Blarney Stone's Magical Powers
"On Galway sands they kiss your hands, they kiss your lips at Carney, but by the Lee they drink strong tea, and kiss the stone at Blarney."
Do you believe in magic? It's believed by kissing this 330 million year stone, you'll receive the gift of gab. Irish politician John O'Connor Power described the gift of gab best by saying, "it's something more than mere flattery. It is flattery sweetened by humor and flavored by wit."
The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac McCarthy. He was in some legal trouble and went to seek the advice of Cliodhna, the legendary Queen of the Banshees. She insisted on the morning of his court date, he kiss the first stone he sees when he wakes up. Her advice was taken and McCarthy won his case with eloquence.
Since his courtroom win, McCarthy decided to keep the stone safe by placing in possibly the hardest to reach place in the castle.
Wannabe smoochers must first climb the stone cobbled stairs that have had little to no repair in the past 500 years. The stone is located at the very top, so take your time and enjoy exploring the remains of the castle.
The old watch tower still stands today. You can explore the bottom of the tower, but there's no access to the top anymore.
You see that sliver at the top of the tower? That's where the Blarney Stone lives. Those metal bars are there to protect anyone from falling.
Once at the top, enjoy the evergreen-ness that is Cork County. Before it became a tourist attraction, the Blarney Castle was designed just like any other castle, to defend itself.
Getting to the top of the castle is a feat on it's own. But kissing the stone is another battle. These lovely fellows stand guard of the stone while helping visitors kiss the stone as safely as possible.
It's said that millions have kissed the stone. Even a few famous lips have touched this stone in hopes for the gab including Mick Jagger and Winston Churchill. If you ask me, these guys already had the gift of being smooth talkers. Above is a photograph taken of tourists from 1897.
You must lie on your back, wiggle off the ledge while holding onto the metal rails. Below you is more metal railing to prevent falls, but that doesn't help your mind from wandering. The guards help scooch you until only your lower back is on the ledge, do a small sit up, kiss the stone and they pull you right up. The whole adrenaline filled kiss lasts about 10 seconds.
We visited the castle in early December and practically had the castle to ourselves. Daily buses are easy to catch from Cork City bus station to Blarney Village. The Blarney Village bus stop drops you off in front of a gift shop, with a quick 5 minute walk to the castle.
The Blarney Castle is open year round, but hours vary according to the season. Check here for the most up to date times. Admission prices average 15 euros for Adults.
Deemed a tourist trap, the Blarney Castle might be the best, most beautiful tourist trap I've seen! Have you ever been surprised by a tourist trap?