As one of Ireland’s most famous landmarks, the Blarney Stone is not to be missed when exploring Ireland. Here is everything you need to know about the Blarney Stone.
The Blarney Stone is surrounded by countless myths and legends, which attract thousands of visitors to the site every year. The Blarney Stone is part of the beautiful Blarney Castle in County Cork.
Over 400,000 people from all over the world visit the Blarney Stone, many of which end up giving it a quick kiss.
Many believe that the stone has powers that, when kissed, the bestower will be given the gift of eloquence. Another legend speculates that in kissing this infamous stone, you will be gifted with a silver tongue, otherwise known as the gift of the gab.
This iconic stone is set in a wall of Blarney Castle, which was constructed in 1446. Before that, the site was home to a 13th-century castle. The stone is a block of bluestone that has been built into the battlements of Blarney Castle.
Various myths and legends are surrounding the origins of the Blarney Stone. One such story is that the stone was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Once in Ireland, the stone became known as the Fatal Stone and was used as an oracular throne of Irish kings.
The story goes that the stone was then sent to Scotland where it was believed it had the prophetic power of royal succession. Later, when a King of Munster went to Scotland to help defeat the English, it is said that a portion of the stone was returned to Ireland as a sign of gratitude.
Other stories surrounding this stone say that the Blarney Stone was the stone that Moses struck, causing it to gush water. Another story is that a witch who was saved from drowning revealed the stone’s power.
It wasn’t until 2014 that scientists were able to confirm the stone’s origins as being 100% Irish. Whether you prefer the fantastical stories of the stone or are just happy visiting one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions, the Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle are a must-visit when exploring Ireland.
When to visit – to make the most of your experience
The Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle are open all year round apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Although the opening hours may vary depending on the time of year, the attraction is usually open between 9 am and at least 5 pm.
As the Blarney Stone is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, it can get extremely busy there. The busiest times are between 10 am and 2 pm, so we would advise heading here in the afternoon to avoid the longest queues!
What to see – best bits
No trip to Blarney Castle would be complete without climbing to the top of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone.
Climb 125 steps, which are old and worn to reach the battlements where the stone is. From here, you lean back while holding onto an iron railing to kiss the stone.
After giving the stone a quick smooch, be sure to admire the views from atop the battlements. You can see the beautiful Cork countryside, with bogs and rivers while overlooking the entire castle grounds and gardens. It is truly breathtaking!
While the Blarney Stone is what Blarney Castle is most famous for, there is so much more to see inside the castle grounds.
Head beneath the castle to what is believed to have been the castle’s prison. Explore the labyrinth of underground passageways and chambers that make up the castle’s very own dungeon.
The gardens are home to the Witch Stone, which is said to imprison the spirit of the Witch of Blarney.
It is said that this is the witch that informed mortals of the Blarney Stone’s power. Legends say that the witch is released after nightfall, and early-morning visitors have claimed that they have seen the dying embers of a fire in the Witch Stone.
There is a collection of gardens to be explored that are within the castle grounds. The Poison Garden is always a hit with both young and old, as it contains some of the world’s most dangerous and toxic plants.
Things to know – important information
The queue for kissing the Blarney Stone can sometimes be hours long. Therefore, it is best to arrive early in the morning before peak times, so you don’t have to wait too long.
People usually spend about three hours at Blarney Castle. However, this can be longer depending on the length of the queue for kissing the Blarney Stone. For those with interest in horticulture, you could easily spend a whole day exploring the castle and gardens.
Tickets are cheaper if they are bought online here.
Online tickets for adults are €16, student tickets are €13, and child tickets are €7.
There are guidebooks available in a range of languages, which will help give you a greater insight into the history of this incredible landmark.