Kiss the Blarney Stone
The one single compulsory thing, so you might as well get it over and done with.
Blarney Castle, just outside the city limits and set in superb parkland, is easily accessible by private or public transport. Which is more than can be said of the stone which confers loquacity or "the gift of the gab" on all who salute it. To obtain this rare gift (congenitally conferred on all those of Cork blood who are therefore banned under ancient statute from ever kissing the stone in case they get a double helping), it is necessary to hang backwards over a steep drop on the very top of the castle, your legs held firmly by willing attendants. Honestly, you won't stop talking afterwards, if only from relief.
And when the kissing is done and dusted, you can explore the enchanting beauty of Blarney Castle and wander the gardens at your leisure. By day or by night, Blarney Castle is a sight to behold; curling towers, moss-covered steep stone walls, battlements and dark enclosures. Enormous plant life, witches caves and aches of lush green shrubbery. It's no wonder that Blarney is both a local and visitor favourite!
Blarney Castle is open all year round, and has been visited by Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger, Laurel and Hardy and Billy Connolly.
Polish off your visit by shopping in Blarney Woolen Mills, home to a selection of trinkets and gifts.
Blarney Castle History
For those wanting to get clued up before visiting, here is a snapshot history of Blarney Castle and Gardens: -: -
Blarney Castle which stands today is actually the third to have been erected. The first was made of wood in around 1210 AD, the second was stone with an elevated entrance. The third and final was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster in 1446.
Cormac McCarthy occupied the castle for a time and was said to have unleashed forces to join Robert the Bruce for the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. According to legend, this is how the blarney stone came about; it was given to McCarthy in gratitude for his service.
The British Queen Elizabeth I was determined to possess Blarney Castle and sent the Earl of Leicester to discuss terms. McCarthy however was an intelligent sort and not to be thwarted. Upon each visit he would suggest a banquet to delay proceedings. This caused the Queen to demand explanations and subsequently received reports from the Earl with some delay. In her irritation she remarked that the Earl’s reports were all ‘Blarney’; a popular term of phase used today!
Cromwell’s general Lord Broghill planted a gun on Card hill opposite and succeeded in obliterating the tower walls. To his dismay, defenders of the castle had fled via underground caves (Badgers Caves). The three tunnels in the caves were said to lead to Cork, the lake and Kerry respectively.
After an attempt to drain the lake, the estate was forfeited by Donogh McCarthy and sold in 1688 to Sir James St John Jefferyes.
His son, by the same name, sold a ruby encrusted sword and invested the proceedings into the castle grounds. He was also responsible for the building of the gothic style Blarney House and the landscaped gardens referred to as the Rock Close. In 1820, a fire occurred, which burnt down the house. After marrying into the Colthurst family in 1846, a new castle was reconstructed in Scottish baronial style, completed in 1874, and still remains today as the family home.
For more information on Blarney Castle, call: 00353 (0)21 4385252 or visit www.blarneycastle.ie
For more information on Blarney Woolen Mills, call: 00353 (0)21 4516111 or visit www.blarney.ie
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Book your stay at the Maryborough Hotel and Spa with a choice of deluxe, executive and spa guestrooms. Then sit back and plan your perfect holiday visiting Blarney Castle plus a host of other attractions and activities in Cork.