Day trip to Blarney Castle and Cork
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Blarney Castle is a 90 minute drive from Killarney. It is located in Blarney Village in County Cork, 9km from Cork City. It is one of the best know castles in Ireland and people come from all over the world to view the castle, kiss the famous Blarney Stone and experience the beautiful gardens.
Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftans*, Cormac MacCarthy. According to legend, Robert the Bruce of Scotland gave the stone to McCarthy in gratitude for sending him soldiers. This stone was incorporated into the structure of the castle, becoming the Blarney Stone.
The Blarney Stone is without a doubt the most famous part of Blarney Castle. It is located at the top of the castle’s tower. Legend has it that if you kiss it, you’ll receive the gift of eternal eloquence.* One has to lean over backwards in order to kiss it. Don’t worry! There is always someone there to assist you.
Rock Close is certainly worth a visit. There are many interesting things to see, including many Druid*-related structures. For instance, a sacrificial stone is situated so the first rays of the sun strike it at the appointed time for sacrifice. Other sights to see are the Wishing Steps, the Witches Kitchen, the Head Druid’s Cave, the Witches Stone, the Fairy Glade, and the Druids Circle.
Blarney Castle in Ireland should be at the top of any traveller’s itinerary. With the magnificent gardens, the beautiful castle, and the entertaining Blarney Castle history, visitors leave feeling like they’ve touched (even kissed) a genuine part of Irish history and tradition.
*Chieftan – leader of a tribe
*eloquence – the ability to speak charmingly and fluently
*Druid – a priest in the ancient Celtic religion
European Capital of Culture 2005, is the second largest city in Ireland situated 86km from Killarney. The Lonely Planet Guidebook recently rated Cork as one of its top 5 cities in the world. It describes the city as “sophisticated, vibrant and diverse”. It is a relatively small city with all the top high-street shops, both traditional and contemporary pubs, fine restaurants and a great night-life. Cork people are well-known as friendly, witty and sociable.Cork City was originally a monastic settlement but was developed by the Vikings as an important trading port in 915. It is known as the “Rebel County” because of its constant rebellions against the English. Cork people are fiercely proud of their both their history and their considerable sporting achievements, particularly in Gaelic Football* and Hurling*
Places of Interest:
- Patrick Street – this is the biggest street in Cork and the main shopping area
- The English Market – famous indoor food market dating back to 1788. Here you can find fresh fish, crubeens*, tripe*, drisheen* (traditional local food) as well as food from all corners of the world.
- Church of St. Anne, Shandon Street – the most famous Catholic church in Cork City.
- Crawford Municipal Art Gallery – displaying Irish and International Art.
- St. Finbarr’s Anglican Church – a beautiful building in the centre of the city
- University College Cork – one of Europe’s top universities
*crubeen – pig’s feet
*Gaelic football – the most popular traditional sport
*tripe – cow’s stomach
*Hurling – a traditional Irish game played with sticks
*drisheen – made from cow’s or sheep’s blood