Visit Blarney Castle to see dungeons, towers and ramparts of a fortress dating back to the 15th century. Marvel at the colorful flower displays of the perfectly groomed gardens and enjoy picnics on pristine lawns. Climb to the Blarney Stone, said to grant the gift of eloquence to all who kiss it. Today’s Blarney Castle is the third structure on the site and was established in 1446 by the then King of Munster.
Take a self-guided tour of the castle and gardens. A good place to start is at the main castle building. Peek inside the Badger’s Cave; soldiers fled through this passageway during a siege by Oliver Cromwell’s army. Look down into the eerie dungeon to find a maze of underground tunnels and chambers. Look for the Court, set against the castle’s eastern wall, which is all that remains of a Gothic mansion built by the noble Jeffereys family in the 1700s.
Climb the steps of the tower to the famous Blarney Stone. Hold onto the rails, lean back and kiss the stone to receive the mythical gift of eloquence. There are many legends attached to the stone’s origins. One states that Robert the Bruce gave it to Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster in gratitude for support during the Battle of Bannockburn. Another suggests that it was Jacob’s pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah.
Stroll along the pathways winding around the castle’s magnificent gardens. Admire colorful herbaceous borders, spot poisonous plants from around the world and learn about the folklore of native Irish plant species. Gaze up at rare and exotic trees in the peaceful arboretum.
Discover unique rock formations in the Rock Close garden. The Druid’s Altar, Wishing Steps and Witch’s Kitchen all tell stories of a fascinating medieval past.
Blarney Castle is about a 15-minute drive northwest of Cork. A public bus service operates between the castle and Cork. Use free parking available outside the main entrance.
The castle is open daily and has an admission fee. Purchase tickets online to benefit from discounts. Check the castle’s official website for full details.