Blarney Castle is situated on the edge of a cliff in, you guessed it, Blarney, near Cork, Ireland and it has been since 1446. It is most associated with its legendary Stone of Elegance – you may know it as the Blarney Stone – but the area offers so much more. The castle, now a partial ruin, is surrounded by a series of extensive gardens and the view from the top offers some of the most magical views in Ireland.
Today Blarney Castle is a medieval ruin steeped in history and fairy tale wonder. Though the castle you see now has existed since the mid-15th century, this is in fact the third castle constructed on this site. The first, a wooden structure, was erected in the 10th century and replaced by a stone fortification around the year 1210. In 1446, King Dermot McCarthy replaced the stone structure with the magnificent castle you see today. Ownership of the castle has changed hands many times over the centuries and it has welcomed visitors from all over the world since the late 1800s.
The Blarney Stone
The Blarney Stone is the main tourist draw for Blarney Castle. Formally known as the Stone of Eloquence, legend states hanging upside down and kissing the stone will bless you with the gift of eloquence, being never at a loss for words. Time has blurred the Stone’s origin but make no mistake, it is more popular than ever drawing over 300,000 visitors to the castle each year.
Fairy Tale Wonder
The grounds of Blarney Castle offer a full day’s worth of discovery, none lacking in legend and enchantment. Start by taking a walk through the many castle gardens to experience waterfalls, lakes and bogs, 600-year-old trees, native Irish flora and fauna, and the Poison Garden bursting with dangerous, toxic plants and ominous warning signs.
Venture into the mystical Rock Close to discover an ancient Druidic settlement of natural rock formations rich in legend. Among these are the sacrificial altar of the ancient Druids, a hermit’s cave, the Witch’s Kitchen, and the Wishing Steps. In the Witch’s Kitchen you will find a rock shaped uniquely like a witch guarding an ancient cave and fireplace. Legend maintains that the witch of Blarney has been trapped here since the dawn of time yet is nocturnally free to light fires in her cave for warmth.
Because she steals firewood from the Estate, she repays visitors by granting their wishes on the Wishing Steps. Walk backwards down these steps and back up with your eyes closed while thinking of a wish and it will be granted… so they say.
Jumping back into present day, make sure to stop by the Blarney House, a Scottish Baronial mansion overlooking Blarney Lake. The House, dating back to 1874, is surrounded by rare trees, formal gardens, and is open to the public.
Why Blarney Castle?
Deep woods, magical views, enchanting legends and popular traditions run wild at Blarney Castle. While it may be the Blarney Stone that lures you here, let it be the fairy tale charm and serenity that captivates you.