the castle, what "Blarney" really means, and we found out what the "Blarney" is about the attraction itself! Come along!
WHAT IS BLARNEY CASTLE? - Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland, and the River Martin. It dates back to 1200, and although earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy family of the "Muskerry dynasty," a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446. The castle is basically in ruins. You walk through the ruins to get to the top (and go up cramped, stone, spiral staircases - it must've been tough to be a guard then and run down those stairs with a sword). - **In fact, most of the floors used to be made of wood, and rotted away, allowing you to see all of the floors from the center of the castle.
Anyway, the entire visit to the castle is basically to direct you to the Blarney Stone. The Blarney Stone is found among the machicolations of the castle.
|the ruins of a room with a fireplace. Wood floors disintegrated|
|Looking down into the former kitchen|
DISCOVERING THE BLARNEY - Okay, here's the real "blarney." We noticed that there were literally busloads of retired and elderly people who were being transported to Blarney Castle to see the famous Blarney Stone. Awesome, right? Wrong. What you don't learn until you get there, or unless you research it, is that the Blarney Stone sits at the HIGHEST POINT in the castle. To get there, you have to ascend cramped, spiral staircases and go up about 600 feet or so (It could be higher, I'm a poor judge of height because I'm afraid of heights!).
SO, all of the elderly people who had canes, walkers and wheelchairs (and there were a good number) or had breathing, lung or heart issues (there were a good number) could NOT go up the stairs to see the Blarney stone!
That's a bunch of Blarney. We wondered why they didn't move the damned stone to the first floor so everyone could see it and enjoy it. (Yeah, it may have been put there before, but it can be moved - they do that with museum pieces).
|Tom in a guard's bedroom|
NEXT: To Kiss or not? A Local Legend about the Blarney Stone, and a Ghost