Blarney is a small town just a few miles to the north of Cork City in the southern end or Ireland. Blarney is famously known across the globe for its castle, but probably more so for it’s world renowned Blarney Stone. Kissing the Blarney Stone will give you what is locally and affectionately known as the “gift of the gab”. Irish people are well known for their ability to talk, sing and tell stories, and by kissing this stone you will be blessed with that gift too. Well, so the story goes.
The Blarney Stone sits at the very top of Blarney castle and to kiss it you have to lie back, lean over the edge of the castle (there’s a barrier these days so you don’t fall through the opening) and pucker up! A wonderful experience for anybody trying to connect with their Irish roots.
There are many stories and myths surrounding the origins of the Blarney Stone. One is that the stone was a gift from Robert the Bruce (seen Braveheart?) to the Munster King and builder of Blarney Castle, Cormac McCarthy, in 1314 as a token of appreciation for his help in the Battle of Bannockburn.
Blarney has a lot more to offer than just the Stone. The grounds of Blarney are exceptionally maintained and are a perfect place to enjoy a picnic. The world famous Blarney Woolen Mills reside just a short walk away from the castle. The Woolen Mills are a major shopping destination for many tourists visiting the southern areas of Ireland. It is a bustling place, a hive of activity and a great place to have a pint or a cup of tea.
If you’re looking to grab a bite of food, or have a couple of drinks, then there’s a couple of local pubs on the main street just outside the Woolen mills. There you can enjoy a pint of Guinness, or sample the famous Cork stouts, Murphy’s and Beamish. Maybe you can even take in a local GAA match (hurling or Gaelic football) while in Blarney.
It takes maybe 15-20 minutes by car to get to Blarney from the city. Public transportation in the form of a bus service, is available to get to Blarney. If you want to enjoy all that the town has to offer, including the castle, its grounds and the shopping experience of the Woolen Mills, then I would recommend giving yourself about 5 or 6 hours to enjoy the town.
Visit the official Blarney Castle website to get the most up-to-date information on opening times and fees.
Have fun, and let us know how your trip went by adding a comment below.