It is likely the most famous stone in all of Ireland… the Blarney Stone. Though there are many stories of where the stone originated the powers it holds are not argued: one kiss and you've gained the gift of eloquence. Maybe that is why it was set so high in the castle wall?
Whether you believe the stories or not, there is no denying that a visit to Blarney Castle to lay lips upon the stone is high on the ‘Ireland Bucket List' of many visitors. Which is why it surprises so many when I say that it took me 13 years- and nearly as many visits to Ireland- to actually visit Blarney Castle.
Visiting Blarney Castle
Though the outer walls of Blarney Castle stand erect, the structure is, technically, a ruin. It has no roof and many interior walls are missing. You gain access to the battlements via spiraling stone stairs at 2 corners of the castle. As you climb you will enter a few rooms where small plaques provide bits of information. Tip: for more detailed information as well as wonderful tales of Blarney Castle purchase a souvenir audio guide as you enter. It's well worth the few Euro cost.
Arriving at the top of the castle the traffic is ‘one way' toward the stone. You may kiss, or not, then continue around the battlements and down the stone stairs at the other corner of the castle.
And… that's it…
Thankfully the visit doesn't end there…
Beyond the Blarney Stone – A Photogrpahic Visit to the Blarney Castle Gardens
As you walk from the main entrance to toward Blarney Castle you pass through tree lined walks. The beautifully maintained arboretum is only a preview of the gardens that stretch across the acres beyond Blarney River.
There is so much to discover as you wander this estate… highlights for us were the Poison Garden, the Fern Garden, and the Rock Close. The stories- especially in the Poison Garden and Rock Close- on the audio guide are incredible. Tip: The grounds are vast; plan a minimum of 3 hours for your visit to Blarney Castle.
Above I recommend at least 3 hours to visit. Please note that we could have used another hour- or even two. Don't rush through your visit here (and if you're in County Cork don't skip it like I did for so many years!)
For more information and a virtual tour visit the Blarney Castle & Gardens website.