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Blarney Castle
Semi-Ruined Tower Castle in the Republic of Ireland

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Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland, and the River Martin.

The castle originally dates from before AD 1200, when a wooden structure was built on the site. Around 1210 A.D. this was replaced by a stone fortification. This in turn was destroyed in 1446, and subsequently rebuilt by Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster.

The castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle, among the machicolations, lies the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone. Tourists visiting Blarney Castle hang upside-down over a sheer drop to kiss the stone. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáil—a magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.

 

Location

 

Blarney is a town in County Cork. It lies 8 km north-west of .Cork.

The nearest airport is Cork Airport. The Village is served by the no 224 and 234 bus from Cork city run by Bus Eireann

Blarney formerly had its own narrow gauge railway station. The Cork and Muskerry Light Railway linked Blarney with Cork; it opened in 1887 but closed on 29 December 1934.

In Irish Blarney Castle is called Caisleán na Blarnan.

Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens. Paths touring the grounds have signs pointing out the various attractions such as natural rock formations which have been given fanciful names, such as Druid's Circle, Witch's Cave and the Wishing Steps.

Blarney House, also open to the public, is a Scottish baronial-style mansion built in the grounds in 1874.

 

Blarney Castle with Blarney House in the background

 

Blarney Castle

 

 


Address:
Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle
Blarney
IrelandS

Contact
Telephone from the UK: 00 21 4385252
Telephone from the US: 010 21 4385252
Telephone from France: 00 21 4385252
Telephone from other countries: +(0)21 4385252

Website: http://www.blarneycastle.ie
e-mail: info@blarneycastle.ie

 

 

Google Maps

 

Small scale map showing the location of
Blarney Castle

Google map showing the location of
Blarney Castle

Large scale map showing
Blarney Castle

 

History

 

The castle was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars and was seized in 1646 by Parliamentarian forces under Lord Broghill.

After the Restoration the castle was restored to Donough MacCarty, who was made 1st Earl of Clancarty.

During the Williamite War in Ireland in the 1690s, Donough MacCarty the t 4th Earl of Clancarty was captured and his lands (including Blarney Castle) were confiscated by the Williamites.

The castle was sold and changed hands a number of times before being purchased by Sir James St. John Jefferyes. Members of the Jefferyes family would later build a mansion near the keep. This house was destroyed by fire however, and in 1874 a replacement baronial mansion - known as Blarney House - was built overlooking the nearby lake.

 

 

 

 

 

Blarney Castle at Night

 

 

 

The Blarney Stone

 

The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, in a sort of machicolation. In Irish it is known as Cloch na Blarnan.

According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with great eloquence or skill at flattery ("the gift of gab"). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446.

The word blarney has come to mean clever, flattering, or coaxing talk.

The Blarney Stone is said to have been presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in recognition of his support in the Battle of Bannockburn; popular legend holds that this was a piece of the Stone of Scone. This stone was then installed at McCarthy's castle of Blarney. When the castle was rebuilt in 1446, Dermot McCarthy had the stone preserved in the new castle. Although colourful, this folk legend cannot be true as the Stone of Scone had been removed from Scotland 18 years before Bannockburn.

The proprietors of Blarney Castle list several explanations other than the Stone of Scone for the ancient origins of the stone, many of which suppose that the Stone had previously been in Ireland but was then taken to Scotland and returned to Ireland in 1314. The theories listed include those that the stone was:

  • part of the wailing wall in Jerusalem brought to Ireland during the Crusades.
  • Half of the original Stone of Scone - the Scottish Stone of Destiny - presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in recognition of his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.
  • The Lia Fáil ("big stone of Fál",, also known as the Stone of Destiny, a stone used at the Inauguration Mound on the Hill of Tara in County Meath, as the coronation stone for the High Kings of Ireland.
  • the stone that Jacob used as a pillow, and was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah.
  • The pillow used by St. Columba of Iona on his deathbed.
  • The Stone of Ezel, which David hid behind on Jonathan's advice, while fleeing from King Saul, and may have been brought back to Ireland during the Crusades.
  • The rock that Moses struck with his staff to produce water for the Israelites, during their flight from Egypt.

None of these stories account for why a stone of such significance and antiquity would be used in the construction of a fifteenth century castle, inconspicuously incorporated into an exterior wall and exposed to the elements. William Henry Hurlbert wrote in 1888 that the legend of the stone seemed to be less than a hundred years old at that time, suggesting the tradition began late in the 18th Century, or early in the 19 th.

The ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone, according to the castle's proprietors, has been performed by millions of people, including world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen.

The kiss is not casually achieved. To touch the stone with one's lips, one must ascend to the castle, then lean over backwards on the parapet's edge. This is traditionally achieved with the help of an assistant (who will expect a tip). Although the parapet is now fitted with wrought-iron guide rails and crossbars, the ritual can still trigger attacks of acrophobia. Prior to the installation of the safeguards, the kiss was performed with real risk to life and limb, as participants were grasped by the ankles and dangled bodily from the height.

In the Sherlock Holmes radio dramatisation"The Adventure of the Blarney Stone" (first broadcast March 18, 1946), a man attempting to kiss the Blarney Stone falls to his death. Holmes' investigation reveals this as a murder, the man's boots having been surreptitiously greased before the attempt

According to one story, the association of "Blarney" with "empty flattery" derives from an occasion when which Queen Elizabeth I, requiring an oath of loyalty to retain occupancy of land, received responses from Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, which eloquently appeared to swear loyalty without actually doing so. Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her "(a lot of) Blarney", thus giving rise to the legend.

'Tis there's the stone that whoever kisses
He never misses to grow eloquent;
'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber,
Or become a member of Parliament.
"A noble spouter he'll sure turn out, or
An out and outer to be let alone;
Don't try to hinder him, or to bewilder him,
For he is a pilgrim from the Blarney stone."
Francis Sylvester Mahony

Richard Milliken's "The Groves of Blarney".

The castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the Stone and tour the castle and its gardens.

 

The Blarney Stone

 
 

Blarney Castle

 

Blarney Castle with Blarney House in the background

 

Blarney Castle Interior

 

Blarney House

 

Blarney Castle Aerial View

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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