Blarney Things to Do

  • Nomad 7890 - instructed on how to kiss the stone
    Nomad 7890 - instructed on how to kiss...
    by suvanki
  • Information board.
    Information board.
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  • Martha heads up the Wishing Steps
    Martha heads up the Wishing Steps
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Best Rated Things to Do in Blarney

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo

    Blarney Castle

    by Gillybob Updated Aug 2, 2009

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    Blarney Castle
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    It is unlikely that you will be visiting Blarney if you don't have intentions to visit Blarney Castle. Originally built nearly six hundred years ago as the home of Chieftain Cormac McCarthy, the Castle is the home of the Blarney Stone (also called the Stone of Eloquence), said to give the "gift of the gab" and leave a person who kisses it never lost for words again.

    The Castle has been visited by many famous people and famous orators, including Sir Walter Scott and William Churchill, who are said to have kissed the stone.

    Opening Hours :

    Monday to Saturday
    * May : 9.00am to 6.30pm
    * Jun-Jul-Aug : 9.00am to 7.00pm
    * Sept : 9.00am to 6.30pm
    * Oct-Apr : 9.00am to sundown
    Sundays
    * Summer: 9.00am to 5.30pm
    * Winter: 9.00am to sundown

    Last admissions 30 minutes before closing

    Entrance Fees (valid October 2008) :

    Adult Admission : Euro 10
    Student/Seniors : Euro 8
    Children (8-14 years) : Euro 3.50
    Family (2 Adults, 2 Children) : Euro 23.50

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Blarney Castle

    by Dabs Updated Jul 26, 2009

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    Blarney Castle
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    Although I was told by some people to avoid Blarney Castle because it was a bit of a tourist trap, I went anyway since we were staying within walking distance of the castle. We timed our visit to get there shortly after it opened at 9 am which was a good decision as there were only about 10 or so other people at the top of the castle and no line at all to kiss the Blarney Stone. Around 10:30am, the tour buses started to arrive and they were all flooding in as we left.

    The current castle is the 3rd castle on this site, it was built in 1446 by the King of Munster, Dermot MacCarthy. The Castle was taken by Oliver Cromwell's men in 1646, it was restored to the MacCarthy's in 1661 but the MacCarthy's left the castle for good in 1690 when Donagh MacCarthy was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He eventually escaped and went to France but the family never returned to the Castle. I'm not sure when the castle became totally uninhabited but the interior is now mostly gone. On your way up to the Blarney Stone, you will pass through what's remaining of the castle with explanations on how each room was used.

    Admission to the Castle is currently 10E, check the website below for updated prices and opening times. The Castle itself did not appear to be handicap accessible, the website says that you can view the stone from below it but there is no way to go up to where it is without climbing a lot of stairs.

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    Enchanting Blarney Castle

    by clws Updated Apr 29, 2004

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    Blarney Castle
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    A beautiful castle with lush grounds and scenic streams. A great activity to add to your trip to Blarney. You can climb to the top of the castle and "Kiss the Blarney Stone" if you wish and get some wonderful pictures from the top of the castle. They also have beautiful grounds and gardens on the property to wander about and take in the beauty.
    Blarney Castle is actually the third castle to be built on its site. It was built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster. The first castle was built of wood and was built around 1210 A.D.

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  • Gillybob's Profile Photo

    The Rock Close - Blarney Castle

    by Gillybob Written Oct 21, 2008

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    Waterfall
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    Within the grounds of Blarney Castle you will find the Rock Close. This is a lovely walk through the surrounding area near the Castle.

    The Rock Close is said to be home to witches and all things magical.

    The glades, glens and hillocks make for a pleasant walk lasting approximately 20 minutes which takes you through landscape once used by Druids.

    There is a nice grassy area next to a small river about a quarter of the way along the walk where a picnic lunch could be had.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Romancing the Stone

    by Dabs Updated Jul 25, 2009

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    If you've made it all the way to Blarney Castle, forked over 10€, walked up all the stairs to the top, you can't say no to kissing the Blarney Stone, can you? Or at least pretend to if you are a germaphobe, as it was recently voted as the #1 germiest world attractions on a Trip Advisor poll, it's estimated that 400,000 people planted their lips on the stone in 2008.

    There are many theories as to the origin of the stone and how it came to Ireland, the one that the castle signs seem to support is that it was "The Fatal Stone" used to choose kings of Ireland, removed to Scotland to become the Stone of Destiny (Stone of Scone) used to select Scottish kings, then finally split in half when Cormac MacCarthy supported Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English, half of the stone went to Blarney Castle, the other half is now in Edinburgh Castle after a several century stop at Westminster Abbey in London. The story continues that a witch saved from drowning revealed it's power to the MacCarthys stating that "There is a stone there that whoever kisses, Oh! He never misses to grow eloquent."

    Now I may have been sufficently eloquent before I kissed the stone or I may have, in the excitement of having the blood rush to my head, missed actually kissing the stone, but I certainly haven't noticed any difference in my eloquence of speech!

    I am glad though that they have repositioned the stone, at one time you were held by your ankles and lowered head first, now you just lay on your back, grip a couple of metal bars and plant a smooch on the stone.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Blarney Castle Close and Castle Grounds

    by Dabs Updated Jul 26, 2009

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    The Close
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    After visiting the Castle, we took a stroll around the Castle grounds, if you pick up a map of the grounds when you enter or from the attached website, you'll see that there are a couple of walks of the grounds, one that goes by the lake and another through the woods.

    There's also another section called the Close which was landscaped by the Jeffereyes family after they had bought the castle in 1703. The land is said to have been an ancient druidic settlement, as you walk along the marked trail which was dark and mysterious on the day we went thanks to the cloudy sky and abundance of trees, you'll pass by such places as the Druids cave, the fairy glade, the witches stone and the witches kitchen. It's up to your imagination whether you see any of it.

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    Church of the Resurrection

    by Gillybob Updated Oct 22, 2008

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    Church of the Resurrection
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    The church was originally built in 1776 and is cruciform in shape. The church is the oldest, functioning building on the square in Blarney. Stained glass windows show the Resurrection of Christ from the dead and were built in 1867 and 1926. The church has been renovated, most recently in 1997.

    The church is not generally open to the public.

    Services are held on Sundays at 11:00am and 7:30pm (informal). No services on the first Sunday in each month.

    The cemetery includes some interesting headstones, most of which show only the date of death.

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  • Gillybob's Profile Photo

    Take A Walk Around the Square

    by Gillybob Written Oct 22, 2008

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    View from Church of The Resurrection
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    Blarney Village Square is quite small, taking no more than 10 minutes to walk around.

    The square is surrounded by quaint houses, shops, restaurants and hotels. A large village green sits in the middle.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Blarney House

    by Dabs Written Jul 26, 2009

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    Blarney House
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    After visiting the Castle and smooching the stone, we toured the grounds for a bit and ran across Blarney House. The current house was built in 1874 by Sir James St. John Jefferyes, long after the MacCarthy's had relinquished control of the land.

    According to the website it contains "a fine collection of early furniture, family portraits, tapestries and works of art." It also says there are guided tours of the house, which I believe is still occupied by the family, however, there was a sign on the front saying they would start tours again next spring. It regrettably did not specify which spring that would be....

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Blarney Castle - Getting In

    by suvanki Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    Opening Hours - Blarney Castle
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    For entrance into the Castle and grounds, you first need to purchase your ticket!

    Handing over 10 Euros entitled me to enter the castle, kiss the Blarney Stone and wander around Rock Close.

    We had a short while to wait at the turnstyles - I can't imagine how long this would take when it's busy!
    Prices and conditions are displayed, so you can read these while you're waiting (pic 2 + 3)

    Opening Hours

    Monday-Saturday

    May and September 0900 - 1830
    June to August 0900 - 1900
    October - April 0900 - Sundown or 1800

    Sunday
    Summer - 0900 - 1800
    Winter - 0900 - Sundown or 1700

    Admission

    Adults - 10 Euros
    60+ - 8 Euros
    Students - 8 Euros
    8-14 yrs - 3.50 Euros
    Family (2 adults 2 children) 23.50 Euros

    The lady in the ticket office was very helpful - she spotted Gillybobs case, and offered to keep it for her in a room nearby.

    There were guide books for sale. I purchased one 'Blarney Castle, the story of a legend' for 3 euros. This was pocket sized, and had lots of useful information, including a guided tour of the Castle and grounds.

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    rock close

    by doug48 Written Jul 1, 2007

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    the dolman

    the rock close is a very interesting walk through a rocky gully near the blarney house. the path wanders along a creek and past interesting man made rock formations. pictured is the "dolman"in the rock close.

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    blarney castle

    by doug48 Written Jul 1, 2007

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    blarney castle

    blarney castle was built in 1446 by cormac maccarthy one of ireland's greatest chieftains. the design of blarney castle is typical of 15th century fortified tower houses. the famous blarney stone is located on the top of the castle keep.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    The Village Green

    by suvanki Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    Blarneys Village Green
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    The Village Green and its surrounding houses were part of James St John Jefferyes model estate village, considered at its time to be one of the finest of its kind in Ireland.

    In 1703, his Grand Father, Sir James Jefferyes, who was the Governer of Cork, bought 'the Castle, Village, Mills, Customs, all lands and the park thereto belonging, containing 1401 acres'.

    This property had had 2 previous owners in a space of less than 12 months. The estate had been auctioned in 1702, following confiscation by the State of all estates of the native chiefs. (Following The Battle of The Boyne, and loss of the Irish Cause in 1609)
    The state has remained in the family ever since.

    James Jefferyes began improvements to the estate in 1765. By recognising that the fast flowing streams could be utilised to provide power for mills, thereby bringing industry into the area, the village would prosper.

    To accommodate the number of mill workers and their families, he designed the village green, and built 90 cottages, each having a long garden, on 3 sides of the Green. On the 4th side, a church was built. Prior to this, there had been a handful of 'mud cabins'.

    During this era, in Europe, it was a period of elegance. This forward thinking landlord, recognised the need for good taste in design, and in embracing new ideas to make it a model estate village. As in the European Estates, he planned to develop the village around the Castle.

    Visitors came from home and abroad, not just to visit the Castle, but to witness the mills at work, and the prosperity of the workers and their families.

    By 1900, there were around 800 workers employed in the mills. Village life revolved around the Mills, with even lunch time being dictated by the factory hooter sounding over the estate. Children followed their parents into the mills, with many generations of Blarney families earning their living in the various Mills. (Woollens, stockings, paper, blades, cotton etc)

    During WW1, production increased to provide the uniforms for the British Forces.

    Sadly, by the 1970's, the Woollen mills weren't able to compete financially with cheap imports of man made textiles and mass produced clothing from Asia. Fashions had changed (remember glam rock?) leaving little demand for the traditional tweeds. The mills closed one by one. When the Blarney Woollen Mills was forced into closure, it was the sign of the end of the local community, and its knock on effect. People moved away to find work in Cork or beyond, so the local shops and businesses lost their income.
    The Blarney Woollen Mills were later to be regenerated into a tourist centre, with its gift shop, hotel and restaurant. Once again, high quality clothing is being produced here, for the fashion trade.

    The Workers houses can still be seen today, though some are now hotels, restaurants or shops, including the village Post Office. (Please see my pics below)

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Blarney Castle The Rock Close Druids Cave

    by suvanki Updated Nov 30, 2008

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    Druids Cave  Rock Close  Blarney Castle
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    Near to the Witch's kitchen is The Druids Cave. I couldn't see an info plaque, just a wooden sign stating 'Druids Cave'

    While the prescence of witches may be taken with a pinch of salt - at least the ones that can ride on broomsticks!, there is evidence of Druids having settlements in Ireland, and on this site.

    There is still little known about the ancient druids, although they have featured in stories and mythology through the centuries.

    Along with the druids, Bards and Filidh shared similar duties in Irish society.

    Celtic ritual life centered on a special class,who the Romans had named the druides or "druids"

    Druids (or Druides) were so named by the Romans. They performed many rituals and functions that would have been considered to be "priestly" duties, including ritual and sacrifice, but they also included functions that we would place under "education" and "law."
    These rituals and practices were probably kept secret—a tradition common among early Indo-European peoples—which helps to explain why the classical world knows nothing about them.

    Druids performed "barbaric" or "horrid" rituals at lakes and groves; there was a fair amount of consensus among the Greeks and Romans that these rituals involved human sacrifice. This may or may not be true; there is some evidence of human sacrifice among the Celts, but it does not seem to have been a prevalent practice.

    According to Julius Caesar, who gives the longest account of druids, the center of Celtic belief was the passing of souls from one body to another. From an archaeological perspective, it is clear that the Celts believed in an after-life, for material goods are buried with the dead.

    links to info about druids
    more info

    In The Rock Close, is a site labelled Druid Sacrifice Altar, which I somehow managed to miss.

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Blarney Castle - Kissing The Blarney Stone!

    by suvanki Updated Nov 17, 2008

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    Nomad 7890 lays back and thinks of ?
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    So, edgeing nearer to the front of the queue, you are met with a list of 'rules and instructions'(pic 5) - 'Remove hats, bags, spectacles, have your camera ready and switched on, secure jacket and shirt pockets, if you're under 8 years of age, you're subject to a height restriction at the discretion of the attendant, and if you should stand too near to the stone while waiting your turn, the same attendant can ask you to leave (in the interests of safety!!!- not because you might be obstructing the photographer then!!) Pheeeew!
    When you get even nearer, there's another notice, indicating where you can and can't take your own photos. I managed to read this before entering my myopic world!
    Nomad 7890 (Martha) was first to have a go, she was instructed on where to place her body on the piece of tarpaulin and her hands on the metal poles, before leaning backwards, and smacking her lips on the legendary Blarney Stone. (pic 1 and 2)

    I was next- Gillybob kindly held my specs, hat, bag etc, AND managed to get a photo of me! -I made it my main photo - it must be the only photo of me where I don't have at least 2 chins!! (Never mind eloquence, I want the Blarney Face lift!)

    So, the elderly attendant instructed me to sit down, then hold the posts, as I leaned back. Now, not having my specs, I wasn't sure where I was supposed to be aiming for, the stone wall just looked all the same- a blur!, but my lips hit the cold stone, and I was hauled up. by the old chap, (who was a bit impatient). It is a bit of a conveyor belt! Oh yes, this is all recorded by a photographer, who hands you a numbered ticket, which you take to a kiosk on your way out. (I'll cover this in a later tip)

    I just had chance to grab my things from Gillybob, before she was hustled along, onto the mat.

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