Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is situated not very far from Cork city.

The castle was built by Cormac MacCarthy in 1446.  Its Keep has 85ft high
walls which are 12 ft thick at the base.  It withstood many
sieges in the 16th and 17th centuries.  It was finally captured by King
William III's army in 1690, and was largely demolished.

The castle is famous for the Blarney stone, a block of limestone which
measures 4ft by 1ft and is situated high up in the battlements some 83 ft
from the ground.  In order to kiss it you must lie down on your back and
then lean out over a sheer drop.  Helpers keep a firm grip on your legs to
stop you from falling. Those who do kiss the stone are said to
be blessed with eloquence. The stone is disinfected four times a day. 
 The legend dates from the time of Elizabeth I.  George Cardew her
Deputy in Ireland asked Cormac MacDermot MacCarthy, Lord Blarney,
to give up the tradition of the Irish clans electing their chiefs and to give
his alliance to the Queen.  MacCarthy kept making promises to Carew till
the Queen exploded "Blarney! Blarney!
What he says he never means.  It's the usual Blarney!

In the 18th century the Jefferyes family developed the estate and the
tradition of kissing the stone was born.  Some think the stone may be
part of the ancient Stone of Scone, the crowning seat of
Scottish Kings.  That stone is now in Westminster Abbey, London.

Father Prout a 19th century poet wrote of the stone:
"...a stone that whoever kisses
O he never misses
To grow eloquent

The 15th century castle gives its name to the village too which was planned
in the 18th century as a wool-processing and linen centre.  The Blarney
woollen Mills were built around 1750 employ many people in the area
and are also huge tourist attraction as they have large shops with the best of irish produce, such as knitted garments,
including arans, Irish glass, pottery and linen.

Tower Blarney Castle

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