Blarney Castle & Village – Ireland
DAY 11 – Blarney Castle was built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy. The medieval building we see today is the third structure built on this site. The first was a wooden structure built in the 10th century, which was replaced by a stone structure in 1210. The castle was once occupied by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster. He is said to have sent some 4,000 Munster men to assist Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn. In gratitude, Robert the Bruce gifted half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy and these were incorporated into the structure of the castle, which became the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle’s history includes legends about Cromwell, Queen Elizabeth and other famous figures. You can read the stories during the tour of the Castle. To reach the top one has to climb some 127 steps.
The castle grounds offer attractive walks. Rock Close garden was created in the 18th century. Rock Close is worth a visit, but explore it during the day. It is said to be rather creepy at night and when you walk through it you’ll understand why.
There are many interesting things to see, including several Druid-related structures. Look for the sacrificial stone which is situated so that when the first rays of the sun strike it, it is the appointed time for sacrifice. Other sights to see are the Wishing Steps, the Witch’s Kitchen, the Head Druid’s Cave, the Witch’s Stone, the Fairy Glade, and the Druids’ Circle. In the gardens you will also find a grove of ancient yew trees and limestone rock formations.
Blarney Village is noted for its wool and markets. Blarney Woollen Mills is a 30,000 square ft. retail store and is one of Ireland’s oldest and most authentic Irish woollen mills. Here you’ll find all kinds of woollen garments and souvenirs. I bought myself a nice black and grey scarf from here.