Blarney Castle & Stone, Republic of Ireland

Blarney Castle & Stone, Republic of Ireland (6/23-24/2016) 

Blarney House Castle Republic of Ireland
Blarney House
 Republic of Ireland
Yes, we kissed the Blarney Stone – more on that later. We very much liked our visit to Blarney Castle (see photo) – it has so much more to offer.

Map Blarney Castle Gardens Republic of Ireland
Map of Blarney Castle 
& Gardens - Beautiful!
The Estate gardens surrounding Blarney Castle are spectacular! They extend around a lake with acres of parkland filled with rare trees (see map image). There are formal gardens around the house with manicured lawns, rose beds, and many rhododendrons. The Fern Garden has the atmosphere of a tropical jungle. There is even a Poison Garden of plants you don’t want to eat – the explanations are very interesting. Hikers can take short and longer hikes around the property including a beautiful 1-½ hour walk around the lake and woodlands.

Rock Close Blarney Castle Gardens Republic of Ireland
Rock Close - 
Blarney Gardens
Travel tip: Our favorite area (not to be missed) of the Blarney Castle gardens is Rock Close that surrounds an ancient druidic settlement (see photo). This mystical place has a Druids Stone Circle, a Witches Kitchen, Wishing Steps, Waterfall, and more - all among easy to explore walkways and beautiful landscaping.

Wayne Dunlap Blarney Castle Republic of Ireland
Wayne at Blarney Castle - Ireland
Now for the Blarney Stone...

We had fun doing this. For 200 years, kissing the Blarney Stone is a major attraction for visitors to Ireland. Millions of visitors have done so over the years including many famous people.

Pat Dunlap Climbing Down Narrow Staircase Blarney Castle Republic of Ireland
Pat Climbing 
Down Narrow Staircase - 
Blarney Castle
The Blarney Stone is accessed by climbing a very narrow ancient castle spiral staircase to the top of Blarney Castle (see photo). The stone is located over an edge and you have to lie down and bend over backwards to kiss it making the effort a bit of a challenge. 

All this may be somewhat difficult for the light of heart. There are mats, protection bars, and an attendant to make the experience easier and safe. During the summer peak season, be prepared for long lines.

Wayne Dunlap Kissing Blarney Stone Castle Republic of Ireland
Wayne Kissing 
the Blarney Stone!
Some history: The custom of kissing the Blarney Stone says that it gives you the gift of eloquence (or gab)... although both Pat and I do not have too much problems in that area. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have devised the phase ‘to talk Blarney’ from her frustration with Lord Blarney’s ability to talk for long times without agreeing with her demands. It appears our modern politicians have also learned this ability.

Blarney Castle is a medieval fortification built 1446 with a history dating back to the 10th century. The views from the top are beautiful.

Blarney House
We also enjoyed visiting the Blarney House (see photo) available for visits June-August while the family that owns Blarney Castle moves to another location. Built in 1874, the Blarney House is one of the most elegant of the Great Houses of Ireland. Because the family lives there most of the year, the house is in beautiful shape and has a nice collection of furniture. The docents present a wonderful overview of history and how people lived there over the centuries.

Map of England
The Blarney Castle and estate is located near the city of Cork that makes a nice stopover city (see image). Another option is to stay next to Blarney Castle at the Blarney Woolen Mills gift emporium and hotel complex. The castle can also be accessed from a day trip from Cork’s bus station in 30 minutes.

Beer drinkers: It is not a myth that Guinness beer tastes better in Ireland. It most certainly does! Although a wonderful beer anywhere in the world, a slightly different process is done for the beer made for export. So, drink up and enjoy.

Beautiful Irish Countryside Ireland
Beautiful Irish Countryside
Travel advise about visiting Ireland: While visiting Ireland, we learned a few important lessons. The beauty of our Ireland experience was more about the genuine Irish people and beauty of the countryside, not so much about how many important sites and buildings there are to visit. We found the best pub experience in the world in Ireland. So, slow down, enjoy the vibrantly green countryside, the Irish people, and visit a pub or two when you ‘fancy a pint’.

Please see our other 9 travel blog posts on Ireland:

Dublin, Republic of Ireland (capital)

Galway City, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Dingle Peninsula & KillarneyTown, Ireland 

Belfast, Northern Ireland Great Britain

Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, & Killarney Town, Ireland

Westport, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara National Park, Ireland

Kilkenny, Ireland  

Cork, Ireland 

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