|Tom outside Blarney Castle|
|Walking around the gardens|
THE GARDENS - Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens. There are paths touring the grounds with signs pointing out the various attractions such as several natural rock formations which have been given fanciful names, such as Druid's Circle, Witch's Cave and the Wishing Steps. The grounds also include a Poison Garden which hosts a number of poisonous plants, including wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin, opium and cannabis. Blarney House, also open to the public, is a Scottish baronial-style mansion that was built on the grounds in 1874.
|Rob outside of Blarney|
To learn more about them, go to this website, specifically about the gardens: http://www.blarneycastle.ie/pages/the-gardens
WHY A WITCHES' GARDEN? -Once we returned from our trip I learned why there was a "Witches' Garden." According to the book "Haunted Ireland," legend has it that an ugly Witch of Blarney gave the famous Blarney Stone to Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, a former inhabitant of Blarney Castle. Apparently, Cormac and the Witch didn't get along because the story goes that the Witch now lies trapped beneath another rock in the castle grounds. Makes you wonder what the witch did!
|Druids had their own cave, too!|
|Inside the "Witches Kitchen"|
|The Druid Csve|
THEIR EXISTENCE KNOWN THROUGH OTHER CULTURES - Druids existed before 200 B.C. and they left no written accounts of themselves! The only evidence is a few descriptions left by Greek, Roman, and various scattered authors and artists, as well as stories created by later medieval Irish writers.
WHAT DID THEY DO? - They performed animal and even human sacrifice, believed in a form of reincarnation, and held a high position in Gaulish society. Next to nothing is known for certain about their practices, except for the ritual of oak and mistletoe as described by Pliny the Elder.
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