This magnificent castle was built in 1200 A.D. near the present town of Blarney. Positioned near the River Martin, it was a medieval stronghold. When the castle was destroyed in 1446, the present castle was built on the same site by one of Ireland’s great chieftains, Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster and Lord of Blarney.
It is built on solid limestone, but beneath the castle and rocks, slick caves wind through the layers of stone. Part of McCarthy’s castle is in ruins, but some rooms and battlements are still intact. Built into one of the walls on the third story is the Stone of Eloquence—the Blarney Stone. Over the years thousands of visitors have flocked to Blarney, making it one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.
If you stand in line to kiss the Stone, finish up, and you’re ready to rush off to your next destination, consider this alternative: Walk the grounds of this magical place where it is said that, long ago, ancient kings were crowned and then blessed by the kisses of faeries.
You’ll find plenty of well-marked garden paths that lead to natural and eerie rock formations. Which will you choose? Will you wander to a Druid’s Circle or to the Witch’s Cave and the Wishing Steps? Find a small, quiet place and let your imagination wander back to the Ireland of old. Feel what it would be like to explore those caves beneath you.
After the spell of the gardens, make a slow journey back to the present by stopping in at the Blarney House. This is a baronial-style mansion built in 1874, and it is open to the public.
A trip to Blarney Castle and its history may intrigue you—it may even transport you to a time when chieftains ruled the Emerald Isle. Either way, you’ll surely understand why the McCarthy’s chose this spot to build their castle.
At Authentic Ireland, many of our travelers return home telling us they visited Blarney to kiss the Stone but stayed longer than they’d planned, walking the castle’s exquisite gardens, lingering in the luxury and lure of a place lost in time.
“I’ve heard some people don’t like the Irish—imagine! We’re very popular among ourselves.”
Brendan Behan (1923—1964)
Certainly Brendan Behan was kissed by eloquence!
How to get there:
Blarney Castle is situated in Blarney Village 8 km, about 5 miles, northwest from Cork city in the South of Ireland.
Directions from Cork Airport:
• From Airport follow signs for City Centre
• From City Centre follow signs for Limerick (N20)
• Drive 7 km; exit left (signposted Blarney)
• Arrive at Blarney