A trip to Cork would not be complete without a visit to Blarney Castle. Built nearly 600 years ago, this medieval stronghold resides just outside of Cork, in the small village of Blarney. Millions have visited the castle making it one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. The main attraction of the castle being the Blarney stone.
What Makes the Blarney Stone Special?
The legendary stone of Eloquence, more commonly known as the Blarney Stone, is a block of Carboniferous limestone approximately 8 kilometres in size that is built into the castle. Legend says that kissing the stone will give you the ‘gift of the gab’.
There have been many stories which explain the origin of this legendary stone over the years. My favourite is that the builder of the castle, Cormac Laidir McCathy who was involved in a lawsuit, appealed to the goddess Clíodhna to help him. She told him to kiss the first stone he found the next morning on his way to the court and he did just that. After kissing the stone he went on to to win his case after pleading with great eloquence. McCarthy was so happy with his win he incorporated the stone into the castle.
Kissing the Blarney Stone
To get close enough to the stone to be able to kiss is not as easy as you may think it is. I guess to get the gift of the gab you have to earn it!
When you reach the stone there is an assistant there to help you lie down on your back and lean over the edge. I’ve never had to work so hard for a first kiss! Thankfully they have guard rails to help you ease yourself down. I can’t imagine what it was like trying to kiss the stone before these were installed!
Exploring Blarney Castle
While most visitors may come for the stone, the castle itself has a lot to offer. Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens that you can walk around. Also, don’t forget to go check out the Witch’s Cave and poison garden while you’re there.
Tips for Your Visit
- The top of the castle is open so be prepared to get wet if it’s raining
- The only stairs to the top are old castle stairs so be careful
- The Blarney Stone is popular so you may have to queue to kiss it
- If you do decided to kiss the stone try not to think about how many people have been there before you!
- Do take advantage of the professional photos they offer (see above for mine)
- The whole castle is beautiful so give yourself enough time to truly appreciate it
Would you kiss the Blarney Stone? Maybe you have already? Let us know! Comment below… Also stay tuned for more Ireland posts as later this year we will be taking a 3 week road trip around this beautiful country
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