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blarney stone

    Ireland Part 4: Blarney Castle

    After a night in Galway, we drove south to Cork to visit the Blarney Castle. We were blown away by the beauty of the castle’s grounds.

     

    Blarney Castle stream

     

    Blarney Castle grounds

     

    Blarney Castle grounds

     

    The castle was originally built around the year 1210 and was later rebuilt by Cormac MacCarthy in 1446.

     

    Blarney Castle

     

    Blarney Castle grounds

     

    People have been visiting the castle for hundreds of years! Check out this graffiti from 1899 and 1897. I was amazed at how beautifully these serif letters were carved into stone:

     

    Old graffiti

     

    We followed a steep and narrow staircase to get to the top:

     

    Blarney Castle stairs

     

    Inside the Blarney Castle

     

    It’s said that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you gain the gift of eloquence (aka the gift of gab). There were signs around the castle that told about the history and legends of the place.

     

    All blarney

     

    I had no idea what it took to kiss the Blarney Stone. Once we got to the top, there was a man who offered to help us. For someone short like me, I really needed the help! You have to lie on your back, hold onto the supports, and bend over backwards to reach the stone. I can’t imagine trying to do it without the metal supports! They used to just hold people by their ankles. (Apparently there was a Sherlock movie where someone tried to kiss the stone and fell to their death.) We joined the ranks of people like Winston Churchill who have kissed the stone! Did you know that kissing the Blarney Stone is on the Discovery Travel Channel’s lists of 99 things to do before you die?

     

    David kissing the Blarney Stone

     

    Leah kissing the Blarney Stone

     

    The view from the top of the castle was incredible:

     

    Top of the Blarney Castle view

     

    View from the Blarney Castle

     

    After the castle, we enjoyed walking around the rest of the property and the beautiful gardens. There were some really unique trees:

     

    Large tree with low branches

     

    There were a few fall colors:

     

    Leah next to fall leaves

     

    The Rock Close garden had some peculiar points of interest. It was a little creepy at times!

     

    Dolmen

     

    Brittany walking up the wishing steps

     

    We were at Blarney Castle for several hours and could have stayed even longer, but it started to get dark.

     

    Blarney Castle at night

     

    We didn’t pay close attention to the signs of how long the place was open. (Afterwards, we found out admission closed at 6pm or dusk.) By the time we made it out to our car, we were the only ones in the parking lot and everything was locked up. We were worried because they had put up the guard rail at the entrance and we thought our car might be trapped there for the night. Fortunately, we found a back entrance!

    We headed into Cork for the night (a crazy place to drive), then worked our way back to Dublin the next day.

     

    » Ireland Part 1: Dublin
    » Ireland Part 2: Driving in the Countryside
    » Ireland Part 3: The Cliffs of Moher
    » Ireland Part 5: Kilkenny and Dublin

     

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