The legend continues that
the Stone was given to Cormac MacCarthy by Robert the Bruce in thanks for the
support he provided Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn. Other legend claims that
the Stone was originally Jacob's Pillow and carried from the Holy Lands by a
Kissing the Blarney Stone requires some assistance, as you need to approach
from a prone position, on your back. The Castle staff will make sure
that you do not fall and they will swab the Stone with alcohol for sanitary
reasons. Apparently the feeling of blood rushing to your head is part of the
buzz that helps fill you with blarney - of course, since you have paid for
this privilege, perhaps somebody has already filled you with blarney.
By the way, one of the stories about kissing the stone and being filled with
blarney, relates back to ... Cormac MacCarthy, who was the Lord of Blarney.
It seems that Queen Elizabeth's retainers, who were interested in collecting
taxes, could never get a straight story when questioning him about the extent
and value his holdings. One day the Queen became quite frustrated about
the Lord's misrepresentations and made an unkind remark indicating the
Lord of Blarney's obfuscations were...well...blarney! Soon the words
somehow began to be used interchangeably and it was a short hop to the
legend of the Blarney Stone. Before you think it, no, you can't skip
kissing the Stone. Would you want to return home and say "Nope, I missed
my chance at earning a black belt in blarney"?
Blarney Castle website/
for more details on visiting.
Cork is one of the famous names in Ireland and many tourists head here based on
name recognition alone. Today's Cork is an industrial center with limited
attractions of interest to tourists, at least compared with some of its
neighbors. Yes, there are some colorful buildings and interesting markets, but
we think you might enjoy a visit to Kinsale much more.
One Cork attraction that caught our eye, however, was Blackrock Castle on the
River Lee (about 10 minutes from Cork's center). Originally constructed in
the 19th century around the remains of a 16th century tower, today's castle
houses an observatory and astronomy center that is very popular with kids.
See the Blackrock Castle Observatory
website for detailed information on visiting.
Midleton, slightly to the east of Cork on N25, is the home of the Old Jameson
Distillery on the banks of the Dungourney River and source of Jameson Irish
Whiskey. The distillery is one of three still operating in Ireland, although
Jameson is now part of Irish Distillers, which is owned by Pernod Ricard.
The tour is open to visitors of all ages, who are willing to pay the modest fee.
for details on visiting and a brief description of the tour.
Once an important port, Kinsale (pop. 850) has evolved into a tourist town
appreciated for its colorful houses, scenic harbor, and excellent tourist
facilities. The town is considered by many to be the food capital of
The pedestrian areas of the Market Square, the Market Place, as well as Main
Street are filled with gaily-colored stores, friendly pubs and quality
restaurants that will meet you needs for food, trinkets and drinks.
See this site
for photographic panoramas and additional information on the many
attractions in Kinsale. If you are nearby early in October, be sure to
visit the Kinsale Food Festival.
Kinsale is known for its pair of star-shaped forts facing
each other across the harbor. Charles Fort (east side of Kinsale
Harbour), and its companion James Fort across the harbor were built in a
star shape to allow Visit the Charles Fort, which is in much better
shape than the James Fort. The dawning of the Age of Gunpowder doomed
castles and other stone forts, which simply could not stand-up to cannon
fire. Instead, the replacements for these fortifications were lower,
had thicker walls and were built of brick (which did not shatter as did
stone). In addition, the walls joined at unusual angles, such as star
shapes, allowing those defending to fire at the opposition from a variety of
locations (rather than from the inside of a box-like shape).
Kinsale has had an interesting, but troubled history. Spain landed
troops here in 1601 to assist in the Irish Rebellion, but they were defeated
by the English and the rebellion failed. It was just south of here at
the Old Head of Kinsale that the Lusitania, a cruise ship traveling from New
York to Liverpool, was torpedoed by the German Navy in 1915, turning
public opinion against Germany during World War I. Nearly 1,200 people
died in the attack.
The Beara Peninsula starts near the Gougane Barra National Forest Park, a
scenic area that attracts modest crowds. See this
site for more information on visiting the Gougane Barra area.
The Beara Peninsula s not the equal of the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle
Peninsula in terms of scenery, but it is quite popular with walkers and
those looking for less crowded, but attractive areas. Not to be outdone by
its neighbors, there is a Ring of Beara Drive that might be of interest to
you if you are on your second tour of Ireland's Southwest. Details and a map
are provided at
To the east of the Beara Peninsula, Mizen Head
and Sheep's Head
Peninsulas offer a number of fine walking trails, but have limited
attractions. To find out more about the entire area, which is known as
the Bantry Region, visit this informative
If you visit Kinsale and plan to explore the Mizen Head and Sheep's Head
Peninsulas, you might be interested in stopping at the Drombeg Stone Circle,
another of Ireland's mysterious monuments, near Glandore.
Drombeg Stone Circle has thirteen pillars remaining (one recumbent) from
the original seventeen stones. It is believed that the circle dates back to
Bronze Age, but dateable material from the site reaches back only to the time of
Christ or slightly before. The foundations of two prehistoric stone
huts nearby and of some interest. The site is located with a scenic
view of the coast.
More Places to Visit in Ireland
Click the jump bar at the bottom of this page to go directly to
any of the attractions we cover in Ireland's beautiful Southwest.
Or, click the link menu on the right hand edge of this page to
visit another of Ireland's scenic regions.
need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.