Blarney castle and the stone of eloquence located in the same place are popular tourist destinations in Cork, Ireland. This is an ultimate travel guide to the Blarney Castle. Just go there, kiss the stone, and flirt with eternity, not fall for it!
Have you ever met an Irishman that hasn’t enchanted you with his sweet words? The answer is most possibly no! The Irish are known to be eloquent owing to the gift of gab which means great eloquence or you can say-the skill of flattery. According to the legend, one can acquire such skills by kissing the famous Blarney Stone, a part of the spectacular Blarney Castle located in Cork, the southernmost and also the second-largest city of Ireland. So, if you are visiting Ireland, do not miss out on this chance to visit Blarney- whether kissing the blarney stone really works may be up for debate, you will definitely not regret visiting this world landmark.
About the Blarney Castle
The castle was initially a stone fortification that was destroyed in 1446 and rebuilt by Cormac Láidir MacCarthy. It saw the change of many owners over time and underwent a lot of damages, building, and rebuilding. What is still standing there is a partial ruin of the castle with some accessible rooms and battlements, and gardens surrounding it.
There are a few stories known to people behind the origin of the stone. According to a legend (source-Wikipedia), “Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, being involved in a lawsuit in the 15th century, appealed to the goddess Clíodhna for her assistance. She told McCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won. Thus the Blarney Stone is said to impart “the ability to deceive without offending”.”
Queuing up for kissing the Blarney Stone
Thousands of people visit the Blarney castle every day to kiss the Blarney Stone, making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country. The stone is located at the top of the castle which is approximately 27m tall.
The stone is set in the wall and one has to lean backward Although it seems (and feels) daunting, it is quite safe to do so. There are iron bars to protect from the fall and there is always some security personnel to hold the person while one is kissing the stone.
Once you have been kissed by the eloquence Blarney stone, you might want to take some time to admire the view from the top.
Walk around the Blarney Castle
Once you have visited the castle, dungeons, and battlements, you should definitely take a walk around the diverse and rich gardens that surround the castle. You will see an interesting change of landscapes as you wander around the extensive site. Take your time to enjoy them as they are bound to take you to a mystical place whether you are lost in the Bog Garden that just looks like someplace out of a fantasy book, or gets bemused by the 600-year-old tree known as the Witch’s Yew tree, admiring the wildlife while taking a walk, then stop for a rest in the fern garden or taking some shots in the herbaceous border for that Instagram feed!
The garden is divided into a few major parts i.e the poison garden, the fern garden, the forest with pines and arboretums, the seven sisters, Himalayan walk, the woodlands, rock close, the river, and the lake. There are four trails that cover the entire site and each trail will take you to different parts of the gardens.
Exploring the trails of Blarney Castle
Woodland & Lake Walk in Blarney Castle
The longest trail is the Woodland Walk where you can get lost easily in the wilderness. It takes about an hour and a half to complete the circuit.
One of the first stops is the poison garden-a collection of poisonous plants from all over the world; some of the plants are so toxic that they are kept in cages!
As you walk further, you will pass by the Blarney house and the old limekiln until you reach the exotic part of the garden called “Himalayan Walk” which was inspired by the jungles in India and Vietnam. Now, there will come a point where you can get on the trail that goes around the lake or stay on the woodland trail that will cover all the wild parts of the garden leading you back to the castle. If you stay on the woodland trail, as you keep wandering, you will find yourself surrounded by nearly 80 varieties of the magnificent ferns- standing tall and serene. There are benches for you to rest- you can sit there enjoying the tranquility where you won’t hear anything else but the waterfall flowing nearby.
Even if you complete the woodland trail, do not forget to take a walk around the lake! The reflection of the sky in the lake on a sunny day makes the water so blue it is bound to take your breath away.
On the way back to the castle, make sure to take some photos at the herbaceous borders which shows an impressive display of perennial plants and pergolas running a length of nearly 90m, bursting with colors throughout the spring and all summer long- a treat to the eyes and also for your Instagram feed if you are interested!
River trail in Blarney Castle
The river trail is a short trail that is very similar to the woodlands trail but runs along the riverside. The trail is beautiful and a good place to watch the wildlife.
Forest trail Blarney Castle
The last trail is the Forest trail which is quite different from the other trails. A big part forming this trail is the rock close- a garden which was landscaped carefully to take you back to a mystical place. It was designed with a collection of boulders and rocks with many interesting features that remain from the eighteenth century. You can take your steps up and down backwards with your eyes closed at the wishing steps to make your wishes come true! Or you can stand on the sacrificial altar trying to imagine what happened there hundreds of years ago.
And the trees in Blarney Castle
Here you will find some of the oldest trees in Ireland. Some have trunks so thick that you can not even wrap around them no matter how hard you try!
Bog garden in Blarney Castle
In the lower Rock Close, you will see the Bog garden which looks like a place just out of prehistoric landscapes. So primitive yet so magical! Two waterfalls, many different varieties of bog plants and a raised wooden boardwalk that passes through the water garden from the bog garden. At the end of the boardwalk, you will find a willow tunnel which really adds to the mystic nature of the place.
Seven Sisters in Blarney Castle
Finally, you can finish the tour by paying a visit to the seven sisters- a stone circle comprising seven stones which according to the legend (source- Blarney Castle official website), tells the story of a famous king who had seven daughters and two sons. He won a battle but at the cost of the lives of his sons and in desperation, he instructed his men to knock down two stones among nine forming an ancient druid stone circle that had been standing there for millions of years. The stone circle is still there, with the seven stones standing with two fallen stones, commemorating the lost sons. There is currently a garden surrounding the stone circle which looks almost surreal in the soft light of the late afternoon.
How to go to Blarney Castle?
The 600 year old Blarney castle is located only 10 km away from the Cork city centre and easily accessible. You can reach there in several ways.
- Public Transport
Take the 215 bus from the Drawbridge Street (or a few other points in the centre depending on where you are staying) that will drop you off just outside the gate of the Blarney Castle.
- Bike Riding
You can also rent a bike from the city centre (Coca-Cola Zero Bikes are available throughout the city for rent) and cycle all the way there.
Blarney Castle Location Map
You will find an interactive map of Blarney castle from here.
Blarney Castle Facts
The nearest airport is Cork Airport (ORK). It’s 16 Kilometers and a 30 minutes drive.
Yes, they accept Visa and MasterCard.
Sorry, the dogs are not allowed inside. Once can only take guide dogs and service dogs.
No, you can show it on your phone, they will allow you in.
To house rich families.
Adult – Euro 16, Students and seniors – Euro 13, Children (8 to 16 years) – Euro 7, Children under 8 – Free, A family of 2 adults and 2 children – Euro 40, Audio Guide – Euro 6.
Hotels in Cork
You can chose to stay in one of the following hotels in Cork.
Do you want to explore more of Europe?
Visit the wonderful city of Barcelona.