Hi everyone. I’m happy to report that we are enjoying a week of high summer here in Dublin after a particularly wet spell. It’s great to see the tourists lining the streets and enjoying the sights while the weather is fine. So last week we visited some of Ireland’s lesser known castles. This week it’s all about one of Ireland’s most famous castles and the must see (& kiss!) Blarney Stone.
Where is the Blarney Stone?
The Blarney Stone is located within Blarney Castle in Blarney, Co. Cork. Blarney is located less than 10 kilometres from Cork city centre. Allow almost 3 hours if you are driving from the capital, Dublin. You can find the location of Blarney Castle on the map below.
Why do people kiss the Blarney Stone?
The Blarney Stone is said to give the kisser the “gift of the gab”, which is an ability to speak well and with ease. It is widely believed that this is a characteristic that the Irish possess in spades!
How old is the Blarney Stone?
The stone was added to the tower of the castle in 1446 to reinforce the castle in the form of a battlement. It is made of limestone and dates back some 330 million years according to geologists.
When did the kissing start?
The origin of the famous stone dates back to the castle’s creation in its current form in 1446. The builder, Cormac McCarthy, had legal trouble and sought the advice of Clíodhna, the legendary Queen of the Banshees. Clíodhna advised McCarthy to kiss the first stone he came across on the morning of his court date. McCarthy duly won his case, showing tremendous fluency and fervor in the dock!
However, the tradition of kissing the stone itself only became commonplace much later in the late 18th century. As you can see in the photo above the kissing of the stone was much more precarious than it is today. These days the stone is sanitized several times a day. Probably a good idea when you consider 400,000 people visit the castle and stone each year!
Times & Cost
You can visit the castle and stone year round. You can find the opening hours and more information right here. If you book online the reduced admission price is €16.00 for adults and €40.00 for 2 adults and 2 children. Well worth the ticket price and likely to be one of the highlights of your Irish holiday. The admission price includes access to the stunning 60 acre garden too!
You should allow a full day for your visit if travelling from Dublin. I recommend making it a 2 day trip so you can take some of the many amazing sights Cork has to offer.
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Slán go fóill!