Do you ever feel like you need help coming up with the perfect thing to say? Then I’ve got the destination for you. Near Cork, Ireland, sits the wondrous Blarney Castle.
Justin and I had a lot of fun exploring the castle, starting on the ground floor and working our way up the spiral staircase. We learned a lot about its history, including a myriad of different structures, owners and governments, to today where it now sits in partial ruin.
The current Blarney Castle was built around the mid 1400’s and it’s amazing how many intricate details still remain, from the secret passageways for servants and ladies maids, to the murder hole. Murder hole you ask? I was fascinated by this too, it’s a hole in the floor above the main entryway where any unwanted visitors were deterred from entry by arrows, rocks or boiling liquids. I tend to think of castles as these grand, royal structures and the Blarney Castle reminded me they are really fortresses built with security and defense in mind.
Most famously, the Blarney Castle is the current resting place of the Blarney Stone. The Blarney Stone is literally a large limestone built into one of the exterior walls of the castle. The Blarney Stone, as legend has it, bestows upon all who kiss it the gift of gab (eloquence). Of course Justin and I had to kiss it!
The kiss is a little bit more difficult than just kissing a stone in the wall. You must lay down on your back and hang upside down (there are metal bars to hold onto) and only from this position is it possible to kiss the stone. It feels a bit more scary than it looks. Probably because of this, there is a person whose sole job it is to hold onto your feet and help steady you while you hang upside down and kiss the stone, which thinking about it makes me laugh. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a bottle of disinfectant and a roll of paper towels next to the stone so they can clean it off every so many kisses (imagine how many people kiss that same stone every day).
While the castle itself is typically the main feature, I’d argue the surrounding grounds are equally as beautiful. From the multiple gardens to the waterfall and Witch’s Cave, the acreage surrounding the castle is fun to explore.
My favorite was the Poison Garden. It contains a collection of poisonous plants including Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin, Opium and Cannabis. Several of the plants are even housed in metal structures to stop any curious visitors for nibbling on any of the plants.
I think what struck me most about the Blarney Castle grounds was all the greenery! As a native Arizonan it is amazing to see that much green in one place. I think the picture below really captures the overwhelming greenery throughout.
The Blarney Castle was a great day trip for anyone who plans to visit Ireland. The grounds are enchanting and the castle itself is fun to explore. If you need any souvenirs the town has what I have been told is the world’s largest gift shop too!
Have you been to the Blarney Castle? Do you think the legends are true? I’d love to hear your stories!