Blarney Castle and Gardens – Ireland

Blarney Castle is situated about a 20 minute drive from Cork in Ireland. It’s the famous castle where you can kiss the Blarney Stone and be bestowed with the gift of the gab! Besides for the Blarney Stone being it’s famous attraction, it is a beautiful castle to visit with peaceful grounds.

History of blarney castle

The Blarney Castle you can visit today was the 3rd structure which was built on this site:

  • First structure was built around the 10th century as a wooden building
  • The second structure was built out of stone around 1210AD but demolished
  • The third, which stands today, was built in 1446 by the King Of Munster, Dermot McCarthy

Kissing the blarney Stone

Personally, I found kissing a rock a bit of a strange thing to do, but gave it a go! You need to lie on your back, grab the bars behind you and wiggle till your head is close enough to kiss the rock! It felt a bit scary to be dangling upside down (especially when you look down!) but there is someone holding you and bars below you so it’s safe enough.

If I thought this was a scary challenge, it was nothing compared to what visitors had to do way back to kiss the stone: visitors were held by the ankles and lowered over to kiss the stone. Now, that sounds scary. Millions of pilgrims would have accepted this challenge for the famed gift of eloquence, particularly world statesmen, literary writers, and actors.

To be honest, I think anything can be true if you believe it, so if you seek the gift of the gab, give this a go.

Exploring the castle

The walk through the castle to the top of the battlements is worth a note. I found that the staircase going up was much more narrow than I had anticipated! Those with claustrophobia might have a bit of difficulty going up, with lots of people in front and behind you (depending on what time of day you go) with the stair case only allowing people to climb single file.

As you climb up the castle, there are various rooms throughout which have information boards you can learn more about:

  • The kitchen – Which was built next to the Banqueting Hall, complete with a big fireplace for cooking
  • Murder hole – An actual hole over the lobby which unwanted guests could be attacked with boiling oil (thanks to the handy position to the kitchen), lobbed with stones or in general just made miserable
  • Basement – In which cattle and wine used to be stored
  • The great hall – Complete with vaulted ceilings
  • Family room – Now just a drafty room with high ceilings

The view from the top of the castle is gorgeous. You can see so far out, the climb up the stairs is well worth it.

A trot around the estate

Besides the castle being a great attraction, the castle is set in some beautiful grounds where you can take numerous paths for a walk, through manicured gardens, along the river and past some very tall trees.

Shop and cafe available

At the end of your exciting tour, there is a shop available where you can purchase souvenirs. The Café serves some nice foods, snacks and drinks for you to enjoy before moving on to the next adventure.


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