Kissing the Blarney Stone

You’ve likely heard of the famous Blarney Stone in Ireland, but do you know why people travel from all over the world to see (and kiss) it?! No one knows for sure what the origins of the stone are (including where it’s “powers” came from), but the tradition has been around for centuries!

Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone you’ll get the “gift of gab,” or the ability to speak with eloquence and flattery. In fact, Britain’s most well-known prime minister, Winston Churchill, even paid a visit to the stone! And all of his famous speeches were made AFTER he kissed the stone. Coincidence?

I’m definitely a chatty person, but public speaking isn’t really my forte. Because of this, I’ve always been intrigued by the legend of the stone and couldn’t wait to visit earlier this month on my trip to Ireland, to hopefully get that extra push to give me the true “gift of gab.”

Kissing the Blarney Stone

History of Blarney Castle

First, a quick rundown on the history on the Blarney Castle. The original castle was built in the 10th century (which is such a crazy thought) with a wood foundation. A couple centuries later, the castle was redone with a stone foundation (Ireland has an insane amount of limestone). Unfortunately the castle was destroyed in the 1400s from battles, but Cormac MacCarthy, the King of Munster had it rebuilt shortly after. Today, the castle remains, but is considered a partial ruin, as not all of it is fully in tact.

It wasn’t until the late 1800s that people began to come to visit Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone. Fortunately for us today, those iron bars were put in for safety – years ago visitors would have to be held by their ankles!

Kissing the Blarney Stone

To get to the Blarney Stone you have to make your way to the top (open) floor of the castle. It’s worth noting that you’ll be taking quite a few uneven spiral stone steps to get there! It gets so tight at times that you have to step sideways and grab hold of a rope that goes all the way to the top, for balance. So be sure to wear solid walking shoes!

Blarney Castle stairs

The view from the top floor of the castle are absolutely stunning. But before you can really take a good look around, you need to decide if you want to kiss the Blarney Stone. And interesting fact – not everyone does! I’ve heard that some people think it’s too unsanitary (which I mean is probably true but we visited on a rainy day so I like to think any germs were washed away), but the biggest thing is the heights.

It’s hard to tell from a picture, but basically there’s a sizable gap between the castle flooring and the wall where the stone is located. There are a couple bars underneath so you’re not 100% exposed when leaning back (along with having an employee there to support your back), but when I laid down and leaned back to kiss the stone, over half of my body was hanging over the edge, AND I had to stretch out and reach pretty far back and down to give it a quick kiss!

While I like roller coasters, I’m generally not a fan of heights. The experience was a little intimidating but at the same time it happened so quickly and my adrenaline was definitely pumping! All in all, I’m really glad I did it!

Blarney Stone

Exploring the Castle Grounds

After hitting the main attraction (Blarney Stone), we decided to explore a little more of the beautiful castle grounds. One of the most interesting spots we found was the Poison Garden (yes, you read that right) located right behind the castle. The garden was originally used for medicinal and culinary purposes, but today, it acts as an educational garden, showing visitors poisonous types of plants that are commonly found in the wild. One I found particularly interesting? The mandrake. If you’re a fellow Harry Potter fan, you’ll appreciate it too!

We also came across a beautiful mansion, which totally reminded me of Downton Abbey. Unfortunately it was under renovation during our visit, but it didn’t stop us from standing out front to admire it for a while. I mean, can you imagine living in a place like this?!

What do you think – would you kiss the Blarney Stone? Do you believe in the legend?

Share:
  • Taylor

    Totally adding this to my bucket list…your photography is beautiful!! <3

    • Thanks, Taylor! I hope you’re able to make it to the Blarney Stone someday soon!

  • Miss ALK

    I’ve heard of the Blarney Stone but had no idea of the cool history behind it! Thank you for sharing all of this!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

  • What an interesting tradition! I’d definitely partake and kiss the stone, how fun!

  • I’ve always wanted to do this!! My younger sister just went to Ireland last spring for her senior trip and she had a blast! The photos she had from her trip were amazing.

    • That’s awesome! I wish I was able to take a trip or study abroad when I was younger! Very thankful I have the opportunity to do it now though! I hope you can get there someday soon, girl!

  • Those stairs look a little scary! But such a cool bucket list item!

    • They were! Idk how anyone could brave the hike up to the top of the castle and not kiss the stone!

  • This is on my bucket list! Looks like a gorgeous place to visit. :)

    • So glad to hear that! It’s beautiful! I hope you get to check it out yourself soon!

  • This is on a bucket list for sure- looks so beautiful!

    • It is!! I hope you can check it off your list in the near future :)

  • I would totally kiss the Blarney Stone if we ever got to visit! It’s so funny to me that you have to lay down to do it! So many great photos in this post!

    • Thanks, Kuleigh! I thought so too! And it’s SO far back! A little intimidating but I’m glad I did it!

  • I want to go here and experience the same! Looks like so much fun!

    • It was a blast! Such a beautiful place to explore and cross a bucket list item off!

  • I would LOVE to go there and kiss the Blarney Stone! I’ve heard that the gap is so much bigger than it actually looks!

    • It really is! I was so surprised but it all happened so fast I didn’t even have time to think twice about it, haha.

  • Rachel Ritlop

    I’d totally love to visit! Ireland is such a gorgeous place!

    • It really is! I feel like we barely scratched the surface during our visit too – still so much to go back and see next time!

  • Adriana

    What an incredible place to visit!! I’d love to go one day – love these shots!

    • Thanks, Adriana! It was beautiful! Definitely worth spending a few hours strolling around!

  • Oh my goodness, I would be so intimidated having to lean back like that! I’m terrified of heights, and it makes me a little nervous just looking at it. Haha.

    I’m so glad that you blogged about your experience! If I make it there, I now know what to expect :)

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

    • It was for sure! But they had to keep things moving so I didn’t have too much time to sit there to process it, haha. It was such a rush of adrenaline! So glad I did it though!

  • How fun! That was one thing I didn’t do when I visited Ireland, but I wish I would have visited the poison garden!

    • You’ll have to keep it in mind for your next trip back ;) Which part(s) of Ireland did you visit?

      • Just Dublin twice now and only for a few days. Love the city, but I def wish we would’ve tried to see/do more!

  • This is so cool! I’d love to visit but to be honest, I don’t know if I’d be able to do those stairs!

    • They were a little freaky at first but we got used to them! Fortunately you can step off on floors to take a break from them. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed going all the way up straight!

  • I want to go to Ireland so bad! I didn’t know about this place and now is definitely on my list!

    • It’s a beautiful place! So glad to hear it made your list :)

  • Wow, I learned something new today! I’m not big on leaning out over things that aren’t covered, so power to you for kissing the stone- I probably would’ve been too scared lol

    • Glad to hear that :) I’m not normally a fan of things involving heights but this was a huge bucket list item that I couldn’t pass up!

  • I would love to kiss the Blarney stone one day, mainly because my Grandma told me about visiting Ireland to kiss it when I was a little girl so it makes me think of her. I would be a bit afraid to kiss the stone though because I AM afraid of heights.

    • That’s so cool! I’m a little freaked out about heights too so it was a good conquering of that fear! And it’s such a cool thing to cross off your bucket list!

  • mckenna bleu

    This is soooo cool. I want to go here so badly.

  • Amy

    This is so stinkin’ cool! my roommate did that a fwe years back and I woudl love to do it one day

    • Definitely a bucket list item! I hope you get there one day, Amy!

  • Anna Hubbard

    Whaaat, there’s mandrakes there? Booking my plane ticket now, haha! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but it’s so cool that you were able to!

    • Right?! I was so excited when I saw that, haha. It was on my bucket list for what seems like forever too! Hopefully you’ll be able to check it off yours too!

  • Angeline Holub

    I never knew about this tradition. Such a cool experience!

    • It is! So glad I was able to visit and check it off my bucket list!

  • Ah I had no idea you had to learn back so far! looks like fun, though!

    • It’s definitely a lot further than I realized when looking at pictures! Such a rush though – I’m so glad I did it!

  • That is so neat! I wanna go there so bad and try this out :)

    • I was so excited to cross this one off my bucket list! Definitely a unique experience :) I hope you can get there someday soon, Kristen!

  • I need to go kiss the Blarney Stone so I can have the gift of gab! My words always get twisted when I’m trying to say something important, haha. It looks so awesome!

    • I feel you, girl! I feel like my public/group speaking is already improving since :) Hope you can get there soon to do the same!

  • You’re brave! I wouldn’t have been able to do that! What a fun experience.
    -Nicholle
    http://www.nichollesophia.com

    • It was definitely intimidating but also such a rush! So glad I did it!

  • OMG this looks so FUN! I really want to try to do this soon, saving this on my pinterest board!

    • So glad to hear that, Ashley! It’s definitely an awesome travel experience!

  • Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    WOW! I’ve never heard of this! So Cool!

  • This is so neat—and it sounds like it was a really fantastic experience! I can’t say for sure whether I would kiss it or not, though.

    Molly // Miss Molly Moon

    • It really was! I started thinking the same thing but then thought I can’t go all the way there and not! Haha

  • Tori Dunlap

    I lived in Ireland for 6 months, so obviously Blarney Castle made the cut of places to go. But it was actually my least favorite castle I visited. Would be curious to know if you visited any others.
    Tori || Victori Media

    https://www.victorimedia.com

    • Really?! We really liked it! Blarney was the only one we did a full tour of. Most of the others were just in passing and/or in more ruins form, unfortunately. It’s tough when there’s so much to squeeze into a short period of time! Which ones were your favorite?

  • Elly

    def a must-see in Ireland! I missed it on my trip and have regrets lol

    • Oh no! There’s always so much to see/do in new places! Hopefully you’ll be able to get back to cross it off your list soon!

  • Sami Mast

    I really wanted to do this when I was in Ireland two years ago, but didn’t have the time!! I hope I get to be in Ireland again soon to do it!!

    xo
    Sami
    The Classic Brunette

    • Ah I hate when that happens! I hope you get back soon – I know I’m already itching to plan a trip back!