Discovering What Lies Beyond Blarney Castle’s Famous Stone

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Blarney Castle - there's more here than just a stone. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com

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?

Blarney Castle. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com

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.

Atop Blarney Castle. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Walking along the battlements of Blarney Castle toward the famous stone.

And…  that's it…

Thankfully the visit doesn't end there…

Looking toward the Rock Close from atop Blarney Castle. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
From the battlements atop Blarney Castle you can see into the Rock Close and past to the druid circle.


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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.

Blarney Castle's Poison Garden. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Also known as the Apothecary's Garden, the Poison Garden is filled with herbs and plants the castle's healer would have used. My Harry Potter fans loved seeing the herbs they had read about!
The Fern Garden at Blarney Castle. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
The Fern Garden at Blarney Castle is like entering a tropical forest
Lookout Tower at Blarney Castle and Gardens. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
The Lookout Tower is ‘hidden' along a pathway just off the Woodland Walk.
Dolmen in the Rock Close at Blarney Castle. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
This massive dolmen is just one piece of evidence of ancient peoples at Blarney.
The Witch's Kitchen at Blarney Castle. Ireland travel tips | Ireland vacation |IrelandFamilyVacations.com
Legend says that the witch of Blarney Castle escapes her stony confines each evening to come here. Early morning visitors may find the remains of her nightly fire.

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.

 

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