Blarney Castle - Co Cork
In the southwest of Ireland, on the outskirts of charismatic Cork City, Blarney Castle stands watch proudly over 60 acres of sprawling parklands which include lush gardens, arboretums, and waterways. Traces of earlier fortifications may date back to before 1200, but the impressive medieval stronghold you see today was built in 1446 by one of Ireland’s great chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy.
Most famously, the Castle is home to the Blarney Stone, which sits at the top of the tower. Known as the “Stone of Eloquence”, tourists may choose to hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the kisser the gift of eloquence. It is one of Ireland’s most popular, and unique tourist activities, and thankfully not as dangerous as it sounds.
If, however, you are already blessed with the gift of the gab, you can take the time instead to explore the estate’s wonderful gardens. With its wide range of vegetation and tranquil lakes and waterfalls, you can enjoy a feeling of calmness and serenity, while the variety of wildlife, interesting rock area, and educational Poison Garden, will provide entertainment for all ages. There is also a quaint café and a well-stocked gift shop on site.