If you’ve heard of Ireland you’ve likely heard of Blarney Castle and the famed Blarney stone. The legend has it that if you kiss the stone you will be blessed with the gift of eloquence. I wanted to stop since we would be in the area but we didn’t have much time. Unfortunately it was somewhat overcast and rainy when we went. Bernadette told wasn’t surprised we were going and told us the grounds are beautiful. She’s right about that. You have to time your visit right and fortunately we did. Apparently it can get quite busy so it’s best to go earlier in the morning. We ended up there in the late afternoon and most of the crowd was gone but it was very late in the day. We didn’t realize there was a house there as well and we weren’t able to do the tour of the house since it was after 2pm. Blarney Castle is privately owned so your OPW pass won’t work there. The castle is well worth the price of admission in my opinion. The village around it is also very cute. Cory had a forgot where he was moment in the village and ended up driving on the right side of the road. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one Irish guy that wasn’t happy with us about that. All of us were looking out so we got it sorted out quickly.
We headed through the park and over to the castle. There is a tree lined walk with knitting around the tree trunks. I’m sure there was some sort of significance but we couldn’t figure out what it was. There were gardens at the approach which was beautiful. There was also a poison garden that we checked out when we were done with the castle. The castle is a fairly intact ruin but a ruin nonetheless. It’s a tower house with a round house next to it. I’ve gone through a number of tower house castles both ruins and restored and this is the first time I thought I was going to fall and hurt myself. That was likely due to the light rain and the fact the stairs are fairly worn. They are also about the smallest steps ever. I wear a size 7 and my feet barely fit. The stair design is deliberate and designed to give castle defenders the advantage when using their swords.
The Blarney Stone is actually at the top of the castle leaning into a machicolation which is an opening between the supporting corbels of a projecting parapet or the vault of a gate, through which stones or burning objects could be dropped on attackers. There are iron bars to help prevent you falling through and keeping you on the parapet but it’s still hairy. There are a couple of very nice gentlemen at the top that help you get into the proper position and then lower you down. Yep you read that right. You lay on your back and they lower you down into position.
It’s safe but if you have an issue with heights you will likely not enjoy the experience. We were both able to do so and then headed back down. We explored the rest of the castle which included the dungeon, some caves, and a poison garden.
The caves and dungeon were just dark slippery closed in structures. I felt like that was a place you went and just didn’t come out of. I nailed my head in the cave and about did a face plant in the dungeon. The rocks were super slippery. The poison garden had some fascinating varietals to include a marijuana plant. I couldn’t figure why there was a cage in the garden and then I saw it.
All in all I would say Blarney Castle is a must see but plan to get there while you can tour the house and have plenty of time for to walk to the gardens as they are extensive.