Blarney , County Cork

Although it is best noted for its tweed industry in the 18th century , Blarney has become best known for the Blarney Stone , set in the castle’s battlements 83ft above the ground. According to legend kissing the stone – and it is no easy task – bestows the gift of eloquence.

Tradition has it that this gift was first used by Cormac McCarthy , Lord of Muskerry and Blarney , to avoid accepting the authority of Elizabeth I. He is said to have been able to talk “the noose off his head”.

The castle itself is an impressive fortification, built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy , King of Munster. Its walls are 18ft thick. The Rock Close in the castle grounds is reputedly built on Druidic remains.

Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone are a real must see on your Ireland tours.