Take a Guided Tour to Blarney Castle which is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork in the South of Ireland.  Though earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446. The famous Blarney Stone is among the machicolations of the castle.

The Castle originally dates from before 1200, when a wooden structure was believed to have been built on the site, but there is no evidence of this.  Around 1210 this was replaced by a stone-built fortification. It was destroyed in 1446 but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac Láidir MacCarthy, Lord of Muscry.

The Castle was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars and was seized in 1646 by Parliamentarian forces led by Lord Broghill.  However, after the Restoration, the Castle was restored to Donough MacCarty, who became First  Earl of Clancarty.

During the Williamite War in Ireland in the 1690s, the then 4th Earl of Clancarty was captured and his lands, including Blarney Castle, were confiscated by the Williamite forces.  Blarney Castle was sold and changed hands a number of times — Sir Richard Pyne, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, owned it briefly before it was purchased in the early 1700s by Sir James St John Jefferyes who at the time was Governor of Cork City. Members of the Jefferyes family later built a mansion near the keep. This house was destroyed by fire and in 1874 a replacement baronial mansion, known as Blarney House, was built overlooking the nearby lake.

The Castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle is the Stone of Eloquence, better known as the “Blarney Stone”. Tourists visiting Blarney Castle lie upside down over a sheer drop in order to kiss the stone, which is said to bestow the gift of eloquence, or as we say in Ireland,  “The gift of the Gab”.  There are many versions of the origin of the stone, including a claim that it was the Lia Fáil, a numinous stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.

There are extensive gardens surrounding the Castle with paths through the grounds with signs indicating the various attractions including several natural rock formations with fanciful names like Druid's Circle, Witch's Cave, and the Wishing Steps. The grounds include a poison garden with a number of poisonous plants, including wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin, and opium, as well as cannabis.

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"I called Jim at Ireland West Tours looking specifically for a day touring around Galway to do photography. The minute I mentioned this to Jim, he started talking about light and times of day and I knew I was on to the right person! I trusted Jim with the places he recommended and he did not let me down!"

Jan M., Drogheda, Ireland


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Satisfying the customer 

Over the years we have had several compliments on our drivers from many of our satisfied customers. Click on the link to "Tripadvisor" below to read, in full, the reviews of some of our many happy customers.

"We have travelled quite a bit and taken many tours. This tour is top notch and Jim is a master tour guide. And yes, we fed gorgeous Connemara ponies and adorable donkeys. It's incredible value, makes a great use of your time and is like hanging out with an old friend."

Mfarquar, Massachusetts, USA


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