The Blarney Castle is named for the fabled stone that is built into it. The Blarney Stone brings visitors from various foreign nations to come kiss it and earn the gift of eloquence, but Taylor and I found the surrounding property to be more mystical than the cherished stone.
Rain lingered and was replaced by a light fog as Taylor and I explored the grounds. The first feature we noticed was a stone circle named the Seven Sisters. A certain Irish king is said to have ordered two of the nine stones be knocked over to leave seven standing sisters after his two sons were killed in battle.
Walking past the ancient Yew “Three Wise Men” left Taylor and I standing among tall bamboo and heading toward bog waterfalls. Beyond the bog lay woodland trails that wind through the property.
We found a bubbling spring, a lush green pasture, and a fallen tree shaped into a throne before being lead to the Wishing Steps. Posted information suggested that a certain method of ascending the stairs would grant one wish from the inhabitant of the several thousand year old Witch’s Kitchen atop the steps.
The Witch’s Kitchen is a cave-like opening complete with a chimney and tucked under the root system of a large, dark tree. This dwelling was nearly as impressive in its own right as the one we’d walk to next.
The Blarney Castle that stands today was built in 1446 by the King of Munster. Its Great Hall is smaller than I’d expected, but the remainder of the castle is more extensive than I could’ve imagined. Chambers, halls, and a ‘murder pit’ were all along the climb to the top of castle where the stone was lay into the wall.
We made it to the top of the castle to find two gentlemen tasked with helping visitor’s literally bend over backward to kiss the stone. Once we’d been imparted with a mystical experience and kissed a stone, we left to prepare for another night in Ballincollig.