Hands down, my favorite thing I did in Ireland.
It was always a dream of mine as a child after hearing the myths and legends associated with the Blarney Stone to travel across the pond and kiss the stone. After arriving with the help of Railtours, we were allowed about 2 hours to explore the grounds and the castle, as well as return back to eat.
We went through the grounds, explored around the garden (they have poisonous plants growing, marijuana, poppy plants, you name it) and amazing historic architecture... I was enthralled and captivated.
The kissing of the stone itself, as the others have said, was a little time consuming and if you are claustrophobic, be warned - it does get cramped in the tower as you climb the stairs. I had such a blast.
Blarney castle is known for the famous stone at the top. You have to lie on your back and hold onto two rails and dip your head down to reach the stone to kiss it for good luck. It's kinda scary because you have to dip down pretty low to kiss it. So your body is arched like a bridge and you can fall down!
It was a bit rainy when we got to the castle and while we were in the castle walking up, the rain got heavier and we started to hear thunder. It was like a horror movie. We went up to kiss the stone. The weather sure made it a lot more exciting since it was already scary enough to kiss the stone. Right after we finished and walked back down, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was perfect timing. Made the trip so much more fun and exciting!
We headed to Dublin the next day and went to a comedy show. Funny thing is, the comedian made a joke about how all the tourists comes and goes to kiss the Blarney stone. Meanwhile, local teens sneak in there at night to piss on it. I hope that's not true. But what the heck. Yolo.
I've always imagined what Blarney Castle and the whole stone experience must be like, and after actually experiencing it, it was more awe-inspiring than I could have imagined. My first shock was that this is by no means a castle in the Disney sense. This is a stone fortress complete with dungeons and perches off which one could throw hot cooking grease onto intruders. But what it lacks in decor it more than makes up for in history. Blarney Castle offers visitors a glimpse into the distant past of Ireland as well as the most aesthetically pleasing nature vistas in the country (or at least what I saw of it!).
Now on to the stone kissing. The trek up 127 steep, slippery steps was one of the most terrifying experience of my life. The steps are extremely narrow and steep, and wind all the way up the side of the castle. The replacement of a railing with a rope means you are pretty much rappelling up an ancient stone structure, which can be a bit intimidating. I hyperventilated a few times due to my fear of non-traditional steps (weird I know) but thankfully there were a few alcoves where you could step out of the stairwell and get your bearings again.
I thought, being a world renowned tourist destination, that there would be a crazy line, but I think I waited three minutes to kiss the stone. I was a bit apprehensive at first to kiss the stone since I heard locals pee on it when the tourists go home,but what the hell, YOLO! Hanging backwards and upside down off the side of a castle was definitely an experience, and pee or no pee, I'm glad I did it. For €10 you can buy a photo of your stone kissing g experience,but take my word for it, it is the most unflattering pose EVER I bought mine, but it will never see the light of day. Anyway, Blarney is a must for any tourist, and certainly one of the highlights of my trip.
Not gonna say much except that this is a five star place.
The castle, the grounds, the staff, the stone kissing ritual, everything was exactly how I expected it to be and more.
As long as you can look past the annoying ignorant tourists you will have a great time exploring the castle and grounds, just make sure you leave a couple of hours as there is so much more to see than just "the stone."
Aye, tis a wonderfully wee cottage, this Blarney Castle, lassie. Aye, an yer bound to find the love of yer life here, that's for sure, lovey. As sure as you winning the Irish Sweepstakes, it tis. All ye have ta do is kiss that castle stone on high. Just ask any of the wee leprechauns running to and fro among the shamrocks toward their pot 'o gold.
(just a kiss and lo and behold, you're gifted with a healthy dose of malarky)
My tip for anyone deciding to kiss the Blarney stone is to keep your arms low so that a good picture can be taken. I had my arms up high so my face was completely covered while I was kissing the stone.
There was a man on my tour said that when he was in Ireland 30 years ago the stone was an actual solo standing stone and not the stone that we kissed on this trip.
We did an internet search and it also looked like the blarney stone was a stand alone stone--not a stone attached to the castle that we had to kiss lying down (like we had on this trip). I'm not sure if this is a scam or not but pictures of kissing the stone were very expensive 10 euros!
Walking up to the stone took a while because the stairs up the castle were steep and we had a lady that took a really long time walking up the steps. We were forced to wait a long while on the stairs for this lady to finish climbing the stairs. The stairs down the castle were just as steep and winding as going up. If you dont plan on kissing the blarney stone, I would skip the hike up altogether.
OMG, WOW! The atmosphere & scenery is absolutely spectacular & gorgeous. Sometimes, I would forget how GREEN a world can be after living in desert for over 8 years now.
Blarney Castle just took my breath away. I have never seen anything like it, but i guess after you see one castle they start to look the same. But since, this was my first castle I came to: my mouth dropped.
The main thing is to "kiss the stone" -- going up was a bit hard, since it was cramped, I felt like i was going to slip but there are ropes that you are able to grab on to. And once you get to the top of the castle - the view is magnificent. So, back to "kissing the stone" -- For a brief moment, i did not want to kiss the stone, since i was pretty nervous getting held up half way upside down by two people. The line wasnt long at all. & it was just a quick peck of the stone.
After the castle, you can walk around on the grounds & we came upon a beautiful mansion, it was closed & opens only during summer season. How sad, oh well.
For me, it was a place to remember.
Must. Sanitize. Mouth.
And that's the first thing I did right after I planted a wet one on the Blarney Stone.
When I was first doing my research on places to visit in Ireland, the Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone caught my eye. Supposedly, whoever kisses the stone will get the 'gift of gab'. My first thought? YUCK! I might as well go kiss a subway pole! So the plan was to get my lips as close to the stone as humanly possible without actually touching it. That plan went out the window when I got there. I decided to just suck it up and do it. When in Rome right? (or in this case, Ireland)
Tip - there's a guy who works there who takes pictures of you as you're kissing the stone. There's also a sign that said if you're taking pictures of someone, you have to stay to the right (so as not to interfere with the lighting of their camera). Well, I totally ignored that sign because I wanted good shots of my friends. The guy didn't seem to care too much, which worked out.
As for getting to the top of the castle, the staircases are really wind-y, as you may imagine. Probably not a good idea for older folk or people extremely afraid of heights. But definitely give it a whirl!
If you're planning on traveling to Ireland, you HAVE to visit this place. NO EXCUSES! This was probably my favorite part of my entire trip.
A must see in Ireland. The grounds are vast, green and spectacular. Beautiful land that the castle sits on and a short, fun hike from the parking lot. Castle is old (as you would expect) but well kept and the short climb (about 100 steps) up a narrow and winding staircase is well worth both the view, and the amazing opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone. We went toward the end of March and encountered very short lines and really not that many people overall at the castle. Not sure we are speaking more "eloquently" now having kissed the stone, but the experience is unique and well worth the germs from the millions who have kissed it before us.
A great 5-star experience. Plan on spending an hour or two at the castle and the surrounding grounds.
Tourists visiting Blarney Castle may hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáil--a magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.* from Wiki
So as a tourist, I have to visit Blarney Castle and lined up in the rain to kiss the Blarney Stone so I can be more persuasive? The line was long................
I don't think I would do it again.. but hey I can now tell people I did it!
The ground though is really nice for taking some photos.....
I am really not sure about that gift of eloquence.. I just find I am just talking nonsense non stop according to my Yelp friend...
BTW, I am still looking to kiss a stone that will give me the gift of super Yelping!
I loved this place! The grounds were stunning and I wanted to have a picnic there but we'd already had lunch. It's a nice walk to get to the castle and to my surprise, you had to climb the craggy and super narrow stairwell to get to it because it's at the very top. Once I made it to the top I felt a sense of accomplishment because that was the craziest stairway out of the many castles we'd visited.
I had no intention of kissing the germ infested stone but Dale kept holering at me to do it until I told him I would if he would. They showed us how they clean the stone after each kiss with disinfectant but I still didn't want to in fear that my lips would get diseased and fall off. Then Dale did it so I had to keep my word - damn! I had to lay on my back, pull myself forward and down to kiss that damn stone in the wall - ugh! I couldn't wait to get to the restrooma and scrub the hell out of my lips!
The only downside to Kissing the Blarney Stone is the unfriendly cantankerous older guy that instructs you down to the stone and to do it fast which takes away from the experience once you're on your back even though no one was behind us. Other than that, I loved this castle!
My partner and I really enjoyed this place. A MUST see if you are visiting Ireland!
Ensure you are out of the grounds and parking lot at/or before closing time. After a worker chased us down the castle before closing time (we were last ones in the castle) My partner and I were wondering off and did not realize that they had closed the grounds. They closed the grounds and parking lot with us in there!!! We eventually figured out how to get out of there.
Yes it's a cliche and friends told me I didn't need to kiss the stone as I already had the gift of the gab!
However, it's not far from Cork and there's more to see besides the Blarney Stone. Paying the entrance fee takes you into the extensive grounds which are worth walking round with a little river and some gardens to walk round.
Blarney Castle is well preserved and for those of a nervous disposition, I must point out that the Blarney Stone isn't on ground level but at the top of the castle, quite a few stories up and you can actually see the drop all the way to ground level when you bend over backwards to kiss it - spectators from the ground can see the kissing happening from the ground.
Also, be aware that Blarney Castle isn't an American theme park faux castle but a proper historic monument, so the climb up will involve narrow passages, steep and unevenly spaced stairs and a good view down once you get to the top. There are no lifts!
Once at the top, if you choose to kiss the famous stone, a man with help to hold you as you bend over backwards to kiss it. It's quite a view to the bottom
I would still recommend Blarney Castle despite its touristy image
I was six months pregnant when I visited Blarney Castle and when I saw people being held over the side of the castle to kiss the Blarney stone I immediately new that this wasn't for me. Even if I wasn't pregnant, overweight and completely awkward, I sure as hell wouldn't let two strangers hold me precariously over the side of a building so that I could kiss a gross old stone! I get the mystery and magic of folklore but when do we draw the line at basic hygiene?!!! Theoretically, how do you know that the guards aren't peeing on the stone during their off hours? Just playing devil's advocate and thinking like a Mom!
Even though I abhor the idea of kissing the Blarney Stone I must say the grounds upon which Blarney Castle lie are completely gorgeous and extremely picnic worthy. Blarney Castle is definitely a place you've got to go if it's your first time visiting Ireland, and please, let me know what the stone tastes like when you kiss it.
I am so glad I made sure this was a stop during my trip to Ireland! I expected Blarney Castle to be just the castle but much to my surprise and delight there were gardens, trails, and waterfalls. We spent about five hours around the castle grounds exploring everything the grounds had to offer, including the thirty minute walk to the lake on the edge of the property. I wasn't going to kiss the blarney stone if there was a long line but we got there at the opening of the grounds and I saw they had wiped down the stone so it was clean. Since it's on the list of things to do before you die I thought "why not" and did it anyway. It doesn't cost anything to kiss the blarney stone, so that's good too. If it was extra there was no way I would have done it.
I talked to many locals and everyone said the rumors of people peeing on the stone is just a myth. I mean think about it, people would have to break into the grounds and into the castle after hours, since it's guarded during the day to accomplish that. What would be the point in doing that. I heard from another local that it is a craich they tell visitors to see the look on their face realizing they kissed the stone. So either it's just a lie or just a joke. Either way, just have fun and if you want to kiss the stone kiss it. If someone gives you crap about it, and say "people pee on it!" then give them my response: "well then never swim in the ocean because don't get me started on what whales do in there!" ha!
Caisleán na Blarnan is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland, and the River Martin. Though earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy dynasty, Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446. The noted Blarney Stone is found among the machicolations of the castle.
The castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle lies the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone. I passed on the opportunity to hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone. And with my gift for gab, I didn't need any extra help!
I actually enjoyed extensive gardens surrounding the castle even more.
Five stars for the:
1. €5 entry Easter weekend
2. The History lesson
3. The thrill of hanging upside down and kissing a rock while an old Irish man holds my ass.
4. The gorgeous grounds on which the castle was built
5. The tour of the Blarney house which is on the back of the property
It's worth it for every one to go at least once. The gift shop on the way out isn't worth it. Save your money for the Blarney Woolen Mills.
Of course I'm rating the beloved Blarney Castle with five stars.
The trek you take in walking all those stairs to reach the top and kiss the famous stone, totally worth it! And who doesn't want the gift of gab?
The surrounding gardens are also very beautiful.
A must see.
Kiss the Blarney Stone or play golf at Ballybunion? Kiss the Blarney Stone with your spouse or play golf with your mates at Ballybunion? I'm no fool; I chose to spend the day with my better half and went to Blarney Castle, kissed the stone, and bought tourist photos of us puckering up to the stone. Heck, I traveled 7000 miles and I needed a souvenir, so why not bring back some eloquence?
Initally the pics seemed kinda pricey, but in the end it was really worth it. Every time we look at them it brings back great memories and gives us smile. The pics lasts longer than a t-shirt, and it's not everyday you get a chance to interact with a world famous piece of history.
But there's more than just kissing the stone, the grounds are stunningly beautiful and perfect for a leisurely stroll, and the castle built in 1446 has amazing character.
For heaven's sake, don't visit Blarney Castle just for that ridiculous stone. Whether you choose to kiss the stone or not (we didn't), if you have an aesthetic interest in castles, this is a great example of a ruined castle (see photos).
Unlike, say, Kilkenny Castle, which is more like a museum/preservation project, Blarney Castle is just the bare bones--stone walls and a few other structural elements. It's fun simply to roam around in, to run up and down the narrow tower stairs, to stick your head out the windows and take in the countryside, and just generally to explore and enjoy.
Blarney Castle is quite handy to Cork City if you have a car.
Kissed it for the gift of gab....and I thought it is only fitting then that I choose this as my 500th review.
Yeah it's a bit touristy. But it is one of those iconic mythical things you hear about long before you step foot on the Emerald Isle. Bending over backwards off the top edge of a castle to kiss a highly unsanitary rock is an experience you wont forget. For all we know, local Cork punks are pissing on it at night. The grounds are very cool, with faery glades, mossy rock formations and mysterious bogs.
To be honest, I enjoy the pubs more than anything in Ireland. But it is best to come here so you have a nice clean story and photo to present to your parents when you get home.
The grounds of Blarney Castle are stunning, as is the view. I'd feel sorry for anyone claustrophobic because climbing the tower would either be an issue or impossible. Kissing the Blarney Stone would also be an issue for anyone with back problems, mobility challenges or fear of heights, as it's somewhat intimidating to hang over a space that's such a long drop! It's not that I didn't feel safe, but it's definitely not for everyone. I like the fun fact signs posted around the castle.
I walked away with some amazing photos and certainly not the gift of gab because I already have it. What a great outing!
I kissed the stone and recieved the gift of gab.
I don't know if it was just the day I went or not, maybe they're like this ALL the time, but the people whom I ENTRUSTED WITH MY LIFE to hold me over the ledge so I could kiss the stone were not so nice. They basically shoved me toward it, yelled at me to kiss it, and shoved me back to safety. The picture I got didn't show me kissing it- it showed me reaching for the damn bar.
I still think it's one of the greatest places ever.
The ride to get there is beautiful. The area is beautiful and very VERY green. The castle is beautiful. Memories!
If you go after it has rained, be careful going up and down the staircase. The steps are made of slippery stone and they are TINY.
The gift shop is cute- they have a TON of tourist crap to buy, but GREAT tourist crap to buy!
This place can't be THAT bad if I remember as much as I do after 7 years.
as you approach the grounds, there's a multitude of paths you can take
G. and i wandered into some caves that are oddly reminiscent of an early rendition of the bat cave
then we waltzed around some trails and herb/poison gardens (they grow absinthe?!) before we came upon the castle itself
the size of the castle is quite standard...small steps and high walls....but the main attraction is of course the blarney rock! it's rumored that if you kiss this rock, your sweet talking talents will grow exponentially
there's one catch...you better practice some yoga moves because a two guys are there to hold onto you as you LITERALLY bend over backwards to *SMACK* a sloppy one on this rock...no worries, your friends and family will laugh as they take a picture of the action
G. and i...being the germaphobes that we are...opted out of the kissing part and just observed the other people along the route...can't say we regretted it
we took another route on our exit and walked through a very calming garden over a lake w/ flowing waters...the zig-zag layout of the walkway reminded me of traditional asian gardens =)
beautiful rolling greens like the rest of ireland! =)
When I said to my friends that I was going to visit Ireland, they all said I MUST visit Blarney Castle and kiss the stone. Okay.
So, I did. I took a train from Dublin, then a local bus to get to the castle. Paid the fee to get in and got in a queue to go up. It came to my turn and I lied down on my back while someone was holding my body and kissed the stone. I asked the next person in the queue to take an evidence photo of me that I actually "did" it.
After I came back from the trip, one of my friends said - "My buddy used to live and grew up in the area. Anyone could go up to the stone without paying a fee and was open to public back then. When he was in high school, they had a couple of beers and went up to the stone...then...." :o
Well, even if the story was true, there were tons of people before me who kissed and cleansed the stone already!
I agree with David R., but stone or no - it's still a fun place to bvisit - and yes - I did kiss the stone. The lines was short on the day we went (thankfully - as it is NOT worth a long wait) and it took 2 seconds as aforementioned.
Meanwhole the village of Blarney is terrific with friendly people and grocery stores and good places to get coffee.
The castle grounds are gorgeous and fun to walk around.
Walking up to the stone was really cool and a lot of fun! you can go to the very top, and the view is amazing! I would definitely recommend seeing this if you are in the area. there are beautiful gardens as well, so you can stretch your legs a bit
If you want to visit the house, which is separate from the castle, it's only open from 10am-2pm.
It's probably 3.5 stars, but close enough. I completely agree with David R. -- don't visit it for the stone. It's very anticlimactic to wait in this long line and two seconds after you lay down, you're done.
The castle and the grounds are pretty and built in the 15th century (or the reconstruction anyhow), but I think there are other more impressive castles in Ireland. It's a little out of the way for most travelers and I am not sure it is worth it to go out of your way just to see it.
Put this on your list of places to see if you have the time, money, and desire. It's not all about the stone. The castle sits on a huge chunk of land and the gardens are pretty. There is a lot to explore outside the castle.
I visited in May of 2009. We went early in the morning (around 9am), so the line to kiss the stone was not that long yet. Once inside, there really any where else to go but up. The stairs are steep, but you have nice views every 10 steps or so.
Once at the top, it's kind of a let down because the whole process of kissing the stone makes you feel like you're on a conveyor belt. Before stepping up to the plate, you need to forget everything you know about germs.
Getting in is pricey. Getting your photo is pricier (15 euro, I THINK!). No cameras allowed at the blarney stone. Much like a theme park.... you'll see your photo once you pop out the door at the bottom. I didn't buy mine.
There's a pretty good castle cafe across the street. We spent a few hours there total and that was enough for me.
Blarney Castle was fun and hokey. For those of you on the tour bus route - don't worry it will be included.
For the rest of us, not on buses, it's filled with somewhat oblivious Americans. I have heard local rumors of the horrendous things the Irish do to that stone when you're not looking, but I don't want to think about it.
Kissing the stone is a "must do" only to say you've done it. Be prepared to wait in line for at least 15-30 mins to kiss the stone. As far as castles go, this one is just an eh. The surrounding grounds are much more interesting than the castle itself.
I would def go if you're in the area, but wouldn't drive way out of the way for it.
Took a cab from a cork for 18€ and 15€ for the ride back. Castle is amazing. You just explore the whole grounds at your own pace. The only rush was the Blarney Stone but don't worry about passing the rooms on the way up to kiss it because you can explore them on the route down. So many other things as well to see and do there!!
My advice...get to the Blarney Stone early!! It fills up sooo fast. We got there before it opened and we were the first to go in. It was cool to explore the castle before a lot of people were there. As we were walking out, buses full of people were beginning to come in.
There is no way you can come all the way to Ireland from the states and not do this. Sure, it's touristy and crowded and a bit expensive, but you will never again have a chance to do this. While the castle and the stone were largely what I expected, what I did not expect was how expansive and beautiful the rest of the grounds were. You can spend hours here and it would be time well spent.
Its quite accessible from Cork City Bus station. There are buses every hour to and from Blarney. The return tickets costs about 6 Euro. The castle entrance is few steps from the bus station. There is also a large parking lot if you have your own ride.
Admission was 10 Euro in 2006.
Beautiful, informative, interesting.
I loved the ruins. I loved the gardens and surrounding grounds. Rock Close was amazing and I cried when my camera batteries died before I could get any pictures of that area. It's like a fairy world with a beautiful pond, great hanging trees, moss, giant leaves and lily pads.
It was 10euros for me in Nov., the day was cold, cloudy, and drizzling. But i LOVED it still :) 100% worth it.
I can imagine this place being crowded during travel season and that would probably take away from the the experience so keep that in mind. But I'd still say go and visit (just curb your expectations in that case).
Things to keep in mind... if you do venture up to the Blarney stone...
1. the walk ways are dark and narrow
2. some areas can be slippery if you're not careful
3. it's a bit of a climb to the top, so make sure you have the strength and the bladder for it and ok with heights
4. the views from the top a beautiful so bring a camera
5. the info about rooms and parts of the castle are interesting and gives you a good idea of how old castles were like (i think)
6. and i'm not sure how clean the stone is, to be kissing... or if rumors are true of people peeing on it...... i went up and pretended to kiss it... but didn't actually. My friend did actually kiss it and so far no disease or death ~_^
Perhaps more like 3.5 stars.
There is nothing wrong with Blarney Castle... I just suppose it was a bit hyped up, so I felt let down when I got there. I'd say, if you're in Cork, go to Barney Castle for a morning or afternoon, walk around the grounds, explore the castle, and see the stone. Just don't make a trip the whole way there solely for the purpose of kissing the Blarney Stone. It's a nice castle, but Ireland has many other nice castles, landmarks, and historic sights. I'd suggest going to Dublin, Galway, or the south-west instead.
My friend and I drove down from Limerick to check out this castle. It was on the list of things we had to see while in Ireland, partly because I've always heard the legend of kissing the Blarney Stone while growing up.
If you're a student, make sure to bring your student ID with you, as it will save you some money.
When you enter, you realize it's quite a large ground, with greenery and some flowing streams (much like all of Ireland). If you've been traveling around Ireland quite a lot up until this point, then you've probably already seen quite a few castles. This one isn't that different. Same cold feel on this inside. Narrow, winding, stone staircases upward.
When you reach the top you're in for quite a view of Ireland. Rolling, greens everywhere. Homes spaced out in distances (again, much like a lot of Ireland). It always makes me wonder how a country that has existed alongside much of the lifespan of modern human history can preserve so much of its land and space. As opposed to every time I return home to America, we seem to be building houses and buildings on top of each other. I'm sure you'll appreciate the scenery when you make it to the top.
While up there, you can decide whether or not you would like to kiss the Blarney Stone and "receive the gift of gab." You can never have enough gab! The stone is hanging above an open ledge.
Your mission: grab two metal rods that are fixed on the outside of the stone, pull yourself out to the stone, kiss it, survive.
Also provided: two men on your side to violently drag you back in once your lips touch the slab.
The castle has seemed to add 3 metal, iron bars a few feet below the gap. Possibly for you to hit your head on and knock you out before you fall to your death. How generous.
There was no way I was flying all the way to Ireland and not kissing this stone. No tales of vandals urinating on the stone, no death defying heights, were going to scare me off. You only live once. You should feel the same if you make the venture here.
My mum begged me not to do it; she said I already have the gift of the gab. My cousins told me not to because legend has it that locals urinate on it at night. Well, I kissed it and was relieved to see that they wipe it down periodically with antibacterial wipes and highly doubt that anyone would have the ambition to walk all the way up there with even a partially full bladder.
The people that lived there must have been short, lean, and had great quads with all of those narrow and steep stair cases. It is not a destination for those afraid of heights or tight quarters.
I appreciated the spotter so that I didn't tumble downward while macking on the stone, but i feel like he was really interested in looking at 'the girls" more than spotting me.
Tourist trap: yes. Worth doing so you can say you kissed the Blarney Stone: yes.
Blarney Castle is one of those Irish experiences that shouldn't be missed. It's a short bus ride to Blarney from the city of Cork and more than worth the journey.
The grounds are gorgeous, with all that Irish emerald green and little paths, streams and bridges. The castle itself certainly shows its age but it in the best possible way, with all that old charm. Poking around inside the castle there are informative plaques to tell you about the different rooms, complete with artists' impressions to show what the rooms might have looked like.
It's great fun to crawl around through the little doorways, although those with any claustrophobia or fear of heights might have to grit their teeth and bear it just a little to get to the top. The day I went wasn't all that busy but there was still enough people that you were often left waiting for a short while for others ahead of you to climb the stairs.
The climb, however, is a must-do. At the top of the castle you will find the famous Blarney Stone, which legend states is meant to give you the "gift of the gab", i.e. the typically Irish ability to charm with eloquent banter.
The thing you don't tend to realise is that you can't just waltz up to the stone and give it a peck. The stone itself is housed in part of a wall which overhangs from a ledge at the very top of the castle. In order to be able to reach the Blarney Stone, an employed helper at the castle has to hold you round the waist as you lie on your back and hang backwards over a gap between the walkway and the stone. You do end up with only your hips and legs on the walkway, with the rest of your torso hanging over in order to reach. That being said, there are railings for you to hold onto, and the attendant does hold you very firmly and guides you swiftly enough that you don't have time to think about it. And whilst you can see the ground many many metres below, there are grated bars that, in the event that the almost impossible happened, would stop you falling.
I personally have a bit of a fear of heights and as I got closer to the front of the line and saw what was involved, I started to wonder if I could really do it. But every single person of every age and type and done it in the line before me, and by the time you get there the staff are moving you in and out so swiftly that you've no time to really argue. As you kiss the stone, a photographer takes your photo from a specially mounted camera - you can buy the photos if you like, when you descend back to the gift shop at the foot of the castle.
The view from the top of the castle is spectacular. You can see the gorgeous little village of Blarney as well as some beautiful Irish countryside, and there are some great little keyhole windows and such to take photos out of.
All in all, definitely worth a visit!
Was I in Ireland or in Japan/United States?
The witches steps were cool. I tried doing it alone but stumbled down.
I kissed the stone but YUCK. Don't forget to give the bend-over guy your 2 bits.
Absolutley great, its a must going here the views and the castle.
would go early though, can get very crowded. The park around it is so beautiful.I will def. come here again.
Blarney Castle is sublime.The views of the Cork country side from the top of the castle are quite simply amazing.
The Blarney stone is here and ok you have to lean over a ledge to kiss the stone, I kissed the stone and now feel sure that the stone definitely explains my persuasive skills or my ability to win most arguments, or so I like to think..