Blarney Castle

One more Ireland post after this one.   Something that was on my bucket list for Ireland was to go inside a castle.  We had passed a few that were closed or no viewing was allowed, but  we weren’t detered.

There are many famous places and spaces in Ireland, and probably the most famous would be Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone.  We left Cork and drove north and a little west to our final night’s stay with the mission to see Blarney Castle on our way.  The weather was great, which it really was for the majority of our trip.

I guess I didn’t realize that Blarney Castle was castle grounds with gardens and such.  I thought of it more as ‘just’ a ruin.

This was one of those “I can’t believe we are here” moments:

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Anyway, a bit about the mythology of the Blarney Stones (as relayed by our B&B host).  One legend says that there was a king who had difficulty speaking with some sort of speech impediment. He was out one day and saw a woman drowning. He saved her and she turned out to be some sort of fairy queen.  She wanted to reward him with a kiss, but could not actually kiss him on the lips. So, she kissed a rock and told him to kiss that spot. When he did, his speech impediment was gone.  Hence the ‘gift of gab’.   I’m not sure how that rock ended up in Blarney Castle, but the rest is history.  Of course, that’s just one of many legends of the stone.

The castle is quite impressive, even from a distance:

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Waaaaay up at the top is the Blarney Stone. Yes. You have to climb all the stairs to get to the top.

This castle is huge. This is the bell tower here, which is a lot shorter than the castle itself.

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Underneath is a rocky cave that probably was used as a prison. I climbed in there and even for a shorty like me, I was quite crouched over.

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Even with that light it was so dark that I couldn’t hold my camera still long enough to get a good shot. I ended up using a rock as a tripod to take it.

Here is me coming out through a tiny door:

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Almost to freedom there!

As you climbed up all the stairs, you come across different rooms, like a bedroom:

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It’s fun to imagine this castle with all its finery, tapestries and full of fire and warmth (hopefully).

The spiral stairs up to the top were really narrow and steep. No railings except sometimes there was a rope to grab:

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I think if you fell you wouldn’t actually go down very far because of how narrow it is. You’d just get stuck and stop LOL.

Between crouching through the cave and these stairs, the castle did give the quads a workout, I have to say.

Finally at the top!

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It’s all open at the top. This is the line to kiss the stone. You actually have to go through the line to go back down, but you don’t have to kiss the stone.

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This is the view looking over the railing into the castle.

img_4162bPersonally, I think kissing the stone is kind of gross. They did have a bottle of some solution sitting by the helper, but I didn’t see him use it. Not to mention that I was sick, so who would want to kiss the stone after me? Yuck.  Anyway, this picture is how you kiss the stone (from the official website)

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There is a holder to assist you. Just to the left out of the picture is a camera person up on a chair taking a picture as you kiss the stone, which you can then buy at the souvenir shop (of course). It’s open to air and you are warned no hats or glasses and nothing in your pockets or it will end up down below.

I was way more interested in the view from the top of the castle. It was really something:

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I am a squidge afraid of heights, so I was a little nervous up here, but I managed to peek over the wall and take a picture straight down:

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Not sure if you can see the person by the bench just about in the middle. They were actually taking a picture upward, so I guess I photobombed them 😀

Anyway, very, very cool.

Blarney Castle has a lot of grounds to explore as well.  There are a bunch of different gardens like the poison garden:

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Every single plant in this garden is poisonous in some way. Nothing was really in bloom at this time except some monkshood. There were the usual suspects like castor plant, nightshade, cannabis (yes the plant was there!), poppies, foxglove and lily of the valley. Some were surprising to me like irises, rhododendrun, and larkspur. I had no idea!  I actually have quite a few poisonous plants in my garden.  Oopsie.

This was the herbaceous border:

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I never did find out what those cloth things were for. Maybe just decoration.

There are stables on the property, which aren’t used for horses now, but a cafe LOL!

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We had a yummy scone here:

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There is also a house on the property called, wait for it… Blarney House.   Actually, that’s really an understatement because it’s more a mansion than anything else.

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You can tour this, although it is lived in by someone.  I can’t imagine living there! I would probably get lost.

So visiting a castle is now crossed off my bucket list.

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This is most definitely worth the stop, whether you kiss the stone or not!

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19 thoughts on “Blarney Castle

  1. debby

    Oh this is so cool to see. Just amazing! I think my favorite picture is the one you took from the top looking straight down. Of course, I love how green everything is. Its really a beautiful castle.
    debby´s last blog post ..The Two Hour Mile

    1. Lori Post author

      They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing! It was so green. I can’t imagine how green it would be in the high summer.

  2. deb

    You know me i’m shocked really that you didn’t kiss the stone… I would be kicking myself in the pants all the way back to America…lol I guess its one of those things thats not really on my ‘bucket list’ but if the opportunity ever came my way i would NOT pass it up…. Again thank s for alll the photos Lori. Hugs! deb
    deb´s last blog post ..The Boys are Back in Town!!!!

  3. Susan

    Love your pictures of the castle and the country side. Thanks for sharing those with us. I hope you make a special tab on your blog of your trip to Ireland so the pictures are easily found in the future. I have a lot of Irish in me not sure what part of Ireland my ancestors came from but I find it very interesting to read about that country now. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Helen

    Another fun thing to do and something crossed off your bucket list. Castles always look so cold to me. It’s no wonder people wore layers and layers of clothing back then.

    This should tickle you: KerryGold makes a cheese called Blarney Castle. When I saw the title of this post I thought you were doing a review and/or giveaway lol.
    Helen´s last blog post ..Tuesday Ten

    1. Lori Post author

      It used to be really unsafe to kiss the stone. They basically held you by the ankles, but they made it a lot safer, although still awkward.

  5. Ali @ Peaches and Football

    Wow. Just, wow. How cool is that? What an experience! I’m with you on the ick factor of kissing the same thing a zillion people kiss daily. Eww.

    Did it feel at all scary or closterphobic being tucked in such small areas? I always assume going through tiny openings like that would make me uncomfortable.

    Love the idea of a poison garden. Just so random and different – although probably not what I’d go for in my yard unless it kept the rabbits away… mmm
    Ali @ Peaches and Football´s last blog post ..A Surprise Zoo Visit

    1. Lori Post author

      Not really claustrophobic. It wasn’t crowded, though. I could see if the stairwells were packed with people that it could make you feel closed in, especially since you can’t go down the way you go up – you have to go all the way to the top.

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