Blarney Castle is a medieval structure which stands in extensive gardens. Visiting the castle, you can see the Blarney Stone, as well as the ruins of what used to be.
The castle is near Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. It originally dates from before 1200, but the one we see today dates from around the late 1400s. The castle changed hands many times, resulting in subsequent changes to its battlements and stone fortress.
A royal building, the castle saw many battles and sieges. Inside is the murder hole, where people attempting to capture the castle would be covered in hot water.
To enter the castle, you must walk the extensive grounds. There is plenty to see before arriving at the castle. Inside that garden is the display of seven stones, known as The Seven Sisters. When the famous King of Munster went to battle with his two sons, he left his seven daughters behind. His sons never returned. The king came back and pushed over two of the stones, leaving seven still standing. They still stand today. A sort of eternal memory of the daughters that never died in battle.
Take a walk off the beaten track, and you can find yourself in secluded woods, with only the swans for company. These woods are home to the elusive red squirrels. If you see one of these, feel lucky!
The castle regularly looks higher than it is, depending on what angle you see it from. Walking around the castle, you can see its war beaten exterior, as well as its quaint charm.
Also on the grounds of Blarney Castle is Blarney House. When the Jefferyes family bought the castle in the 1700s, they built a mansion on site. The original burnt down, so they rebuilt, overlooking the nearby lake. The family line of the Jefferyes family still live inside the house today. It sometimes opens to the public. A foreboding yet impressive home, it’s certainly worth a stroll through the gardens.
Finally, after a steep climb, it’s time to kiss the stone of Eloquence, otherwise known as the Blarney Stone.
Legend says that kissing the stone will give you the ability to talk the ‘gift of the gab’, or otherwise known as the ability to always know what to say. You’ll never be at a loss for words after kissing the stone.
It can be daunting to hang over the edge of the top of the castle, to reach the stone halfway down the wall. There is a metal grate underneath you, so there isn’t a sheer drop. Besides, you are being held and supported by someone the whole time.
Hygiene wise, there are plenty of people that kiss the stone daily. If you can look past that, it’s a thrilling experience that you have to do. A visit to Blarney Castle isn’t complete without a kiss to the stone.