Blarney Castle, County Cork
Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland's greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland's greatest treasures.
This might have something to do with the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our tower. Kiss it and you'll never again be lost for words. For over two hundred years world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate. Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, it's not as dangerous to kiss the stone anymore as it used to be. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk.
If you come for the Stone, you may stay for the mystical and beautiful Rock Close and gardens. Take your time to make a journey through diverse surroundings from tranquil to serene, to mystical and magical places. From the top of the Castle you can take in the wonderful views of over 60 acres (25 hectares) of sprawling parklands which include gardens, avenues, arboretums and waterways. Blarney House, a Scottish baronial-style mansion, was built on the grounds in 1874 and is also open to the public. A visit to kiss the stone is a must when visiting Ireland.
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