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Posted on December 5, 2017 by Sioux under General
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Taking advantage of the clear, dry weather, I headed into Cork City on the bus and from there to Blarney Castle – when in Ireland, one has to get to kiss the Blarney Stone & I intended to do just that! Having said that, being as how there are millions of others that have done the same thing, I made sure my lips didn’t actually touch the stone, but I was close enough to say……

A medieval stronghold, Blarney Castle as it stands today, is the third castle built on this site. In 1200 it is believed a timber house was built on the site, although no evidence remains of this. Around 1210 it was replaced by a stone fortification, which was destroyed in 1446, and subsequently rebuilt by the MacCarthy of Muskerry Dynasty.  

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The castle was sold a number of times before being purchased in the early 1700’s by the then

governor of Cork City. A mansion built near the keep was destroyed by fire, and replaced in 1874 by a baronial mansion, known as Blarney House, overlooking the nearby lake. 

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The Blarney Stone

Image courtesy of Google Images

Image courtesy of Google Images

On the walk up to the castle from the village, the trees which line the roadway are all ‘dressed’ in colourful knitted (or crocheted) ‘jerseys’!

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This was the gate house of the bastion tower that once defended Blarney Castle. The dog kennel and sentry box were right at the entrance.

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Its quite a climb up to where the Blarney Stone is situated, but the view across the gardens, from the walkway along the battlements is amazing & well worth the climb!

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An artists impression of how the banqueting hall may have looked

Now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements, the castle is famous as being the ‘home’ of the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the Blarney Stone, which is set high up on the fortifications of the castle.

 

Visitors hang upside-down over a sheer drop and kiss the stone, which is said to give the gift of eloquence. Many versions exist of the origin of the stone, including a claim that it was the Lia Fáil — a numinous stone upon which Irish kings were crowned; and one that claims it is half of The Stone of Scone (pronounced scown – as in own). 

 

The Blarney Stone (Irish: Cloch na Blarnan) is a block of Carboniferous limestone  built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. Legend has it that those who kiss the stone are blessed with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446.

 

The word blarney means “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk”. An Irish politician defined it as “Blarney is something more than mere flattery. It is flattery sweetened by humour and flavoured by wit.”

 

A very interesting and fun morning. Once down from the castle I set off to explore the gardens and grounds.

A labyrinth of underground tunnels and passages, dating across various periods in the life of the castle, are mostly now inaccessible. 

 

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