Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland
One of Irelands other famous tourist attractions is the Blarney Stone located in the Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland. On our tour of Irish tourist attractions, this Castle made WT73Jr’s list, but unfortunately, it was no where really near where we needed or wanted to be. Instead of spending time in Cork, we ended up passing through the region and took in the castle on the way from Killarney to Belfast. While this wasn’t optimal, we were actually able to enjoy the experience and get as much out of it as reasonably possible.
This post is one chapter on our trip to Portugal, the United Kingdom (England and Norther Ireland) and Ireland. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines Advantage and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland via TAP Portugal and British Airways Business Class.
- A Positioning Flight: Air Canada Vancouver – Toronto
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Toronto – Lisbon
- Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa, Lisbon, Portugal
- The First Steps in the Hilly Capital City of Lisbon, Portugal
- Exploring the Turrets of Castelo del São Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal
- The Seaside Town of Belem and the Jerónimos Monastery, Portugal
- The Lisbon Cathedral and Iberico Ham at Time Out Market, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Premium Business Lounge, Lisbon, Portugal
- TAP Portugal Business Class: Lisbon – London Heathrow
- Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge: London Heathrow Terminal Two
- The Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, United Kingdom
- Walking Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, London, United Kingdom
- Churchill’s War Rooms & Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
- Touring the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, London, United Kingdom
- Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
- De-Cyphering the Rosetta Stone and Camden Locks, London United Kingdom
- Day Tripping to Stonehenge, Salisbury, United Kingdom
- The Moxy London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom
- The Plaza Premium Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal Two
- Aer Lingus: London Heathrow – Dublin
- Aloft Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland
- Discovering Temple Bar District, Dublin, Ireland
- Calling on the Guiness Storehouse and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
- The Shertaon Athlone Hotel, Athlone, Ireland
- Drinking at Ireland’s Oldest Bar, Athlone, Ireland
- Hiking Along the Cliff’s of Moher, Ireland
- Crystal Springs Bed and Breakfast, Killarney, Ireland
- Circling The Skelling Islands and Driving the Ring of Kerry, Ireland
- Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland
- AC Hotel by Marriott, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Experiencing the Tragedy of the Titanic at the Titanic Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- In the Shadows at the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
- Terminal One T1 Lounge, Dublin Airport, Ireland
- British Airways Club Europe: Dublin – London Heathrow
- Cathay Pacific Business Lounge, London Heathrow
- No1 Lounge, London Heathrow
- British Airways Club World Business Class: London – Vancouver
Activity: Kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland
After another restful sleep, we packed ourselves up from the Crystal Springs Bed and Breakfast Killarney. I started the day with delicious Crepes with Lemon Sauce for breakfast. Delightful!
As mentioned earlier, we were travelling from Killarney, Ireland to Belfast, Northern Ireland today. While the Blarney Castle is located near Cork, Ireland, our schedule didn’t afford us a whole amount of time in order to see a lot of Cork. We just ended up taking in the Castle by passing through the area.
Getting to the Blarney Castle:
We drove approximately an hour and twenty minutes over to the outskirts of Cork to see the Blarney Castle. It was the home of the official Blarney Stone.
Arriving to the Blarney Castle:
We arrived to the Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle. The Blarney Castle was quite an established tourist attraction.
Funny enough, the admission included the opportunity to kiss the stone at no extra charge!
I wasn’t aware of this, but the castle was nicely set in the surroundings of botanical gardens. We made our way through the gardens up to the Blarney Castle. The Blarney Castle is set on a fortified bluff that over looks all areas.
The castle was well fortified, with traps that would delight any teenager. The traps included with murder holes for hot oil, arrows and other objects of impediments for any unwanted intruders.
Kissing the Blarney Stone:
The Blarney Stone is on the top level of the castle. It requires inverting yourself upside down and leaning back (above a 4 story drop) to kiss a stone. I was’t going to do it knowing to all the past hygienic stories of urination on the stone but I had a fear of missing out moment and thought that I’d come all this way so I gave Jr the camera and he took photos of me manoeuvring through the whole process.
Wandering the Poison Garden:
With #FOMO fears cured, after we had explored the castle we headed down towards the Poison Garden. It contained a whole stack of bizarre poisonous plants. Sort of a botanical garden of poisons; cannabis, opium poppies and poison oak. Essentially, it contained everything to keep a teenager interested and enthralled.
Outside of the Poison Garden, there were a variety of gardens around the Blarney Castle. We continued on onwards the fern garden, which was a peaceful place.
We headed over to the Druid Ruins; with a photo in the circular area.
Then over to the Seven Sisters Stones part of the gardens. The local legend had it that two stones were tipped over when two of the kings sons were killed in battle. The seven sisters were under the shadow of the castle.
Travelling from Cork, Ireland to Belfast, Northern Ireland:
From there, we had a quick spin through McDonalds for some teenage food, we headed up on the long 5 hour drive up to Belfast.
Unlike the scenic Ring of Kerry, it was not super exciting scenery on the drive between Cork and Belfast. We had a few tolls on the toll highways sections (less than 3 each), along with a bit of traffic through Dublin.
Crossing the Border into Northern Ireland:
I was curious to see what the border crossing would be like from Ireland into the United Kingdom’s Northern Ireland. It was a surprisingly uneventful crossing into Northern Ireland, passing by a shabby sign that had been graffitied and paint bombed. There was no border crossing, nor any inspection booth, just open highway. After crossing the border, it was back into the land of British highway signs.
We eventually made it into central Belfast and over to the AC Hotel by Marriott Belfast. It was a very long day of driving, having started in Killarney, taken in the Blarney Castle then up to Belfast. While it was a long day, there was no real other way to get from the south to North with the schedule of our trip.
My Thoughts on Visiting The Blarney Castle:
The Blarney Castle was an interesting and defining tourist attraction for the Republic of Ireland. While there is something to be said for silly tourist attractions, I actually found it to be an interesting place with some historical elements. I also had to “kiss the Blarney Stone” and although this wasn’t a life changing moment, I was happy in the end to have done it.