with the coattails smiled and then in the same breathy whisper she’d heard earlier said, “You’ll be happy here.” She watched in disbelief as he floated out the window.
Lilly leapt out of bed, swung the door open, and tripped into the arms of a man who had been walking down the hallway. His warm touch sent shock waves through her body.
“I am so sorry!” She gazed into his soulful brown eyes under a mop of curly brown hair.
He released his firm grip and smiled, “Are you alright?”
“I, I must have been dreaming.”
“I’m Liam’s brother Michael, and you must be Lilly. Can I get you anything?”
“No, I’m fine,” said Lilly feeling her cheeks burn. He looked familiar somehow.
“Will I see you at breakfast?”
Lilly reentered her room. It would be hours before she could fall back to sleep.
She awoke to the sun streaking through the window. After checking the time, she bolted out of bed. She tried on several outfits before choosing one and then went downstairs.
Lilly joined a group of tourists in the paneled dining room. Her heart skipped a beat when Michael entered the room carrying a coffee pot. He brought her a cup and when his hand brushed hers, it sent another tremor through her. She listened to the others converse while she finished her breakfast.
“So Lilly, Liam tells me you’re an artist,” Michael said, “Would you care to see the gardens?”
“I’d love to.”
“Great. I’ll give you a tour and then I’ll be making my way to Blarney Castle. I’ve been volunteering there a bit.”
As they rounded the corner of the buffet, a framed picture fell to the floor. Lilly bent over to pick it up and gazed into the eyes of her ghostly visitor. She tried to hide her shock and said, “Who is this?”
“That’s my father. He passed away several years ago. I think you would have liked him.” He put his hand on the small of her back and guided her out into the garden.
What would Saint Patrick’s Day be without some
Bailey’s & Old Greg
Original Recipe Yield 4 cups
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 2/3 cups Irish whiskey
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- In a blender, combine heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, Irish whiskey, instant coffee, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Blend on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Shake well before serving
All Photos by Susie Lindau – 1st two from the top of Blarney Castle
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
Have you ever seen a ghost?