Blarney Castle is arguably one of the most well known places to visit in Ireland. We were able to spend an entire morning exploring Blarney Castle and the surrounding gardens during our road trip through Ireland.
Blarney Castle is a medieval castle in County Cork, Ireland. In the early 1200’s, the first stone fortification was built here, however the original was later destroyed. Cormac MacCarthy rebuilt the castle into what we know and see today in the 1400’s.
You can’t think of Blarney Castle without thinking of the Blarney stone. The key to a successful visit to Blarney Castle is to arrive EARLY. Once you enter, I recommend you head straight to the top of the castle to kiss the stone before more people arrive. We made it to Blarney shortly after it’s 9am opening time, which was perfect since we only had to wait about 15 minutes or so. (Had we arrived even just a half hour later, we would have waited in a much longer line to kiss the stone). By the time we got down from the tower, the line was already wrapping around the castle, past the 1 hour wait sign!
The Blarney stone itself is simply a slab of limestone installed into the castle back in the 1400’s. According to legend, kissing the stone will give you the gift of gab, great eloquence and a skill of flattery. I must warn you that kissing the stone is not an easy feat. You have to lay on your back and lean over the edge of the castle walls, tipping your head upside down to kiss it. There is a staff member there to assist you, by holding your waist as you edge out. My fear of heights prevented me from kissing the stone but for anyone who knows me, I’ve already got the gift of gab!
After we kissed the stone, we had the remainder of our time to explore the various rooms in the Castle on our way down. We never felt rushed by the pressure of getting in the long line to kiss the stone since we did it first, so we were able to see everything at our own pace.
Some people imagine that Blarney is simply the castle, but it is so much more! A huge highlight of visiting is walking through the surrounding gardens and grounds. For anyone who is unable to climb the steps to the top of the castle tower, there is still plenty of things to do and see here.
We started by visiting the Fairy Glade, Druids cave and wishing steps in the forest near to the Castle. We then made our way along the path to Blarney House, a mansion that overlooks the lake and was restored in the late 1800’s. Although we did not visit the inside, if the weather permits, it’s worth routing this way to visit.
Blarney Castle costs between 16-18 euros to visit as an adult. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online to skip the queue and earn their online discount. For more information about purchasing your tickets in advance, click here: Blarney Tickets.
You should plan for at least 3-4 hours at Blarney Castle (if you visit in good weather). Even though the clouds eventually rolled in, we lucked out and never saw rain, which enabled us to explore the majority of the grounds!
Stay tuned for more posts about our time in Ireland!
P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you can take a virtual tour of Blarney Castle online by clicking here: Blarney Castle Map & Virtual Tour