If you find yourself scouring the numerous tour books available, Blarney Castle in County Cork will be listed. I have also noticed that they provide a caveat … it can be very busy, so you might want to avoid. Hmmmm…. So, Blarney Castle was one of those sights that we had put on the back burner. Actually, I was planning on avoiding it. But as we left Cork, we still had plenty of daylight and Blarney was in the ‘neighborhood,’ so we headed northwest.
In all fairness, we did get to the castle grounds fairly late; the crows was pretty thin. After spending a couple of hours there, I look forward to a return sit when I can wander a bit longer. It is definitely a place to visit.
As you enter the grounds, you follow a meandering path towards the castle. The first primary feature is the castle. We played around a bit around the base; I even went into the Badger Caves. The castle is huge!! It delivers on what one would image for a defensive building built in the 1400’s.
What I didn’t expect, was the vast grounds and the amount of ‘other’ attractions available. We wandered through the ‘Rock Close’ which quickly became my favorite. There are some natural rock formations that someone became creative with … such as the ‘Wishing Steps’ and the ‘Witch’s Stone.’ My favorite was the ‘Fairy Glade.’ From the Rock Close, we found the carriage house and stables.
If you are a garden enthusiast, you will love Blarney. Behind the carriage house was another garden. As we made our way back to the castle, we found a rose garden. From there, the Blarney Stone.
So, the Blarney Stone is not a rock sitting out and about. Instead, it was integrated into the structure during a renovation. To get to the stone, you have to climb to the top, lie on your back, and bend backwards to plant your kiss. There are metal bars to prevent you from skipping and falling a few stories to the ground. A person is also on hand to provide a steady hand.
We did not make it to the top and I had already decided to forego the experiencing. (They say it is never cleaned and is quite nasty.) I might be enticed to give it a try if (okay, when) I return to Blarney.
Location via Google Maps: