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International Travel — Ireland
Cork & Southwest Ireland
County Cork Attractions

Blarney Castle & Gardens
— Kiss the Blarney Stone
— Rock Close

Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland

Blarney Castle & Gardens
No trip to Ireland's southwest would be complete without visiting the historic Blarney Castle and its mystical Rock Close gardens — it's located just northwest of the city of Cork.

Built nearly 600 years ago, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions — millions of people from around the world come to tour the castle and kiss its famous "Blarney Stone."

A Load of "Blarney"
"Blarney" was first coined by Queen Elizabeth I — she was fed up with the McCarthy's "blarney" after he promised loyalty, but never followed through on his promises. She is said to have uttered the words "Blarney... it's all blarney!" And the rest is history. Today, the term "blarney" has come to mean "smooth, flattering talk" and "deceptive nonsense."

Dungeons & Castle Prison
A labyrinth of narrow, dark underground passages and chambers, dating from different periods in the castle's history, lay beneath Blarney Castle. Most of the dungeons (and castle prison) are inaccessible.

Blarney Castle Hours
Open year-round.

Blarney Castle Info & Map

Blarney Castle Info
Blarney Castle Map

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Kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland

"Kiss" the Blarney Stone
According to legend, kissing the Blarney Stone (found at the top of the castle's tower) gives one the ability to gain more eloquent speech. So, if you never want to be at a loss for "uttering the right words" (and as they say across the pond, obtain the "gift of the gab")... the Blarney Stone awaits!

To kiss the stone, visitors have to climb a steep and narrow staircase (127 steps, about six floors up to the top of the castle), bend over backwards (over a sheer drop of 120 feet), lean back the head (see picture above), and kiss the stone beneath the wall — if you practice yoga, this is where your flexibility may come in handy! People from all walks of life, from around the world, have traveled to Ireland to partake in this ritual and capture the power of the Blarney Stone — have you kissed it yet?

Blarney Castle in County Cork - home to the famous Blarney Stone - Ireland

Rock Close
Rock Close (interesting rock formations) can best be described as enchanting, mysterious and magical —the fairyland sits in the midst of acres of rare trees, lush lawns, and beautiful landscaped gardens.

Follow the trail at Rock Close at your leisure to see its mystical points of interest:

  • Wishing Steps
    (make a wish as you walk up and down the stone steps backwards with your eyes closed. Focus on your wish and nothing else. Legend has it that your wish will come true within a year. Hey... it's worth a try!)
  • Head Druid's Cave
    (once home to the head Druid priest)
  • Witch's Kitchen
    (a cave-like kitchen inside a rock, believed to have been home to the very first Irish cave dwellers)
  • "Rocking" Dolmen
    (Giant Dolmen stone teeters on a smaller stone)
  • Fairy Glade
    (keep a lookout for the fairies — it's magical here)
  • The Witch Stone
    (can you see the resemblance?)
  • Druid's Circle
    (ancient stone circle)
  • Sacrificial Altar
    (ancient sacrificial alter)

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