While County Cork is not short on medieval history, you will only find one Blarney Stone. Located roughly five miles northwest of Cork, the stone is said to have mythical qualities. Legend has it that the Blarney Stone grants the gift of eloquence to anybody who kisses it.
Embedded into the moss and lichen-speckled battlements of Blarney Castle, in the small village of the same name, kissing the Blarney Stone is no easy feat. This is particularly true for anyone with a fear of heights as kissing the stone involves leaning backwards over the castle walls to reach it with one’s lips. Nevertheless, this has not stopped countless individuals from doing so over the centuries, in their quest for the gift of the gab.
Even if you’re not convinced by the Blarney Stone’s magic, you’ll still find that a trip here is worth the petrol. Less than half an hour from Cork by car, Blarney Castle is an understated but impressive medieval marvel. While the Blarney Stone remains its key attraction, the castle gardens are also quite stunning. Roam in 60 acres of landscaped gardens and arboretums… but don’t touch the plants in the deadly Poison Garden!
Finally, the view from the battlements is also one to remember. Open every day from 9am, except on bank holidays, climb the ancient winding steps to the castle’s peak for scenes over the chuckling waters of the River Martin, the shimmering Blarney Lough and the breathtaking expanse of the Cork countryside beyond.