Known as ‘the biggest little village in Ireland’, Blarney is a picturesque destination surrounded by beautiful wooded countryside in county Cork. Be swept up in romantic vistas and typically Irish attractions as part of your Blarney tour and experience Ireland at its charming best.
Things to do in Blarney, Ireland
The popular Irish tourist attraction, the Blarney Stone is said to give those who kiss it the ‘gift of the gab’ or great eloquence. Nobody really knows where the stone comes from but stories of its origin range from it being a part of the Stone of Scone to it being the Lia Fáil, a magical stone on which Irish kings were crowned. The tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone has endured for hundreds of years and to this day over 200,000 people a year climb the tower of Blarney Castle to take part in the ritual.
The ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone involves leaning backward over the parapet’s edge while holding on to metal rails for balance. Attendants are on hand to give you a steady guide and a metal grid prevents people from falling, unlike the 1800s when people were hung precariously by their ankles over the 85-foot drop in order to kiss the stone.
But the Blarney Stone is not the only reason people visit Blarney Castle. Built in 1446 on the ruins of a much earlier structure, the castle is a fantastic example of medieval fortification – its walls are 18 inches thick in places! The views from the top of the castle are worth the climb, taking in gorgeous Irish countryside as far as the eye can see.
A walk through the centre of Blarney village will take you to The Square, or village green, which was the focal point of medieval Blarney. The large grassed open space where markets were held in the past and these days locals relax with a picnic in summer is the perfect place to soak up the essence of this lovely destination in Ireland.
The oldest functioning building on The Square is the Church of the Resurrection. Built in 1776 for the Church of Ireland, Blarney’s quaint Protestant chapel still holds services every Sunday morning and is a poignant touchstone on a Blarney tour.
Some of Blarney’s most famous exports are its woollen handcrafts and a visit to the Blarney Woollen Mills will show you why as you appreciate the quality of local craftsmanship. This converted factory not only sells quality wool jumpers, gloves and scarves, it is Ireland’s Largest Irish Store, stocking a massive range of authentic Irish souvenirs from Waterford Crystal to Celtic jewellery. You’re sure to find that special something to remind you of your Irish vacation here.