One of Ireland’s most famous castles, Blarney was built nearly 600 years ago by the great chieftain Cormac “The Strong” MacCarthy, and while much of the structure is in ruins, you can still explore the dungeon and the battlements.
Blarney fires the imagination and still manages to capture the spirit of the time – standing in the roofless family room, you can’t help conjuring up images of medieval nobles and servants. Lots of honeymooners come here to kiss, but it’s a historic stone they come for, not their beloved’s lips.
The Stone of Eloquence, or the Blarney Stone, is said to give you what the Irish call “the gift of the gab” – also known as “good speaking skills”! You have to hang upside down to kiss the stone, but that’s all part of the fun. And once you’ve gained a new fluency of speech, head out to explore the incredible grounds.
Set amongst the huge landscaped gardens is Rock Close – a romantic little spot that really enchants visitors. The Fern Garden, with its mini waterfalls, is also a delightful place for a walk, while the owners positively encourage you to take a picnic and spend a few stolen hours in the woods.