Blarney, County Cork, Ireland
Situated 5 miles from Cork, Blarney Castle is set in traditional parkland near the River Martin.
Today’s castle is the third on the site. It is made up of the derelict grey stone castle rebuilt in Scottish baronial style in 1874, Blarney House a gothic Georgian property overlooking the lake and Rock Close the landscaped gardens which include grottos and woodland. There are paths around the grounds and attractions include some natural rock formations known as Druid's Circle, Wishing Steps and Witch's Cave. Blarney House on the grounds is also open to the public - a Scottish baronial mansion built in 1874.
The castle ruins range from small outbuildings to the enormous parapet which is 25M (82ft) high.
The main attraction for most visitors is to kiss the Blarney Stone. This involves climbing to the top of the tower, lying on your back, reaching under the battlements and kissing the stone above your head.
The castle is open all year round from 09:00 until sunset, during the summer there are conducted tours of the house. There is a restaurant and gift shop.
The first stone castle on the site was built in 1210. In the 15th century a new castle was built on it’s foundations by Cormac MacCarthy, one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains.
Many tried to take the castle including Queen Elizabeth I but it was eventually invested by a general of Cromwell. When his men arrived however the garrison had already fled via underground caves and tunnels. In 1688 the castle was sold to Sir James St. John Jeffreys and at the beginning of the 18th century he built a house against the keep and landscaped the gardens.
In 1820 the house was destroyed by fire and in 1874 a new Scottish style castle was built south of the keep.
The Blarney Stone was said to have been a gift to the MacCarthy family after sending 5,000 soldiers to help Robert the Bruce or it was the stone that gushed water after striking Moses. Its name was said to come from Queen Elizabeth I who commanded the Earl of Leicester to report on the progress of taking the castle. She was so irritated by his ‘stories’ that she was reported as saying “this is all Blarney, he never means what he says and he never does what he promises”. The word Blarney means ‘the gift of the gab’.
Other Castles in the Area
Ballea Castle, County Cork
Ballyclogh Castle, County Cork
Ballyhooly Castle, County Cork
Carrigadrohid Castle, County Cork
Carrignamuck Castle, County Cork
Castle Barrett, County Cork
Castle Lyons, County Cork
Charles Fort, County Cork
Desmond Castle, County Cork
Dromaneen Castle, County Cork
Elizabeth Fort, County Cork
Kanturk Castle, County Cork
Kilcrea Castle, County Cork
Kilgobbin Castle, County Cork
Lohort Castle, County Cork
Mallow Castle, County Cork
Mountlong Castle, County Cork
Ringrone Castle, County Cork