Blarney Castle + Gardens

Friday, 18 August 2017
Last week I went on holiday to Cork and stayed just outside of Blarney village in a B&B and so first thing on Tuesday morning, my parents and I went to Blarney Castle, it was the best way to start my day. Just a disclaimer, the facts that are in the posts (who built the castle etc) are sourced from plaques that were situated within the castle and grounds. 

The North Wall
Blarney Castle sits on an 8m rock cliff, (the one that was quarried for building the castle) and the walls gradually slope inwards making it look even bigger when your stood below. From a seam in the wall, you can see that the castle was built in 2 stages and you can see the Earl's bedchamber which has a casemented oriel window.

Blarney Castle
The tower house was built by Cormac Laidir (the Strong) MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry in 1446 and at some point in the 16th Century, the east and south sides were extended by a five story tower. The Castle stands on the site of a 10th Century wooden hunting lodge which was used by the Kings of Munster and was the most powerful fortress of its time. Blarney Castle was originally set in an enclosed area of around 8 acres w/ perimeter wall and a series of small watchtowers. Over the last 200 years it has become the best-known and most photographed building in Ireland, and it's no wonder, the whole area is really well laid out and everything is gorgeous. 

The Climb
There is a narrow, winding staircase that goes from the bottom of the castle to the top and trust me climbing up these is more difficult than climbing up normal stairs. Below I've took a picture of a few of the steps at the top of the castle. 

The Blarney Stone
The origins of the legend are said to have derived from the actions of a descendant of Cormac Laidir (the original owner), Sir Cormac MacDermod, during the Nine Year's War, when the native Gaelic aristocracy came together in open defiance of the English Crown. Sir Cormac tried to appease both sides and his ability to play one side off the other allowed the word 'Blarney' to pass into modern speech, referring to smoothly flattering and cajoling talk. 

Below you can see me leaning back to kiss the blarney stone. Can I point out that there's a man there to hold you because you have to actually slide back to actually reach the stone. Also, the railings and the the bars to stop you from falling down the hole weren't always there, which seems terrifying to me. 

If you look at the below picture you can actually see someone kissing from the Blarney stone, at the very top of the castle, where it sort of comes out at the top.

The Poison Garden
I loved walking around the poison garden, there was Cannabis, opium poppies and loads more. In front of each plant there was a plaque which said what it was and in what way it was poisonous, I've included one example in the post, but there were so many and I spent ages reading them all, 

The Fern Garden

The Gardens

The Rock Close

Map of the Grounds

blarney castle and gardens map

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