Have you ever wished that you could talk more freely and eloquently?
The Irish call this “the gift of the gab” and you can supposedly gain this power by kissing the Blarney Stone, which is housed in Blarney Castle Ireland.
This is a large block of limestone that is built into the castle, just a few miles away from Cork. It has been here since the mid 15th century and in that time it is estimated that millions of tourists from all over the planet have kissed it. In fact, the word “blarney” is now used by many people to mean a way of speaking in a flattering, witty and clever way.
The full name of the stone is the Stone of Eloquence and some people will tell you that it is a magic stone that Irish kings used to sit on. Since it first gained worldwide fame many famous people such as actors and renowned statesmen have kissed the Blarney Stone.
The latest figures I could find suggest that up to 400,000 a year place their lips on this stone, a fact which saw it named as one of the planet’s most unhygienic tourist attractions a few years ago.
Stars Who Have Gone to Blarney Castle Ireland to Kiss the Blarney Stone
A little bit of online research reveals that the stars who have gained the gift of eloquence here include the following; Laurel & Hardy, Winston Churchill and Mick Jagger. Even The Simpsons visited here, with Bart painting his rear end grey and taking the place of the stone.
It used to be that you got held by the ankles and went down head first to kiss the Blarney stone but these days you can do it just by holding on to an iron railing and leaning back. Get ready to start talking endlessly and in a charming way as soon as you do this. However, if you have a fear of heights then it is going to take you a bit of an effort to reach out, grasp on to the iron bars and give the stone a good kiss.
The castle itself has the sort of fascinating history you would expect from something built in the mid 15th century. The most dramatic spell in its long history probably came during the Irish Confederate Wars and the Williamite Wars in the 17th century, when it was besieged and captured. It has changed hands a number of times since then. Blarney Castle is largely a dignified ruin these days, although you can still visit certain rooms while you are there.
Visit the Official Blarney Castle Ireland website to really plan your trip.
Blarney House at Blarney Castle Ireland
There is very little mention of Blarney House on the official website for Blarney Castle Ireland, which is surprising. Blarney House is in the grounds of Blarney Castle and is a spectacular building of Scottish Baronial style as can be seen from our featured image above. According to discoverireland.ie it is open to the public during the summer months and you can arrange a tour on selected days.
Other Interesting Sights Near Blarney Castle Ireland
Of course, this is Ireland so kissing a giant slab of stone is far from being the only interesting thing worth doing when you visit Blarney Castle Ireland. The large gardens around the castle include a number of sights worth seeing, such as the Witch’s Cave, Wishing Steps and Druid’s Circle. Be sure not to taste any of the plants in the Poison Garden as they, well, they are poisonous.
Blarney Castle in Ireland is fantastically situated for anyone keen to explore this country, as it is close to wonderful Cork and other terrific Irish tourist attractions. For a start, you aren’t too far away from the magnificently weird West Cork Model Railway Village. This shows us what the old railway line and surrounding area looked like in the 1940s, in a scale of 1:24.
The Charms of Cork
A trip to the city of Cork is also highly recommended if you are in this region. There are some terrific things to do in Cork and just taking a stroll round the historic streets is a great experience.
To fully explore this beautiful part of Ireland it makes sense to hire a car, as there are some amazing sights out in the countryside and along the coast. Like much of Ireland, Cork is now culturally diverse but still retains a strong Irish spirit which captivates vistors.
You might also come across quite a few silver-tongued, witty locals who have clearly already brushed their lips across the Blarney Stone. Interacting with the locals is one of the real joys of visiting Ireland, so why not settle down in a pub with a pint of Guinness and be prepared to be entertained like never before.
Our Blarney Castle Ireland – by Robert Bell
Featured Image of Blarney House and all Flickr images are licensed under CC BY 2.0
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