No visit to Ireland is complete without a visit to Blarney Castle a former 15th century medieval stronghold, it is located in Blarney, County Cork in the west of Ireland. The castle is set amongst acres of parkland is world famous for its stone, “the Blarney Stone”, the legend is that all who kiss it will have the power of conferring eloquence, meaning that after you kiss it, you will never be lost for words again. It is necessary to climb the battlements to reach the stone, it is a narrow and steep climb. The stone is set in the wall below the battlements, in order to kiss it, it is necessary to lean backwards, over a sheer drop, holding an iron rail, from the parapet walk.

The castle was built almost six hundred years ago in 1874, in a Scottish baronial style, by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, it has a long and intriguing history. Today it is a world landmark and attracts millions of visitors, and is also one of the country’s greatest treasures. There is much more to this wonderful castle than the infamous stone. Today it is a partial ruin with some rooms and battlements still accessible. The views from the battlements are spectacular.

The gorgeous parkland in which the castle sits is extensive and home to a wonderful collection of rare and unusual trees and plants. There are paths touring the grounds that point out the numerous attractions. One being Rock Close, an enthralling place and centre of worship, home to ancient trees and many more ancient stones that are thought to be a garden of druidic origin. The place has an atmosphere of magic and mystique with Wishing Step’s, Witch’s Kitchen, Druid’s Cave and much more all telling their own story of centuries gone by. Then there is the new Poison Garden where toxic plants are kept in cage-like structures, the poisonous plants include, wolfsbane, mandrake and ricin and many more. The Fern Garden and Ice House is the Victorian equivalent of a modern refrigerator. Fern Garden is situated deep in the woods and has been designed to resemble a tropical jungle.

After leaving the gardens take a stroll along the River Martin and enjoy the peace and tranquility. Marvel at the reflection of the castle in the waters.

The castle and grounds are open throughout the year from 9.00am. Blarney Castle and Gardens is a haven of