Legendary Blarney Castle - It Is So Much More Than the Blarney Stone!

Blarney Castle is located approximately 5 miles from the city of Cork, near the river Martin.  It is one of many castles located in County Cork in Munster Province - and arguably the most famous!

Entrance to Blarney Castle

I took this picture on a mild day in June.  We arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon and there were many people there - but it wasn't terribly crowded.

There is a lot to see and do on the Blarney Castle grounds, but the main attraction is obviously the Blarney Stone, which is located at the top of the castle.

As you can see from the picture, the line into the castle stretched beyond the main entrance.  But it moved quickly, and there was so much to see on the way up that time passed quickly.

To get to Blarney Castle from the Dublin Airport, take the M1 out of the airport and follow signs to the M50, then the N7, then the M7 to Limerick / Cork. Expect a journey of approximately 3 hours.    

Things to Know About Blarney Castle

Here are some fun facts about this amazing Irish landmark.  Hopefully they will entice you to pay a visit in person!

But if that is not possible, you can always use them to impress your friends with your knowledge of one of the most-visited attractions in Ireland.

  • The castle we see today is actually the third on this site.  Built by the King of Munster, it has been standing since the 15th century.

  • It is most famous for the Blarney Stone, which is built into its battlement structure.  Kissing the stone is said to bestow the gift of gab.
  • Millions of people, including celebrities and world leaders have made the climb to the top of the castle, and accomplished the feat.
  • The official name of the Blarney Stone is the Stone of Eloquence. To kiss it, you'll need to lean backwards and get in a rather precarious position. But for many visitors, the promise of the gift of gab is worth it.
  • The castle has seen its share of battles. It was seized during the Irish Confederate Wars and it was captured just a few decades later during the Williamite War in Ireland.
  • Blarney Castle is surrounded by a number of fascinating rock formations. When you visit, follow signs to some of the most famous, which include Witch's Cave and the Druid's Circle.
  • Visiting the Castle is unique because although it is more than 600 years old, you can still explore it yourself. The stone walkways and uneven floors take you back to an earlier time. 
  • As you walk, look for the so-called murder holes in the floor. These grated areas were used during battles. If intruders made it past the main gates, guards would cover them in hot oil tossed through the murder holes. A rather effective but brutal sign of the past.
  • You can still see the dungeons of Blarney Castle. While they aren't as threatening today as they might have been in the past, they certainly can be spooky.
  • While exploring the castle is wonderful, the best views come from outside. Make sure you admire the castle's architecture, and its distinct lean to one side, from many angles.
  • The gardens surrounding the Castle are as much of an attraction as the castle itself. Take time to explore the Poison Garden, where poisonous plants are herbs were famously grown.
  • There are three major walks that you can take to explore the ground, depending on your schedule. The Riverside Walk takes a quick 20 minutes, the Lake Walk will take you about 45 minutes and the longer Woodland Walk is well worth the full 90 minutes it will take you.
  • In good weather you are likely to encounter a harpist, filling the air with lovely Celtic sounds.

For much more information on Blarney Castle, visit the official website here. 

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That Was Fun!  Where Can I See More?

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For more information of this kind, you might pay a visit to our section on Ireland Sightseeing here!

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A Note from Bruce

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However you choose to connect, we would love to hear from you!  Meanwhile, thanks for visiting!  I hope that we will meet someday, in person or online, and you can tell me about your own connection to the Emerald Isle.

Until then, best wishes -

Bruce Grady, and the team at Irish-Expressions.com