One of Ireland's greatest treasures and internationally famous, the impressive Blarney Castle was built by Cormac MacCarthy in 1446. It was constructed to replace the earlier wooden structure that occupied the site from about 1200. From its completion, the castle saw a relatively turbulent history, and as a result it was lived in less and less frequently. In 1874 the then-owners built Blarney House, a baronial mansion more suited to living in, in the castle's grounds. Today Blarney Castle is partially ruined, though a number of rooms and battlements are open to the public.
Kissing the Blarney Stone
The most famous attraction in the grounds is the popular Blarney Stone, set in the walls at the top of the castle. Also known as the Stone of Eloquence, kissing the stone is said to give a person the 'gift of the gab', with legend going as far as to claim that the speaker will "never be lost for words again". There are differing versions of the history of the stone, though many believe it is part of the stone on which the Irish kings were crowned. There is also a selection of beautifully tended gardens in the castle's extensive grounds, ensuring that this fantastic attraction remains as popular as ever to visitors.