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Blarney Castle And Gardens: All You Need To Know

Blarney Castle and Gardens is often listed as one of the must-see castles in Ireland. Located in the village of Blarney, the castle is just eight kilometers northwest of Cork City

Blarney Castle And Gardens: All You Need To Know

Blarney Castle and gardens

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Blarney Castle History

The castle dates back to 1446, and one of the most visited castles in Ireland. Before the current castle was built, two other similar structures were constructed in its location.

The first one was built from timber before 1200 while the second one was built in 1210 and was made of stone. This stone castle was destroyed in 1446 and the Blarney Castle that we know now was built in its place.

Cormac Láidir MacCarthy, the Lord of Muscry, was the one who ordered the construction of the third castle. The castle has seen war and conflict in the next centuries, as well as changes in ownership.

blarney castle

Numerous parties bought and sold the castle throughout Ireland’s turbulent history until it was purchased by Sir James St. John Jefferyes. He became the governor of Cork City, sometime during the early 16th century. 

Today, Blarney Castle is in partial ruin but there are still some accessible parts like rooms and battlements. The famous  Blarney Stone is found at the top of the castle, also known as the Stone of Eloquence.

Close to the castle is a mansion occupied by descendants of the Jefferyes. Both buildings rest in a massive area that’s comprised of lush gardens and parklands. 

The Blarney Stone

blarney stone

There are various accounts and theories regarding the origin of the now-iconic Stone of Eloquence.

The most popular and plausible, however, was that the stone was given to King Cormac McCarthy in 1314, who was the second castle’s co-owner. It was as a thank you present from King Robert the Bruce of Scotland, for his help in winning the Battle of Bannockburn.

Legend says that a witch from a nearby Druid site told the king that the stone has a special gift of eloquence to those who would kiss it, so he did.

King Cormac was the first person to kiss the Blarney Stone and the tradition has continued ever since. This practice is still known even today, despite the fact that one has to bend upside down from a considerable height to kiss the stone. 

Things To Do in Blarney Castle and Gardens

The castle is more than the mystical stone, there are other and more interesting places to see and things to do in Blarney Castle. Here are some of them:

1. Check Out the Murder Hole

murder hole blarney castle

The Murder Hole is located on the second floor of the castle, blocked with an iron gate for safety purposes. This was a device used against those who dared enter the castle back in the day.

These invaders would even come running inside, so the occupants of the castle used the hole to pour boiling liquids on these unsuspecting trespassers. 

2. The Witch’s Kitchen

Indeed, the castle has its own witch’s kitchen. It is said that this area was home to the first Irish cave dwellers.

Legend has it that back in the day when people went into the kitchen in the morning, they would find remains of a fire that was supposed to have been lit by a witch the night before. 

3. The Dungeon of Blarney Castle

Dungeon of Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle has many chambers and dark passages said to have been added during different periods.

Most of them are easily accessible and among the best things to see in Blarney Castle. These dungeons served various purposes throughout the castle’s long history, and one of them used to be a prison. 

4. Visit the Poison Garden

poison garden blarney castle

Ever heard of a poison garden? Blarney Castle has one.

It opened in 2010, and one of the most popular Blarney Castle attractions. This is an area that contains various poisonous herbs and shrubs, such as Henbane, Hemlock, and Wormwood.

There is also a smaller enclosure that keeps the garden’s deadliest plants and they are locked in iron cages. Please follow the signs and do not touch or smell anything in this garden

5. Relax in the Castle’s Pretty (and Non-Poisonous) Gardens 

blarney castle gardens

Blarney’s castle grounds are said to be among the most beautiful parts of the estate. This is where the massive gardens are located, and is regarded as one of the best places to visit in Blarney Castle.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll in the lush gardens and parklands, which even look more stunning if viewed from the top of the castle.

Visitors Information for Blarney Castle and Gardens

Opening Hours

9 am to 5 pm

Admission Fee

€16 for adults, €13 for students and seniors, and €40 for a family. 

Contact Information

Location: Blarney, Cork, Ireland


Phone: +353 21 4385252

Blarney Castle and Gardens Tours from Dublin 



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