Blarney Castle - Caisleán na Bhlarnan

Blarney Castle - Caisleán na Bhlarnan

Blarney Castle (Irish: Caisleán na Blarnan) is the historic seat of the the Muskerry McCarthy's a branch of the MacCarthy Mor dynasty. There have been previous castles on this site dating back to the tenth century. In the early thirteenth century the previous wooden structures were replaced by stone. In 1446 the third castle was built by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster and the keep of this building remains standing. The castle is now a partial ruin, but has accessible rooms and battlements. Located at the top of the castle is the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone.

There are a number stories about the origin of the Blarney Stone. One such legend is that the Blarney Stone is a part of the Lia Fáil the stone of destiny on which all of the kings of Ireland were crowned. The stone was thought to have magical powers and legend has it that it was brought to Ireland in ancient times by the Tuatha Dé Danann. They are the Celtic pre-Christian gods with supernatural ability and who were of great importance to Gaelic people.  Lia Fáil left its original location in Tara in AD 500 when the High King of Ireland Murtagh MacEirc loaned it to his great-uncle, Fergus for his coronation in Scotland. 

It is said that when Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce to defeat the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was returned to Ireland in gratitude. This stone is claimed to be the one that is still set in the wall below the battlements of Blarney Castle. Tradition states that if visitors kiss the Blarney Stone they gain the gift of eloquence.

The castle is surrounded by extensive grounds with signs pointing out the various attractions including several natural rock formations. Blarney House, also open to the public and within the estate grounds, is a Scottish baronial-style mansion that was built in 1874. Information on the opening times of Blarney Castle and Gardens can seen on the Castle website.

Getting there

The castle is located northwest from Cork City/Corcaigh and west from the N20 and south from the R617 at Blarney in County Cork.

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