Something most people have heard of, and maybe even have on your bucket-list (if not you should add it now). With a beautiful castle and amazing castle grounds and gardens, we easily could have spent the whole day here at the Blarney Castle and Gardens, unfortunately we stopped here on our drive from Dublin to Killarney and only had half a day.
We began by arriving on the grounds, and we noticed that there was quite a bit of construction going on – at the castle and on the grounds, but it was still quite spectacular. After purchasing our tickets we walked a little ways to the castle, stopping to admire the river from the bridges along the way, and stopping at the cave before continuing on to the castle.
Climbing up the steps inside the castle proved a little difficult, and the stairwell was VERY tight. After every few steps there would be a new room, such as the Young Ladies Room & Priest Room, allowing us to get out of the stairwell and stretch our backs before continuing. We would recommend stopping at each level and reading the short introduction to each room, they held a lot of the castle’s history.
After we finally arrived at the top we were relieved to see there was no line to kiss the famous stone! Originally a block of limestone that was built into an outer wall of the 1446 Blarney Castle, when bending down over the edge you can tell where the stone begins due to the different coloring from the wall. There are many legends as to what the stone was before the castle was built, including stories of it being the Stone of Scone, Jacob’s Pillow and Stone of Destiny. Legend says that by kissing it, you will gain the gift of eloquence or gab.
As we made our way across the tower, nerves started kicking in a little. You see, in order to kiss the stone you have to bend over the open wall while grabbing the metal rails across the opening, all while someone holds your legs down so you don’t slip…luckily due to the construction on the castle the opening had been closed up, so we couldn’t see the grounds below us. Still, dangling backwards over the edge was a little scary.
Not wanting to make our way down quite yet, we spent some time admiring the views from the top of the castle – you could see the entire castle grounds and even the town of Blarney in the distance.
Eventually we made it back to our starting point, after exploring the remainder of the castle, and decided to spend some time exploring the castle grounds. Because we visited in early March, there weren’t any blooming flowers but the Poison Garden was very interesting. (Apparently there is a plant there from Harry Potter? However we aren’t the biggest fans and weren’t sure which one it was…)
We also spent time walking through a few other of the gardens, including “The Jungle,” and over to the Blarney House. Built much later in 1874, the mansion overlooks Blarney Lake. Being closed at the time we visited, we weren’t able to go in and look around, and honestly the mansion was so tall and big it was a little intimidating.
Making our way back to the entrance, we stopped quickly at Coach House Cafe, where we had a quick snack before heading on our way to Cork!
~Tyler & Deborah