Kiss the Blarney Stone At Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone
There was a castle on the site dating back to 1200 but this was destroyed in 1446, Blarney castle as we know it was built in the mid 1400′s by Cormac Laidair MacCarthy lord of Muskaree. The castle fell under siege in the Irish confederate war. This was a complicated war, simplified it was the native Irish Catholics against English and Scottish protestants. At the same time there was a civil war in England between the parliamentarians and the Royalists. This culminated in the defeat of the Royalists by Cromwell and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. The castle was seized by Cromwellian forces in 1646. The royalists were returned to power in England in 1660 and the Castle was returned to Donough MacCarthy. During the Williamite war in 1690 the 4th Earl was captured and his lands were confiscated. The castle passed through many hands before being bought by the Jefferyes who joined through marriage to the Colthurst Family. The Colthurst Family are resident in Blarney house and owners of Blarney castle.
The Castle is a partial ruin but has some intact rooms and battlements. It is the most famous castle in Ireland for one reason it is home to the famous Blarney stone also called the stone of eloquence. It is said that if you kiss the Blarney stone you get the gift of the Gab, to kiss the Blarney stone you hang upside down from the top of the castle and kiss the stone facing you. The Stone was incorporated into the castle in 1446 and there are different accounts of its origin. Legend has it that Cormac Mac Carthy prayed to the goddess Cliodhna when he had a court case pending and was told to kiss the first stone he came upon. He did so and spoke fantastically winning his case. He then incorporated the stone into the castle and it is said that anybody who kisses the stone can “Deceive without offending” . There are other stories that it was presented to Cormac by Robert the Bruce for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn, it is said that the Blarney stone is part of the Stone Of Scrone. This is a nice story but analysis of the stone says they are not related.
Everyone goes to Blarney castle to explore the ruins and to Kiss the stone, very few go for the gardens but this ends up being the highlight for most visitors. There are a number of Gardens on the grounds including the poison garden bog garden and Irish garden. The poison garden is relatively new and contains poisonous plants from all around the world. The more poisonous plants are kept under cages and the public are warned not to touch taste or smell these plants. Many of these plants were used historically as remedies not necessarily the best idea! The Bog garden might not sound so appealing but it has two waterfalls and a huge variety of interesting bog plants. It is home to the oldest trees in Blarney castle, two 600 year old Yew trees sit together on an secluded Island. You explore this garden on a raised wooden walkway. The Irish garden is home to native Irish plants and aims to educate visitors on our native wildlife. There are fantastic woodland walks and the grounds contain a fantastic array of trees. It is one of the finest selections in the country and has many rare and unusual trees. Many of these were planted in the 1960s and 1970s, many of the native trees are much older some of them dating back 600 years.
Blarney castle is situated in Blarney village 8km northwest of Cork. Its opening hours are 9-5 off season and 9-6.30 in the high season. Entrance fee is adult €13, senior / student €11, Children €5.
Day tour from Dublin to Blarney castle and Cork leaves Dublin Daily at 6.50 (includes all entrance fees) adult€55, Student /oap €50, Child €22.50