We had passed signs for Blarney castle many a time on our drive from the Rosslare Ferry in the East to Killarney in the West of Ireland and although I’d heard of the Blarney stone and knew you had to kiss it, I didn’t know a lot more about it. We decided that it was time to find out and received some unexpected benefits when we did!
The grounds are situated only 15 minutes drive out from Cork, making it a lovely excursion, or a bit more of a leisurely 75 minutes from Killarney but well worth the trip, not only do you get a castle and to kiss the stone but in addition, a myriad of other things to explore from waterfalls to sculpture trails, poison gardens to wishing steps,witches kitchens, gorgeous gardens and a pooh stick bridge.
Once you pay at the door, it covers entry to everywhere else and kids under 8 go free. Great value. We had been telling Millie about Blarney castle and the stone and trying to explain what it was and how you kiss it. She even practised on some chairs the night before to make sure she was ready for the challenge. We were told on arrival that you had to be aged 8 to kiss the stone but we were keeping our fingers crossed she’d get away with it.
We simplified the story a little for Millie (4) by telling her that the legend was that if she kissed the stone, she would have the gift of being able to talk so well that she didn’t need to whine any more (she does like to talk in whine a lot!). It was sort of parent joke to see if we could get away with it rather than being too serious. She was however really excited when she saw the castle and bounded up the steps, counting them as she went, eager to get to the top and see what the fuss was all about. The steps are in a spiral as they often are in ye olde castles and are very steep, so take care.
At the top of the castle, overlooking the battlements at quite a height, there is someone waiting to lower you head first down a hole backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone where you’re almost dangling in the air. Millie is not the bravest when it comes to trying new things so imagine our surprise when she ran up, laid down, turned upside down and kissed the stone. She was so proud that she’d achieved it. After we’d taken our turn, we reminded her that she now didn’t have to whine anymore. Do you know what? It only worked didn’t it?!!!
Ok maybe it was only for about a week but we had absolutely no whining, it was like magic. The stone obviously only has limited power though and it wears off after a while. So we’re now going to be moving to Cork so we can plan a weekly visit….(sign….maybe not, but we will be returning)
Aside from the magic of the stone, the place has us completely under it’s spell, there was so much to do there and it was so beautiful at the height of Autumn. It was perfect for the kids to explore, with each nook and cranny of the place uncovering a new secret.
We could have easily spent the whole day there and will definitely be going back. We also started a new collection here, we found a children’s book about the Blarney Stone. It’ll act as a nice reminder each time we read it and hopefully we’ll build up quite the collection of travel stories.