The world famous Blarney Stone is at the top of Blarney Castle, and can only be reached by climbing up some 100 winding stone steps, in the same way that the lords and ladies of the Castle climbed up to their dining hall and their bed chambers, for centuries. The Castle is over 600 years old, and was the ancient seat of the MacCarthys of Muskerry.
The present owners of the Castle, the Colthursts, live in nearby Blarney House, which can also be visited by arrangement.
I took some visitors to the Castle during the week, and even though the climb was slow because of the many visitors, the view from the top was worth it. Most people who visit the castle want to kiss the Blarney Stone, and this is supposed to give one the ‘gift of the gab’ or the gift of eloquence. Winston Churchill, who was known as a very eloquent speaker, is rumoured to have kissed the Blarney Stone, which might, or might not, have something to do with his eloquence!
Kissing the Blarney Stone is not as simple as it sounds though. The stone is located on the outside wall, below the battlements, and to kiss it you have to lie on your back, and lean backwards until you reach the stone and give it a big kiss! It sounds daunting, but is quite safe, and there is someone to help you to get back on your feet again after you have received this amazing gift of eloquence!
The Castle has many other attractions, as it is set in over 60 acres of parklands, which include gardens, avenues, streams and trees, there is even a Witches Stone and a Witches Cauldron bubbling away in the Kitchen, a Fairy Glade and some Wishing Steps. It is a very magical place with a lake, a fern garden, a poison garden, and old stables that have now been converted to tea rooms.