"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

There are massive gardens surrounding Blarney castle with paths taking walkers past various attractions such as several natural rock formations with fanciful names such as Druid’s Circle, Witch’s Cave and the Wishing Steps. The grounds include a poison garden with a number of poisonous plants; and a couple of stunning waterfalls.  

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The Giant Dolmen resting near the river’s edge is a

megalithic rock structure created by one rock balancing atop

another and is considered a portal dolmen. No one knows

much about the history of this dolmen and whether it a tomb,

a grave, or a memorial. 

 

The Rock Close area of the gardens were landscaped around the prehistoric monuments and dwellings that already existed on the property. Rumour has it that this particular dolmen dates back over 5,000 years. 

 

There are also ghostly accounts of the rock moving on its own! Dolmens usually represent single chambered megalithic tombs and consist of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone. I could walk from one side to the other, albeit hunched over. 

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It is said that for centuries the Blarney witch has taken wood from the estate for use in her kitchen. In return she must grant visitors’ wishes. Apparently, if you are able to walk up and back down these steps, without tripping or falling, facing backwards to the way you are walking, and with your eyes closed; and thinking of nothing other than a wish – your wish will come true within a year.

 

I walked up. I walked back down..

I didn’t fall.

Time will tell. 

                                                                  Historians say that this cave, known as The Witches Kitchen, was home to the very first Irish cave dwellers, but if you arrive early enough in the morning, you may still see the dying embers of the witches’ kitchen fire. She lights her fire every night to help stave off the cold. 

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Rock Close area in the gardens is rich in Druid heritage and these stones formed part of an ancient Druid Circle and sacrificial altar. It is claimed that when standing inside a circle, evil spirits cannot harm you. Snakes played a crucial role in the Druids ancient and mystical rituals. It is said that’s why St Patrick was so keen to banish them from Ireland. 

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The faerie folk of Ireland are famed for their mischief and charm. They have of course been around a lot longer than anyone realises and here in Faerie Glade they are kept safe. They are also very cunning and visitors are warned if they spot a faerie, not to be taken in by their sweet charm. 

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The Wollemi Pine is one of the world’s rarest and oldest tree species, belonging to a 3 million year old plant family. It was presumed to be extinct until discovered by bushwalkers in Wollemi National Park, just outside Sydney in Australia. The largest wild Wollemi pine tree is 40m tall with a trunk of 63cm in diameter. Thought to be widespread across Gondwana; there are now less than 100 adult pines world wide. 

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                                             These Yew trees are known as ‘The Three Wise Men’ due to the                                                  fact that they are at least 500-600 years old. Yew trees can survive up to 2,000 years and are found throughout Europe, as far east as Iran; with many planted in Christian graveyards, presumably due to their longevity. The leaves are highly toxic to both humans and animals, which would probably explain why Yews are rarely found on farmlands. 

A famous King of Munster who once ruled these lands had seven daughters and two

sons. His arch enemy was a powerful clan chief and when the time came for the king to                                               defend his lands, the army rode out to battle with the king and his two sons at the head. Although victorious, both sons were killed. Marching back to the castle, the army passed the ancient druid’s stone circle that had stood for millennia. Overcome by grief, the king instructed a contingent of men to push over two of the nine standing stones, to forever commemorate his fallen sons. The seven that remain standing to this day are known as ‘The Seven Sisters’ and form the central feature of a garden of grasses and perennial flowers, which are a great contrast to the large immobile rocks that dominate the space. The garden dies and lives anew with the changes of season, but the rock structures stand timeless.  

I explored the surrounds and beautiful gardens and then went walkabout to find Blarney Mansion, which unfortunately was closed by the time I got there.

 

A magnificent building dating back to 1874, that although built in the Scots Baronial style, looked more like it belonged on the side of a German or French mountain, rather than the green countryside of Ireland! 

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I walked along the Blarney Lough (lake), through some stunning countryside and then back to the village of Blarney, which has become a major tourist attraction in County Cork. 

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Mostly people come to see the castle, kiss the stone, and shop at the Blarney Woolen Mills, which were built in 1823, The mill, originally known as Mahony’s Mills, was a water powered mill producing mainly tweeds and woolens. After closing in the early 1970s, the mill was re-opened by a local entrepreneur as a gift store for tourists visiting the village.

My aching feet dragged me back just in time to catch the bus back to Cork City. All in all I walked a total of 6.5km’s in Blarney, but my feet felt like it was a lot further than that! 

I had a quick look around the woolen mills; visited the local church, then went in search of an ancient Gothic bridge, which turned out to be a lot further away than I was told.

The church of the Immaculate Conception a Catholic Church,built in 1900, is a beautiful building both inside and out. The stained glass windows as with most churches in England and Ireland, are something to behold.

 

One response to “Rekindling old friendships #7 – kiss that stone! #2”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Wow you have seen so much and you really go out of your way to make sure you see everything wherever you go! Good for you and I WISH that your WISH comes true!

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