Blarney Castle, County Cork

This 15th-century castle is the mecca of first-time visitors to Ireland, who hope to win the gift of eloquence by kissing the Blarney Stone. The magnificent keep, with Walls 85ft high and 12ft thick at the base, was built in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy, and withstood many sieges during the 16th and 17th centuries. The castle was finally captured in 1690 by King William III’s army, and was largely demolished.

The Blarney Stone is a block of rough limestone measuring 4ft by 1ft, set 83ft high in the battlements. To kiss it, you have to lie on your back and lean out over a sheer drop, with a pair of strong arms gripping your Shins. lt is scrubbed with disinfectant four times a day to prevent any risk of transmitting disease, Father Prout, the 19th-century humourist and poet, Wrote of it

“…a stone that whoever kisses

O he never misses

To grow eloquent.”

Blarney Castle House, on the estate, is a 19th-century Scottish Baronial mansion with a renovated interior and splendid gardens.

Blarney Castle is a must see attraction on your Ireland tours.