Blarney is a major tourist attraction in County Cork. The village of Blarney, amidst beautiful rolling countryside, dominated by the Square with a green in the centre where Blarney locals and tourists congregate during the summer. The square is surrounded by many shops, restaurants, bars and a hotel. There is a scenic walk out on the 5k Blarney Way, which passes by the Old Round Tower of Waterloo, and along the old railways of the Muskerry Tram. Come back and relax afterwards and enjoy a drink in one of our many bars located in the town.
Blarney Castle has become a world landmark and one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. The castle is open daily, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There are separate admission rates for children, students, adults, and families.
The Blarney Castle in Ireland should be at the top of any traveler’s list. The beautiful castle, and the entertaining Blarney Castle history, visitors leave feeling like they’ve touched (even kissed) a genuine part of Irish history and tradition.
For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate.
Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, to kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements.
Blarney House is a Scottish Baronial mansion designed by John Lanyon and is now open to the public in the summer months. The house sits in the middle of the parklands situated less than 200m south of the great castle itself. Built in 1874, it has now been restored to its former glory. The house is situated overlooking Blarney Lake and features a splendid interior that is well worth a visit while in Blarney.
No visit to Blarney House is complete without a stroll through the gardens, which look magnificent all year round. Over 60 acres of parkland including a rare Poison Garden, herbaceous borders, a Fern garden and a magnificent display of rhododendrons. No matter what time of year you visit you will see something different.
Blarney Woollen Mills
Blarney Woollen Mills Built in 1823, was originally known as Mahony’s Mills. It was a water powered mill, producing mainly tweeds and woollens. After closing in the early 1970s, the mills was re-invented by local entrepreneur Christy Kelleher as a gift store servicing tourists visiting the village.
Today Blarney Woollen Mills is Ireland’s Largest Irish Store. They stock a massive range of Irish Gifts including Waterford Crystal, Belleek Fine China, Royal Tara, Celtic Jewelry and of course Aran Sweaters.
Thirteen Inspirational display gardens were primarily designed to give people inspiration and ideas for their own garden, based on the size of an average town garden. Located in a very unique setting, overlooking the banks of the Dripsey River, views are simply astonishing. Griffins Garden Centre, Agharinagh, Dripsey. www.griffinsgardencentre.ie
Clogheenmilcon Santuary is on the outskirts of the village. It can be reached by continuing east along the road from the southeastern corner of the Square as far as the T-junction and then following the signs to the right which lead directly into the santuary footpath. Car parking is available. The Sanctuary comprises a beautiful alkaline wetland of approximately 100 acres of what used to be a deep lake, a remnant of the last Ice Age. The area has been developed to improve and conserve habitat for a wide range of waterfowl as well as providing a well-maintained footpath.
The Martin Valley Trail to Waterloo
A 2.6 kilometre/1.5 mile walk from Blarney Village to Waterlook Church and Tower alongside the River Martin. It begins approximately 150 metres east of the Tourist Office at the road junction and heads due north. The walk begins by following the route of the old millrace whch powered Blarney Woollen Mills in times past. It passes through lovely water meadows bounded to the east across the river by a very find stand of old oak woodland. Beyond the old weir the long mill pond has not been recreated and the parth forks either side of this and then runs right beside the river up to a landmark known as Taylor’s Rock. From Taylor’s Rock the path returns to the road until the Waterloo Inn is reached. Just beyond the Inn is the Church. Waterloo Tower is built in the style of the ancient Irish Round Tower, but in fact it was constructed in 1845 at the instigation of the then parish priest, Father Matthew Horgan.
The Old Muskerry Tram Route
The walk west along the roadside footpath towards Tower from Blarney initially parallels the route of the old Muskerry tram, which passes through Blarney Caste Estate and can be seen across the field to the south below the castle itself. At Paud’s Cross (the crossroads encountered about a mile from Blarney along the Tower Road), the tram route rejoins the roadside and can be clearly identified as such until Willison’s Bridge road junction. Beyond this point it forks into two routes, one heading up the Shournagh River Valley towards Donoughmore, and the other heading for Coachford via Tower. All of this is pleasant, quiet walking country with easy gradients and alternative boreens back into Blarney via bluebell woods overlooking Blarney Castle.
Farran Forest Park
This public park, on the south side of Inniscarra Lake, offers woodland walks, seating areas and picnic sites all year round in scenic surroundings adjoining Inniscarra Lake. The Park offers ample car parking, a playground and also accommodates the National Rowing Centre.
Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills
Now a 50 hectare park, this site of the historic nineteenth century mills provides a scenic riverside walk. In 1837 the mills employed about 200 workers and produced about 16,000 barrels of gunpowder. By the mid 1880’s the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Ballincollig was one of the largest Industrial establishments in the Cork area. About 500 men and boys were employed and a wide range of skills were in use in the mills – coopering, millwrighting, carpentry as well as other skills associated with gunpowder production. (Credit: Cork Guide and Ballincollig Heritage)
Cork City Gaol
The old City Gaol is located on the north side of Cork City in Shanakiel near the Blarney Road. Guided tours and mull-media presentaions of the old women’s prison including museum and audio visual centre. Cork City Gaol is a magnificent castle-like building and is now a unique visitor attraction. Visitors get an insight into day-to-day prison life in the 19th Century.
Half-Day Trips from Blarney
- Cork City (Open Bus Trip, Fabulous Food Trail, St. Finbarre’s Cathedral, English Market, St. Anne’s Shandon)
- Cobh (Last Port of Call of Titanic & Queenstown Story)
- Fota (Wildlife Park and Arboretum)
- Midleton (Jameson Whiskey Centre, the World’s Largest Pot Still)
- Cloyne (Round Tower, Cathedral, Bishop Berkeley)
- Shangarry/Garryvoe (Stephen Pearce Pottery, sandy beaches, Ballymaloe Cookery School)
- Ballycotton (Fishing harbour, cliffs and cliff walk)
- Youghal (historic town, seaside resort)
- Kinsale (historic town, seaside resort, Charles Fort, Gourmet restaurants, boat trips)
- Lee Valley Drive (Scenic riverside and mountain views)
- Gougane Barra (St. Finbarre’s Oratory, Lake & Mountain scenery)
- Muskerry Gaeltach and The Gearagh (Scenic hills and nature reserve)
- Ballyhoura Falconry (Hawk Walks, Falconry Experience, Owl Experience, Falconry Displays)
Day Trips from Blarney
- Bantry, Glengarriff, The Ring of Beara
- Macroom, The Gearagh, Gougane Barra
- Bandon, Dunmanway, Ballydehob, Schull, Mizen
- Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Baltimore
- Mitchelstown, Cahir, Cashel
- Ardmore, West Waterford Coact Road and beaches
- Lismore, Mt. Melleray, The Vee
- The Blackwater Valley (Kanturk to Youghal)
- Killarney and The Lakes
- Kenmare and The Ring of Kerry
- Limberick, Bunratty