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The first crocus and tulip bulbs are poking their heads out of the still-cold ground.  Lawn mowers are inside the shed, but we look at the sky and think about picnics and the lengthening of days.  The slightest hint of warm breeze is cause for excitement.  Spring is coming.  Not the season of spring that’s marked on our calendars, but the real season that brings celebrations and bursting-fresh leaves on trees and vines.

Visiting Ireland?  You’ll probably want to visit the Blarney Stone, but don’t leave too quickly… If you’ve kissed the Stone and you’re rushing off to your next destination, here is an alternative:  Walk the grounds of this magical place where it is said that, long ago, ancient kings were crowned and blessed by the kisses of faeries.

There are 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 yourself a small, quiet place and let your imagination wander back to the Ireland of old.  Feel what it would be like to explore those limestone caves slithering beneath you.

Magnificent Blarney 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.  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. But they often miss the gardens.  Allow yourself time here.

And, after you come out from under the spell of the gardens, make a slow journey 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 Gardens may intrigue you—it may even transport you to an era when chieftains ruled our Emerald Isle.  You’ll likely leave with a renewed sense of the magic of spring and all new beginnings.

Here 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.  They walked the castle’s exquisite gardens, lingering in the luxury and lure of a place lost in time.

How to get there:
Blarney Castle and its gardens are 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

Authentic Ireland
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