Blarney Castle: there’s a lot more to it than just the Blarney Stone. If you haven’t heard about the stone (unlike the millions of people who have made the pilgrimage here over the years), it has many myths and legends surrounding it. The main one that everyone has agreed upon is that once a person kisses the stone, they gain the gift of gab. That’s why the stone is also called the Stone of Eloquence. But more on that, later.
The walk up to the castle offers an excellent photo op. Upon first glance, you would never know how much there is to the grounds. Visitors be warned – it takes time to see everything. Blarney Castle and grounds are certainly worth your time to explore.
Inside Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle is what is known traditionally as a tower house, and only features minimal remains of “the Court”, an 18th century gothic mansion that only lasted 100 years before it was burnt to the ground. All this just adds to the lore and mystery of the castle. Could it have been an accident? Or was it on purpose? We’ll never know. Rumour has it though, that the Jefferey family who built it didn’t want their son to inherit the beautiful mansion. I think the real mystery is why.
The Jefferey’s had built the addition because the original 15th century castle was a bit drafty, to say the least.
From down below, you can look up at everyone gaining eloquence. This process is a lot safer now, with all the added bars and everything. Today, if you’d like to kiss the Blarney Stone, all you must do is lay down on a towel, lean back, and give the stone a peck – all thanks to the cutaway in the floor. In times of old, you’d be dangled over the railing by your ankles.
If you’re like me and wore a dress, are a bit of a germaphobe, or just don’t believe in such things, the top of the castle offers quite the view.
Whether the view is of the surrounding gardens or inside the castle below, it’s certainly worth your while.
You can also be sure to spot the current residence of the family who owns Blarney Castle estate. Definitely a little more cozy.
Be sure to explore the dungeons underneath the house, but wear good footwear and mind your head!
Exploring Blarney Castle Grounds
Many people who visit see the castle and skip the rest – and they’re missing out.
The Stable Yard offers a café and some unique traditional pieces, like this wagon.
Beyond, you’ll find over 60 acres of gardens and forests to explore. One of the highlights: a poison garden. Some plants are even kept in cages for safety. A warning reads: “Do Not Touch, Smell, or Eat Any Plant!” And they mean business.
Other dangers in the garden are a bit more of the mystical kind. Try and find the Witch Stone, or better yet, her kitchen. It is said that if you visit early enough in the day, that you can see the embers of her nightly fire dying.
Another magical feature of the garden is the Wishing Steps.
Inside the Rock Close garden, there is this cave, with steps leading to a little pond at the bottom. It is said that if you walk down backwards, with your eyes closed, only thinking of your wish, then it will come true within the year. Proceed at your own risk though, because these steps are quite slippery and narrow.
Apparently, at the far corner of the estate, there is a lake where the McCarthy family’s most precious jewels were thrown to the depths. The current owners’ ancestor’s attempted to drain the lake in search, but the reports are murky as to their success.
Whether you’re looking to gain the gift of gab, for a witch to grant you a wish, find treasure at the bottom of a lake, or to enjoy the natural beauty of a well looked after Irish garden, Blarney Castle is the spot for you. It really has it all, and it is just so enchanting.
If you’d like to read more about the castle and gardens, check out their website here. You can also book tickets and plan your adventure!
If you’d like to read more about my Ireland escapades, click here.