Do you know that by simply kissing a stone you can acquire the eternal gift of eloquence! It’s not just any old stone, The Blarney Stone, one of Ireland’s greatest treasures, is a block of Bluestone which is embedded in the walls of Blarney Castle. Blarney, home of Blarney Castle, is roughly about 8km northwest of Cork City. According to legend, kissing the world famous Blarney Stone gives you the gift of the gab or the gift of eloquence. Ever wondered how it’s done, read on for more…
The exact details of the orgins of the stone is not known, but there are several explanations or theories. The first is that the Stone was the pillow used by St. Columba of Iona on his deathbed and another that the Stone was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to seperate water for the Isralities during their flight from Egypt. There are also tales that the Stone was known as the Stone of Destiny, which was part of the king’s throne, and was said to have mysterious powers.
What we do know is that, when Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was given by the Scots in gratitude, which then returned to Ireland
Kissing the Stone
Over 5 million people haves kissed the Blarney Stone. To touch the stone with your lips, you must go to the top of the castle peak, then lean over, backwards, on the parapet’s edge with the help of an assistant. The parapet is now fitted with wrought iron guide rails and protective crossbars as the Blarney Stone is 90 feet from the ground. In past times, before the the safe guards were in place, there was greater risk, as you were held by your ankles and dangled from the height.
History of the Blareny Castle
The first building on this site was a wooden structure erected in the 10th century. This was followed in 1210 by a stone castle, the entrance of which was 20 feet above the ground, facing north. This was later demolised and a third castle was built in 1446 by the then King of Munster, Dermot McCarthy. The famous Stone was set into a tower of the castle at this time. Nowadays Blarney Castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland and over the years millions have flocked to kiss the Stone as well as tour the castle and its magnificent gardens.
Blarney House is around 200 yards south of the great castle. Built in 1874 it boasts stunning views, overlooking Blarney Lake. It contains a fine collection of early furniture, family portraits, tapestries and works of art. There are conducted tours of the house, which are open during the summer season. Blarney House is open from April to mid June.
Beneath the tower house that we know as Blarney Castle, you’ll find underground passages and chambers, all dating from different periods in the Castle history. If you do go inside, you’ll find the chambers of what is believed to have been the Castle prison.
Monday to Saturday
May: 9am to 6.30pm
June, July and August: 9am to 7pm
September: 9am to 6.30pm
October to April: 9am to sundown
Summer: 9.30am to 5.30pm
Winter: 9.30am to sundown
The last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
Children (8 to 14 years): EUR3.50
Family (2 adults and 2 children): EUR23.50
For more information check out the Blarney Castle website.
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