The famous Blarney Castle in Ireland was built in 1446. Over the years, it has become a world landmark and one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. Many travelers believe that a trip to the medieval Blarney Castle can’t be missed; it’s on par with the Guinness Brewery and other attractions as an intrinsic symbol of Ireland and Irish heritage. It is located in Blarney Village, about 8 km northwest from Cork City in the southern Ireland.
The Blarney Stone is without a doubt the most famous part of Blarney Castle. Also called the legendary Stone of Eloquence, it is located at the top of the castle’s tower. Legend has it that if you kiss it, you’ll be struck with eternal eloquence and you will never be at a loss for words.
Blarney Castle history is an intriguing one. It was the third structure to be built on this site. The first one was a wooden structure built in the 10th century, and a stone structure replaced it in 1210 A.D. This building was torn down because of foundation problems, and the final, medieval Blarney Castle was built by Dermot McCarthy in 1446. At one time, the castle was occupied by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, who allegedly sent 4,000 Munster men to held Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn. According to legend, Robert the Bruce gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude, which was incorporated into the structure of the castle, becoming the Blarney Stone. The Blarney Castle history includes stories about Cromwell, Queen Elizabeth, and other famous figures, which visitors can read about during their tour of the castle.
Besides the fabulous medieval Blarney Castle in Ireland, visitors can check out the Blarney House. It was built at the beginning of the 18th century by St. James St. John Jefferyes. It is a Georgian gothic house located against the keep of the castle. The Rock Close, a landscape garden, was created at the same time. In 1820, the house was destroyed by fire, but the wings remain. In 1874, the family decided to build the new house in Scottish baronial style, south of the present keep. It has been the family home ever since.
Rock Close is certainly worth a visit, although many people find it rather creepy at night and wait to explore it in the light of day. There are many interesting things to see, including many Druid-related structures. For instances, a sacrificial stone is situated so the first rays of the sun strike it at the appointed time for sacrifice. Other sights to see are the Wishing Steps, the Witches Kitchen, the Head Druid’s Cave, the Witches Stone, the Fairy Glade, and the Druids Circle.
The castle is open daily, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There are separate admission rates for children, students, adults, and families. Oddly enough, wedding parties who want to take wedding photos in the castle are admitted free of charge. There are two souvenir shops, a money charge station, gardens, and refreshments.
The Blarney Castle in Ireland should be at the top of any traveler’s itinerary. With the intriguing, somewhat eerie Rock Close, the beautiful castle, and the entertaining Blarney Castle history, visitors leave feeling like they’ve touched (even kissed) a genuine part of Irish history and tradition.