Ireland´s Castles: Blarney Castle & The Stone of Eloquence
There are so many and beautiful the Castles of Ireland that we can´t do a summary of them. Each one hides a legend, a secret, a history of battles or just a tale. They are usually located in strategy places, being the theme of the best postcards of Ireland, and form landscapes worthy of magazines as well.
Blarney Castle is a medieval fort located near Cork, in Blarney town. It was built in 1210, destroyed in 1446, and reconstructed later.
The castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle lies the Blarney Stone, better known as « Stone of Eloquence ».
Of course this visit is included in the programme of South & West Ireland of Travelling Languages.
One of the days in the programme starts off with this fantastic visit. Everybody smile when they enter and we see the green carpet of lawn that is around the castle. Ancient trees, craft stalls, gardens, and small trails of rivers that transport us to other time.
The most kissed Stone in the world
According to legend, by kissing the Stone you can get the “Gift of Eloquence”, this means the ability to convince anyone of anything. How do we kiss the stone?
This is even more curious! We climbed to the top of the castle, through narrow winding staircases. From there you can see the beautiful parks and gardens, as well as the village of Blarney and the grand mansion, Blarney House.
To kiss the stone as the tradition says you have to lie on your back, being part of the suspended body (25 meters high!) And tilt the head back up to kiss the wall. Don’t worry, there are iron railings and a man that holds you. No danger!
Where did the legend come from?
The legend was originated when, Cormac MacCarthy, (king of Munster who was the owner of Bantry Fort) sought help from the goddess Clíodhna by request of Queen Elizabeth, who wanted the Irish chiefs declared their lands under his real title. The goddess asked MacCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court. The chief did so, replied to all requests with real diplomacy, promising loyalty to the queen without « giving » their territory. The result came out in his favor by convincing the court with great eloquence. Whenever he endeavored to negotiate the matter McCarthy always suggested a banquet or some other form of delay. The queen was said to be so irritated that she remarked that the earl’s reports were all ‘Blarney’.
So, for this reason kissing the Blarney Stone means “the ability to deceive without offending »
There are other theories such as « The stone was the stone that Jacob used as a pillow and was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah » or even « The Stone was the rock that Moses play with his staff doing well water for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt » Anyway, the truth is that Blarney Castle receives about 400,000 visits per year!
There are several trails to explore such as the gardens and curiosities that you can’t miss. And if the weather is good, it is an ideal place to enjoy a picnic next to the lake.
The Bog Garden
It is located on the bottom of Rock Close. In this area you’ll find a nice walkway with wooden arches, a variety of bog plants and oldest trees in the Blarney Castle.
For the people who are more superstitious, in Rock Close there are the Wishing Steps. If you walk backwards with your eyes closed without stopping for one moment and make a wish, then that wish will come true within a year. Some say that the granting of this wish is the witch’s way of paying for her firewood. Or that’s what the legend says!.
For the more adventurous people, this garden is hidden behind the castle. It contains a collection of poisonous plants from all over the world. Some of them are so poisonous that they are planted in a kind of cage. Now we know they are toxic, but many of them were formally used as medicines.
For the more curious people, under the tower there is a maze of passages and underground chambers. Inside, you’ll find cameras what is believed was the prison of the Castle.
The Blarney House can only be visited during the summer months, from June 1st to 31st August, Monday to Friday until 2 pm.
This beautiful castle is another reason to come to Ireland. As you see, with Travelling Languages programmes not only do you learn English, you can also learn the culture and discover magical places like this! Would you like to join one of our courses? Check out our travel dates and book your place now!😉