Many years ago when I was a child on holidays I remember my father bringing us to Blarney Castle and kissing the stone. At least I have a vague memory of it and if it has done me any good then nearly forty years of broadcasting can be my proof!
Although I remember that visitors had to lean backwards to kiss the stone, while being helped to hold on to two iron bars, one on each side, I cannot remember the surroundings very well. So it was a pleasure to be able to visit the Castle once again, this time with a coach party of fifty (**in deference to my wife and at least two others I must add the word: MAINLY) retired people from the Tyrone and Monaghan areas.
The 100 or so steps inside the castle tower are narrow and steep and you have to be careful not to knock your head when you go through entrances or archways. But the view from the battlements is worth the climb.
Kissing the famous stone is said to give you the “gift of the gab”. The story has featured in movies, including one starring Bing Crosby, as one of the information boards reminds visitors. The history of the Castle can be found here. Blarney Castle, as viewed by the modern day visitor, is the third building to have been erected on the site. The first in the tenth century was a wooden structure. Around 1210 A.D. this was replaced by a stone structure which had the entrance some twenty feet above the ground on the north face. This building was demolished for foundations. In 1446 the third castle was erected by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster and the keep still remains standing.
Blarney House was designed by Sir Thomas Lanyon and was built in 1874 by the Jefferyes family. It is in the same Scottish baronial style as Stormont Castle or Castle Leslie. It is private and only open to the public during the summer. It is the home of Sir Charles Colthurst. It was interesting to see him interviewed in a recent television documentary on Ireland presented by James Nesbitt on UTV.