Location and Access
Blarney Village is situated 9kms NW of Cork city
(route N20 signposted "Limerick" out of city) and has a population of about
2,500 inhabitants. The nearest airports are
(18kms) or SNN (112kms)
Things to See
Blarney is a world renowned
tourist attraction and should not be missed by anyone visiting the South
West of Ireland. The following sights are situated within a short walk of
the centre of the village:
View from one of the castle windows
over part of Blarney Estate
History of the Castle
Blarney Castle was originally a timber hunting lodge
built in the 10th century, which was replaced by a stone castle in 1210. The
present day construction was completed by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster
in 1446. The Castle remained the ancestral stronghold of the McCarthy family
until the arrival of Oliver Cromwell with cannon guns in 1646. Fifteen years
later with the arrival of King Charles II on the English throne saw the
return of the McCarthys to the Castle.
Following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, all Irish chiefs were stripped of
their powers and the McCarthys were again forced to leave Blarney Castle.
The Castle was sold to Sir James Jefferyes, Governor of Cork in 1703. The
Castle is now owned and managed by the Trustees of the Blarney Castle
Kissing the Blarney stone
The world famous Blarney Stone is situated high up in the battlements of the
castle. Follow one of the several long, stone spiral staircases up to the
top and enjoy the spectacular views of the lush green Irish countryside,
Blarney House and The Village of Blarney.
The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally
belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone, because it
was believed to have special powers.
The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return
for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.
Queen Elizabeth I wanted Irish chiefs to agree to occupy their own lands
under title from her. Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, handled
every Royal request with subtle diplomacy, promising loyalty to the Queen
without "giving in". Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her "a
lot of Blarney", thus giving rise to the legend.
You too can acquire the gift of eloquence by kissing the stone!
The Rock Close is laid out on a pre-historic Druids
site with the remains of huge boulders, rocks, a dolmen (a megalithic tomb
with a large flat stone laid on uprights), a sacrificial altar and a witches
kitchen. You will also find Japanese bamboo trees, magnolias, Siberian
dogwood and weeping willows and a stream which can be crossed via a small
There are numerous woodland walks on the grounds of
the Blarney Castle estate, through which winds the River Martin. In the
arboretum you will find colorful displays of copper beach, ornamental pear,
southern beech, nothafagus and evergreen oaks. Adjacent to the arboretum,
one finds the Belgian Beds planted with hybrid azaleas, and a western red
cedar tree from British Columbia.
Blarney House and Gardens
Blarney House is situated 200m South of Blarney Castle
and was completed in 1874. The house is open to the public during the Summer
months only. It has been completely restored over the past few years. The
house is surrounded by extensive lawns, shrubs, trees, and flower beds.
These slope gently towards the lake.
Where to stay
The following areas are convenient to Blarney:
- Blarney Village itself
- Cork City (9kms SW via N20)
- Kinsale The oldest town in Ireland (36kms via N20