Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.
Now that might have something to do with the Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence, found at the top of our Tower. Kiss it and you’ll never again be lost for words. But don’t take our word for it – everyone from Sir Walter Scott to a host of American presidents, world leaders, and international entertainers has been eager to take advantage.
If people come for the Stone, many stay for the mystical and beautiful Rock Close and gardens. Time has its own rules here. So settle down and spend some of that time with us
Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster
The lower walls are fifteen feet, built with an angle tower by the McCarthys of Muskerry. It was subsequently occupied at one time by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, who is said to have supplied four thousand men from Munster to supplement the forces of Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Legend has it that the latter king gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude. This, now known as the Blarney Stone, was incorporated in the battlements where it can now be kissed.
The Earl of Leicester was commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to take possession of the castle. Whenever he endeavoured to negotiate the matter McCarthy always suggested a banquet or some other form of delay, so that when the queen asked for progress reports a long missive was sent, at the end of which the castle remained untaken. The queen was said to be so irritated that she remarked that the earl’s reports were all ‘Blarney’.
Cromwell’s General, Lord Broghill
The castle was eventually invested by Cromwell’s General, Lord Broghill, who, planting a gun on Card Hill opposite and above the lake below the present mansion or new castle, succeeded in breaking the tower walls. However, when his men entered the keep, he found two old retainers, the main garrison had fled by the underground caves situated below the battlements known as the Badgers Caves. There are three passages, one to Cork, one to the lake and one seemingly to Kerry. At any rate, all had gone together with the reputed gold plate.
Sold to Sir James St. John Jefferyes in 1688
A subsequent owner of the estate endeavoured to drain the lake at the bottom of which the plate was supposed to have been thrown. A fortune was spent in vain. The estate was forfeited by Donogh McCarthy, 4th Earl of Clancarthy, who supported James II in the Williamite Wars, the property passed to the Hollow Sword Blade Company who subsequently sold it to Sir James St. John Jefferyes, Governor of Cork in 1688.
Building of Blarney House
His son, by same the name, was Minister Plenipotentiary for England at the court of Charles Battle of Poltawa. He was rewarded with a full length portrait of the king and a ruby gilted sword which he subsequently sold to drain and improve all his land surrounding the castle. At the beginning of the eighteenth century during the reign of Queen Anne, Sir James St. John Jefferyes built a Georgian gothic house up against the keep of the castle as was then the custom all over Ireland. At the same time the Jefferyes family laid out a landscape garden known as the Rock Close with a remarkable collection of massive boulders and rocks arranged around what seemed to have been druid remains from pre-historic times. Certainly, many of the yew trees and evergreen oaks are extremely ancient. In 1820 the house was accidently destroyed by fire and the wings now form a picturesque adjunct to the keep, recently in the 1980s rearranged to give a better view of the keep. The Jefferyes intermarried on 14th January 1846 with the Colthurst family of Ardrum, Inniscarra and Ballyvourney, Co. Cork, and Lucan, Co. Dublin. The early children dying, Lady Colthurst decided to build the new castle in Scottish baronial style south of the present keep. This was completed in 1874 and has been the family home ever since.
How To Get Here
Blarney Castle is situated in Blarney Village which is 8 km northwest from Cork city in the South of Ireland.
Directions from Cork Airport
* From Airport follow signs for City Centre
* From City Centre follow signs for Limerick (N20)
* Travel for 7 km; exit left (signposted Blarney)
* Arrive at Blarney
Directions from Dublin
By Car: It takes 3-4 hours to get from Dublin to Cork. Take the N8 motorway and follow the signs south for Cork, then on to Blarney.
Public Transport: Trains leave for Cork on a regular basis. Check www.irishrail.ie for further information on timetables. Or phone Kent Train Station, Cork; Telephone + 353 21 456 766 www.buseireann.ie for bus timetables Aircoach: a bus leaves Dublin airport eight times a day directly for Cork, it is the cheapest way but can take anywhere from 5-7 hours depending on traffic. See www.aircoach.ie for more information.
Flights: A flight from Dublin to Cork is the fastest route, taking only 50 minutes. See www.ryanair.com, www.aerlingus.com, www.aerarann.com
Directions from Shannon
By Car: Follow the road to Limerick. Then follow signs for Mallow and take the turn off before Cork City to Blarney.
By Bus: There is a direct bus from Shannon Airport to Cork City, check out www.buseireann.ie for information on bus timetables.
There are no direct routes via train from Shannon to Cork.
Things to See
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Gardens & Flowers
The Witch Stone
The Battlements View
Blarney Stone from Below
The North Wall
Time Passes Slowly…
It is one of the most elegant and gracious of the Great Houses of Ireland. A family home now tastefully restored to its former glory.
Built in 1874 it is beautifully situated overlooking Blarney Lake.
It contains a fine collection of early furniture, family portraits, tapestries and works of art.
There are conducted tours of the house which is open during the Summer season. Please check our Visitor Info page for more details about our opening times.
The beautifully maintained gardens of lawns, shrubs, flower beds and trees gently slope towards the lake, providing a perfect setting for this gracious house.
A herd of cattle browse peacefully beneath ancient lime, oak, beech and gnarled walnut trees.
There are numerous woodland walks on the grounds of the Blarney Castle estate, through which winds the River Martin. In the arboretum you will find colorful displays of copper beech, ornamental pear, southern beech, nothofagus and evergreen oaks. Adjacent to the arboretum, one finds the Belgian Beds planted with hybrid azaleas, and a western red cedar tree from British Columbia.
5 miles from Cork City, 25 mins from Cork airport. 50 minutes from Ringaskiddy Port and Brittany Ferries from Roskoff.
* One Master bedroom with ensuite, bathroom/shower room and dressing room with spectacular views of lush green grass fields.
* One twin bedded bedroom with bathroom.
* An enormous bedroom with two beds.
* One self contained bedroom with shower room and own entrance corridor.
* One single bedroom.
* Sleeps 9-11.
The barn is located within the private gates of the world renowned Blarney Castle and is accessed down a private drive of over 1 mile long. The estate grounds are magnificent which includes the magical Rock Close.
Blarney village is a busy village with several restaurants and pubs set around a village square. In fact, it is one of the last remaining estate villages to remain intact. It is in easy distance of Cork City and other beautiful locations such as Kinsale & Cobh and also near the beautiful coastline and peninsulas of West Cork and Kerry. There are numerous golf courses, equestrian facilities and fishing in the area.
* The Barn also has its very own tennis course
* The huge Kitchen has 2 cookers, including a 2 door Aga.
* Dishwasher, American style Fridge/freezer with chilled water and ice machine.
* I-pod player in the kitchen.
* There are French doors leading from the kitchen onto the terrace.
* The utility room has a large fireplace suitable for logs that the estate can provide, if required. There is a sony flat screen TV in this room.
* The sitting room has a log burner in it. It is oil centrally heated and has been equipped to the highest standard with high quality, new beds.
* The kitchen is fully equipped and the linen, towelling etc is provided.
* The garden is entirely private and beautifully maintained by the gardeners of Blarney Castle.
Telephone: 00 353 21 4385252
Fax: 00 353 21 4381518
- Castles in Cork