Many people travel to Ireland with hopes of kissing the Blarney Stone and getting the gift of gab. Thankfully, Blarney Castle is a quick bus ride from Cork City, our second stop in Ireland.
After meeting a family friend, we walked over to Parnell Place Bus Station to catch a half hour bus to Blarney. To get there you take the 215 bus and get off at the Woolen Mill Stop. The bus drops you directly in front of the Blarney Castle grounds, so it’s a short walk to the ticket counter and you’re in. Admission is €13 for adults, €11 for students and €5 for children under 14.
The main path leads you straight to the impressive ruins of Blarney Castle, where you can climb the narrow staircase to kiss the stone. Along the way take a break from the stairs to explore the history behind the rooms of the castle and enjoy the views.
Blarney castle might not be for those with a fear of heights or claustrophobia. The staircase is very short and narrow- Joe barely fit at 5’11. Once you get the top you join the line to kiss the stone. The stone is further down the castle wall so in order to kiss it, you need to be lowered down backwards over the castle wall— don’t worry, there are bars in case your grip slips. They take your picture but be aware that it isn’t the most flattering angle and they charge a ridiculous amount for it.
Make sure that when you plan your trip to Blarney Castle, you allow enough time to explore the extensive grounds around the castle. Before visiting neither of us knew there was more than just the castle to explore— but the grounds included waterfalls, mansions and fun fairy tale landscapes.
The Poison Garden is an interesting stop on the grounds. It was created to educate people on poisonous plants and has several lethally poisonous plants and some household names that we would have never guessed could cause a reaction.
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After that take a walk to the Blarney House, a massive mansion located not far from the castle. During the summer months guests are able to explore the house and grounds. The house is almost as impressive as Blarney Castle, with a perfectly restored exterior and manicured grounds overlooking Blarney Lake.
Lastly, wander over to the Rock Close, an area of the grounds with beautiful tree groves and waterfalls. The waterfalls are beautiful but are surrounded by fun mythical sites like The Seven Sisters, a circle of standing stones, and the witches den, a wooded area said to be inhabited by the witch of Blarney Castle.
Once you’ve finished exploring the castle grounds be sure to stop in the Woolen Mills Store- the biggest Irish souvenir shop in Ireland. They had fun knick knacks and beautiful traditional Irish crafts.
Blarney Castle is a great day trip from Cork! It’s a great way to spend the afternoon and can be done in the off season if you are lucky enough to get a day with decent weather. Cork is a great base for day trips around the region. One of my favorite day trips in the area is the Ring of Kerry. This guide to the Ring of Kerry will help you plan out your day!