"Being a Tourist in My Own Backyard" Top 5 Page for this destination Blarney Castle by Ekaterinburg

Blarney Castle Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 165 photos

Checking Out Blarney Castle

This summer I'm conducting a little experiment - being a tourist in my own area. Previously on VT I had never mentioned Blarney, not even as an 'Off the Beaten Path' tip on my Cork page and I suppose I would have to admit that the reason for this is because I considered it to be a just a tourist trap and a potential waste of visitors time and money. However, the sheer volume of questions about Blarney on the Irish travel forums has made me realise that it's still high on the 'must-see' list for many visitors to Ireland. I go to Blarney regularly to shop at the Woolen Mills or take a stroll round the village but two weeks ago I bit the bullet and headed off to the Castle. Camera in hand, I queued up with people from all over the world to see what exactly is on offer and if it's worth the bother.

The gardens and other points of interest

What's on offer is a chance to visit this imposing example of an Irish medieval castle. The grounds are extensive and are worth visiting in their own right. They vary from open grassy spaces to densely wooded areas with the River Martin wending its way throughout. Points of interest such as the Rock Close and Badger's Cave are clearly signposted and all along the way are mounted oval plaques with information, history and anecdote. These I was glad to see, did not lay on the Paddy-whackery with a trowel. They were informative and referred to all the local legends but were very clearly tongue-in-cheek. I was glad to see this vote of confidence in tourist's intelligence and after this I approached the whole experience with a much more open mind.

It's important to say here that I am trying to view this experience in terms of value for money for visitors to Ireland. At EUR 12 to visit the grounds,the castle and kiss the stone, it's maybe a little expensive. If the whole thing turns you off then give it a miss as it's unlikey that you will change your mind. But if spending a pleasant few hours in a nice Irish village with a chance to visit the castle thrown in appeals to you, then you won't be disappointed. I was quite surprised by how much people were obviously enjoying themselves and children especially were really getting into the whole castle and dungeon vibe.

Don't forget the Village

Blarney is a delightful village with a perfectly maintained village green surrounded by pretty cottages. Don't forget to leave time to stroll round and maybe have a drink or a bite to eat at one of the local pubs. The Blarney Woolen Mills is well worth a visit as well ,for shopping or just browsing. It's expensive certainly but the merchandise is top class and despite appearances, it's not just for tourists. This is where most people in Cork go to buy their wooly jumpers and it's a very popular Sunday afternoon destination.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Much better than I thought it would be
  • Cons:Can be crowded in summer and not for the cynical
  • In a nutshell:Kiss the stone but DON"T buy the certificate !
  • Last visit to Blarney Castle: Jul 2007
  • Intro Updated Sep 18, 2012
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Reviews (10)

Comments (15)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jun 8, 2010 at 5:22 AM

    Thanks for your interesting story, Katherine!

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2007 at 10:51 AM

    I'm delighted you decided to play tourist in your own hometown. This is a lovely page. Grazie, Carol

  • ettenaj's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2007 at 3:15 PM

    I really enjoyed my day in Blarney Castle the grounds are really nice, especially the huge trees!!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2007 at 1:33 PM

    Glad to hear that those plaques "did not lay on the Paddy-whackery with a trowel". I don't know if this is a permissible question, but isn't it a bit unhygienic if hundreds or thousands of people kiss the same spot on that same stone?

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2007 at 8:41 PM

    A delightful 'tourist-perspective' visit to your home turf! The area looks beautifully scenic (and green!) and Blarney Castle somewhat less a 'tourist trap' than might be expected.

  • irishgalmtl's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2007 at 7:30 PM

    Hello there Katherine, Long time no hear I've been a tad busy lately sorry so late on my responce. All is well thank you. Hope all Is going well for you. What a great pg your pics and stories makes me wanna be there.. Thank you for sharing... Donna :)

  • christine.j's Profile Photo
    Aug 8, 2007 at 8:44 AM

    I've heard about kissing the stone but thought it was a standing stone in a garden. Your description gives me a whole different idea! Somehow I think I'd rather be quiet for the rest of my life.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Aug 6, 2007 at 9:59 AM

    Really your experiment - being a tourist in your own area was a success. Such an interesting place worth a visit no doubt! I'm envious you could do it near your home. Thanks Katherine for the virtual tour.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2007 at 7:19 PM

    Thank you for the 'real' goods on the Blarney Stone! I would not mind a wander around the castle grounds, the beautiful Village Green or even anything in Ireland! Hats off to you for finding the owner of the sunglasses!

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2007 at 2:19 PM

    I didn't kiss the Blarney stone ...but I really love your sunglasses story. Very well and funnily written. Good night from dark Germany... :-)

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