Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle


Location: County Cork
Tel: (021) 438 5252
Transport: bus: from Cork
May & Sep: Mon-Sat 9am - 6:30 pm, Sun 9:30am - 5:30pm
Jun-Aug: Mon-Sat 9am - 7pm, Sun 9:30am - 5:30pm
Oct-Apr: Mon-Sat 9am - 6pm, Sun 9:30am - 5pm


Description of Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is located in the South Ireland in the Cork County, not far from the town of Cork. Blarney Castle was build in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, the king of Munster, after original 12th century castle was destroyed. Strictly speaking it is not a castle, but rather a home that is really well defended. Unlike many other ruins this castle is preserved without much restoration that make more authentic. The wooded rotted away, but it is easy to see there the floors and ceilings once were. Each level and part of the castle has a label that tells of its purpose. The first floor was family room, second- banquet room. You can still see the remains of the fireplace strangely hanging on the wall of Blarney Castle. The third level is the chapel. And finally the very top of Blarney Castle is made for watchmen. It is also here that you can find the famous Blarney’s stone. Beautiful garden and landscape around the castle is a nice place for hiking and picnics.



A castle had already stood in the area since before the 13th century but the original wooden construction was destroyed and replaced around 1210 with a stone fortification.

In 1446 Cormac Láidir MacCarthy, lord of Muscry had the original castle torn down and replaced by the present structure, part of a defensive line of his estates which also included Kilcrea Castle and Carrignamuck.

In the 17th century the castle was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars and then seized during the English Civil War, finally reverting to the MacCarthy family after restoration.

At the end of the same century, during the Williamite war, the lands and the castle were confiscated and resold. The property changed hands several times, notable names in its history being Sir Richard Pyne and Sir James St John Jefferyes, Governor of Cork City.

We owe the Jefferyes the construction of a villa used as a home not far from the castle, at the time already in ruins, later the house was destroyed by fire and replaced in 1874 by the current Blarney House, built in Scottish baronial style and today open to the public.

In the mid 19th century the Jefferyes family merged with the Colthurst family and the property passed to them, to this day it is still attested to them and the last descendant, Sir Charles St John Colthurst is mentioned in a civil case against an occupant of the estate keeper's house.

Today the castle is a partially abandoned ruin, although some rooms are accessible and open to the public as well as the armories.

Around there are vast and numerous well-kept gardens, crossed by paths that lead to various attractions such as particular natural rock formations with bizarre names derived from human imagination: the "circle of the Druids", the "Cave of the Witch" and the "steps of Wishes". .

The building is one of the most touristic points of its county and among the Irish sites for its imposing architectural beauty and for the charm of the ruined towers, for the suggestive panoramas it offers from the top but above all for the legends that gravitate around it and about the "Blarney stone".

Blarney Castle

Stairwell designed so that the defenders (presumably right- handed) will have advantage over attackers who walk up the stairs.

1st floor - family room

2nd floor - banquet hall

3rd floor - chapel


Blarney Castle

The Blarney Stone

In the upper part of the castle, set on the external perimeter of the tower, is the famous Blarney Stone ("Blarney stone") or stone of Eloquence, which according to legend, if kissed, would grant the gift of eloquence. Being on the outside of the wall, to succeed in the enterprise you need to lean over the battlements, remaining suspended and holding on to your feet or with the help of friends and companions (today there are handrails and people hired specifically to give support) .

Examined by geologists from the University of Glasgow, the stone appears to be a limestone rock typical of the south of Ireland.

There are many speculations and legends about the origin of the stone, it is said that the stone is the ancient Lia Fail or "fatal stone" dating back even to a story of Genesis on which Jacob would have sat and then arrived in Ireland following the prophet Jeremiah . The High Kings of Ireland would have sat on it at their coronation.

Another legend would have it that the stone was given to Cormac Teige McCarthy, the lord of Blarney, by an old crone or a witch saved from drowning and with the help of the eloquence received he managed to persuade Queen Elizabeth I to grant Irish clan chiefs the right to govern their lands without recognizing the sovereign's property rights over them.

Others instead place her as a native of Scotland, invited as a gift of thanks when Ireland sent 5,000 men to Scotland to support Robert of Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn, but the latter legend was fairy tale of typically Irish origin.


Todays use

Blarney Castle is now one of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions due to its popularity in the English speaking world. Every year tens of thousands kiss the stone of fluency, leaning headlong over the parapet. The entire village of Blarney around the castle is entirely geared towards tourism. Blarney Castle itself is surrounded by gardens which contain various notable rock formations such as the Druid's Circle, the Witch's Cave and the Wishing Steps. The streams around the castle are strewn with cent coins.