Blarney Castle is a medieval castle in Blarney in County Cork in the south west of Ireland. The castle was built around 1446 by the MacCarthy clan, Kings of Desmond. If you do visit, make sure you get the chance to see it from as many angles as you can. From some sides it looks warlike, from others magical. As the walls slope inward, it looks even higher than it actually is.
At the top of the castle lies the famous Stone of Eloquence which is also known as the Blarney Stone. Tourists visiting Blarney Castle can hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáila magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.
Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, we are rather more cautious of the safety of our visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.
Blarney Castle Gardens
Be sure to check out the Blarney Castle Gardens where there is a lot more than meets the eye. Take your time to make a journey through diverse surroundings from tranquil to serene, to mystical and magical places. From the top of the Castle you can take in the wonderful views of over 60 acres of sprawling parklands which include gardens, avenues, arboretums and waterways. Find a touch of danger entwined with the beauty, as you look out for one of the few Poison Gardens.
Seasonal Interest at the Blarney Castle Gardens
Carpets of bulbs throughout the grounds create a vibrant spring show. the gardens also boast a fine collection of Azaleas and Rhododendrons which add a wealth of colour.
In summer the herbaceous borders and rose beds provide the visitor with a splendid display of colour and structure.
Autumn is the time for arboretums to shine, with the trees taking over the show. Looking from the top of the castle provides an exceptional view.
Winter is traditionally the quiet time of year, but the winter scenery around the estate, particularly the lake and woodlands provide endless interest.
There is something to see all year round in what is a constantly changing and evolving enviroment. Your visit to the Blarney Gardens need never be the same.
“In this romantic spot nature and art (a combination rather uncommon in pleasure grounds) have gone hand in hand. Advantage has been taken of accidental circumstances to form tasteful and characteristic combinations; and it is really a matter of difficulty at first to determine what is primitive, and what the produce of design. The delusion is even heightened by the present total neglect. You come most unexpectedly into this little shaded nook, and stand upon a natural terrace above the river, which glides as calmly as possible beneath. Here, if you feel inclined for contemplation, a rustic couch of rock, all festooned with moss and ivy, is at your service; but if adventurous feelings urge you to explore farther, a discovery is made of an almost concealed, irregularly excavated passage through the solid rock, which is descended by a rude flight of stone steps, called the "Wishing Steps," and you emerge sul margine d'un rio, over which depend some light and graceful trees. It is indeed a fairy scene, and I know of no place where I could sooner imagine these little elves holding their moon-light revelry. “