Perhaps you’ve heard of the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that kissing the stone will give you the gift of the gab, the gift of flattery and of knowing how to use words in a wonderful way. Many people, famous and not so famous, have kissed the stone at the top of Blarney Castle. I haven’t. Not this time anyway.
Aerobatics is required. Upon climbing a few stories and feeling a little dizzy from the view, one is required to lean over backwards, with the help of a well experienced man named David, while he holds you around the waist or so. As you do this awkward movement, you’ll see the faraway ground behind-below you through the big hole right below your head. There’s no reason for concern though, it’s been closed up by sparsely positioned iron bars so that if you, or David, were to lose your grip, you wouldn’t be able to shoot head first to your death, meters below.
Be brave; you’d be mad to visit the castle and not kiss the stone!
Apart from the stone itself, there are many other reasons to visit Blarney Castle. The structure of the building is quite well reserved and offers wide vistas or the surrounding countryside and towns through interesting windows and from twisted stairways.
The grounds have a lot to offer. There is a nice looking café for the hungry, there are dolmen for the historians, the Poison Garden would be of interest to the alchemists, the interesting trees in the arboretum and the ferns in the Fern Garden would please a botanist, the Rock Close would delight children of all ages and the easy-going walkers would appreciate the various trails.
I’m sure that the gardens would look more cheerful in summer and one could spend a good deal of time on a patch of grass with a good book!
The Blarney Castle is just about ten kilometres out of Cork and there is a free-to-use parking lot there. Entrance fees for children are €5 and €12,50 for adults if ordered online. The opening and closing times vary throughout the year but generally if you arrive by 9:00 and are out by sunset, you won’t risk a chance meeting with the Blarney witch (she only appears after sunset).