Uncommon Places Introduction

By uncommon I don’t mean crazy rare. You can see “Kelly was here” at most of them.  I don’t mean common like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite but somewhere beyond where most average travelers go.  A good example is Number  One, the Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone is a block of stone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle that is located five miles north of Cork in the south of Ireland. This particular stone was built into the castle he was building, by Cormac Laidir McCarthay in 1446.  According to the most popular legend, he was on his way to resolve his most recent tax dispute when an old lady told him to kiss a stone she designated and he would suddenly have excellent reasoning powers and the elocution skills to express them.  In the court, he was able to do so and he won his case.  He decided that the rock gave him the powers and he ordered it to be built into the parapet at the top of his castle.  The legend became popular that kissing the rock would grant the kisser with what, today is called the “gift of the gab”, or as the Irish say, to be an expert with “the “Blarney”. Continue reading

Uncommon Place Number Two

The Whispering Gallery of St. Pauls Cathedral

St. Pauls Cathedral sits on Ludgate Hill, the highest point of the one square mile that is the true City of London. Dedicated to St. Paul the Apostle, it dates back to a church on that site in A.D. 604.  The current church was built in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren and as it states therein, “If you seek his memorial, look about you.” Continue reading

Uncommon Place Number Three

Rock Gun, Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar, a British Garrison colony, is located on the farthest south-western tip of Spain guarding the Straits of Gibraltar and the gate to the Mediterranean. The Straits or STROG for mariners and the Pillars of Hercules to the ancient Greeks, have always been important in history, separating Muslim Africa from catholic Spain and the other European countries.  Continue reading

Uncommon Places Number Five

Climbing Mount Schiehallion

In January 1945, I became 18 and got my driver’s license. I had been caddying for Dr. Hunt, a well-known lawyer, at the Peterborough-Milton Golf Club since I was 14 and since it was just two miles from my home on my bicycle.  Dr. Hunt was used to having a chauffeur for his Humber Super snipe car and his regular driver, Albert had been drafted into the army and had been killed in a tank fight just as the war was ending.  Continue reading