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Blarney Castle was built in the fifteenth century as a stronghold for the McCarthys. It housed the famous Blarney Stone, which is supposed to endow the gift of eloquence on anyone who kisses it.
Below the battlements on the southern wall of the castle is the Blarney Stone reputed to confer eloquence on those who kiss it; this feat can be achieved only by hanging head downward. “Blarney,” as an expression of dubiousness, is attributed to Elizabeth I of England, who used it when impugning the worth of Lord Blarney's promises.
Blarney's tremendous rectangular great tower, one of the very biggest in Ireland. has an interesting building history. It was erected in two stages. First, in the early fifteenth century a small 6-metre (20ft) square turret rising to four stories and containing small rooms was built as part of some other building which has since been superseded. This original turret, not then machicolated, remained where it is when about 40 years later the castle owner, Cormac MacCarthaigh, decided to restructure whatever was there by imposing a huge rectangular great tower, 18.3 x 11.9 metres (60 x 39 ft), with five stories, on the earlier building, but incorporating the small square turret at its north-west comer, making the whole an L-plan tower. The new rectangle has walls 3.6 metres (12 ft) or so thick at the lower levels, reducing a little on the way up towards the top. The second floor of the rectangle is vaulted, and the tower has its own staircase in the north wall. Meanwhile, the turret was refurbished by having its ground floor filled up with rubble, masonry, earth, etc., and its higher floors remained much the same but with a small spiral staircase up the north-east corner.
The most arresting feature of the newer tower, however, is the massive parapet with its machicolation all round the top of the fifth story. This. projects outwards over the top of the walling by a distance of more than 0.6 metres (2 ft) and is carried all round on a row of pyramidal corbels over 1.8 metres (6 ft) long. On the top of the parapet are stepped battlements. Received opinion is that the corbelling and machicolation are later than the MacCarthaigh tower, by perhaps as much as a century. In the eighteenth century the then owner added a Gothic-style extension at the south end; however, this was severely damaged by a fire in the nineteenth century and has remained derelict since. The castle is famous for the Blarney Stone, which is a stone set in the machicolation. By means of inverting oneself head downwards between two machicolations one can kiss the stone, an act that will, it is claimed, `confer eloquence'.
Jozef Jozefowski, 12, from Philadelphia, PA. wrote:
In my opinion Blarny Castle is the most delightful castle in Ireland. Delightful in a since that for its destruction of many, many years of neglect, and no use, after it served its purpose as a military fortres.It still has its magnificence in a mystical, fairytale way. But unfortunately for other castles , they have fallen on the pitalen side of puny. Now if you wanted to kiss the Blarny Stone as I have done, you have to walk up a winding, steep staircase, which I consider the most dangerous part of your journey to reach the Blarny Stone , unless your are afraid of heights think Blarny Castle is One of the best castles in Ireland, except for…
Cj McCarthy, 75, from California, wrote:
Climbing to the top of Blarney to kiss the Stone was well worth the trouble. View from parapet is grand. On way back down my son aided an elderly lady who had a bit of a short fall on a turn. Thankfully she was o.k. and little the worse for the wear. Just be very careful on stairs whatever your age as they are quite steep in places. May the luck of the Irish be with you on your visit and the Saints be with you too.
Toni Ott, 29, from Midwest USA, wrote:
I was stationed in the UK for 3 years in the early 1990's and I spent every free minute touring Europe. I have to say, Blarney was spectacular. I did kiss the Blarney stone and visited the local attractions but the most amazing part was “The Wishing Stairs”. Near the castle there is a path that leads to what is believed to be sacrificial stones, druids caves and the like. The stairs are back there. If you can close your eyes, go all the way down and back up without opening your eyes (sounds easy but it's tricky), you can make a wish and it will come true. Mine did! Within 6 months of visiting Blarney, I was pregnant with my son!!
Elaine, 55, from Texas, wrote:
Oh my goodness…it is a must see…it will be everything you expect and more…also the blarney woolen mills are adjacent to the castle and everyone young and old will have the time of their life plundering through it….so now! why no picture of this beautiful landmark?….remember, think Ireland, and always, always, smile……
Jim McIlroy, 39, from Los Angeles County California, USA, wrote:
I completely enjoyed going to see this castle, had been told by my parents, and relatives in the north of Ireland that it was one to see, besides wanting to kiss the stone. I look forward to going back to Co. Cork and back to the town of Blarney to revisit that beautiful castle.
Megann, 13, from USA, wrote:
When I went to the BLARNEY CASTLE ( I was 8 years old) I KISSED the BLARNEY STONE and they said that if you KISS it then you will become a great story teller. (which I did, so all of you that visit the Blarney Stone / Castle have to KISS it plus you have good luck for the rest of your life!) as the Irish say: “Bless ya, and may the Devil never get ya!!”
Megan 14, from Australia, wrote:
Blarney castle was wicked! although I am scared of heights and all. the scenery is breathtaking. if you are ever taking a holiday in Eire, Blarney & Cork is a place you won't want to miss!
Leanne, 16, from Australia, wrote:
I went to the blarney castle about a year ago now and it was the most beautiful castle I have ever seen and the gardens there are so pretty. if you are ever in Ireland this is one castle you can't go past. I also kissed the Blarney Stone and ever since I've had nothing but good luck I am just so glad I stopped at that castle and next time I am in Ireland I am going to visit it again
Lori, 35, from Hawaii, wrote:
If you're near Cork, Blarney Castle is a must see! The grounds are beautiful and the stroll up to the castle entrance is pretty. Kissing the Blarney Stone was so much fun. In July we waited 1.5 hours in line to kiss the famous stone, but it was well worth it. The view from the top of the castle is breathtaking. The experience was great!
Shannan, 37, from Sumter, SC, USA
I visited Ireland for the first time this summer. I was drawn to its history and the beauty of the countryside. The people were wonderful and very gracious to me. I climbed the 108 steps up Blarney Castle to the top, and though it was steep, it was well-worth it. I enjoyed not only the view from the top, but the feeling of being transported back to a “Medieval” place. I highly recommend a visit to Blarney Castle for anyone visiting Ireland.
Gina R Liston, 15, from USA, wrote:
I just got back from Ireland and one of my stops was to go to Blarney. It was pretty neat. They had a dungeon but, you weren't able to go in it because it didn't have any lights in it. It's a long way up to get to the stone. You have to go up steep spiral stairs cases. Once you get up there it worth it to take a few pictures. When you kiss the stone you have to lean way back and a guy hangs onto you. It pretty cool. I would do it again.
Brianna Kennemore, 17, from USA. wrote:
Blarney castle was pretty close to my favorite castle on my trip to the United Kingdom. I was with a student ambassador group and loved every minute of it. The U.K. is the most fascinating place in the world to me. About Blarney, I almost lost my sunglasses when I bent backwards to kiss the stone. My back cracked and scared the guy to death. It was incredibly funny and a time I will never forget.
Carrie, 23, fro Baltimore, MD, wrote:
I went to Blarney castle and loved it. It was different from all the other castles because it is in ruins and you can use your imagination to see what it looked like hundreds of years ago. The landscape surrounding the area is really beautiful. Take some time to stroll the grounds because it is worth it. A note of caution to people who are scared of heights Be Careful!!! If climbing to the top to kiss the stone, it will be very difficult due to the drop in the middle of the tower and the fact that it seems you are so high up. Only a fence keeps you from falling into the hole in the middle. Despite this, you should still climb to the top for the view.
Beck, 30, from Minneapolis Mn, wrote:
This castle was wonderful with the exception that I am claustrophobic and had a hard time going to the top. The walls and stairway make you feel like you are in a cave. The rooms are small and tight and make you feel disoriented. Even though I had all these fears, I would do it all over again to see the beauty of it all.
Kathleen, 30, from Philadelphia, USA, wrote:
Just being there the grounds are beautiful. Breath taking. You can feel the history. It made me wish I was around back when this castle was built. It is well taken care of. Lots of fun to climb to the top to kiss the Blarney Stone. If anyone is ever in Ireland, Blarney Castle is a must see stop. Don't miss it.