The grounds of Blarney Castle and Gardens cover over 60 acres of land and are home to the Blarney Stone, the Poison Garden, the Wishing Steps, and so much more.
King Cormac MacCarthy of Munster built Blarney Castle in 1446 and it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. The day I visited, the front side of the fortress was being restored; hence the white covered scaffolding in some of my photographs. The story behind how the Blarney Stone originated is highly debated and steeped in legend. However, the Stone’s powers have gone undisputed for centuries: anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone will be given the gift of eloquence. As a result, millions, including Mick Jagger and Winston Churchill, have kissed the stone in the hopes of gaining flawless eloquence. As I climbed the 100 spiraling, narrow, steep steps up to the Blarney Stone, I thought: “If Winston Churchill could make this pilgrimage, so can I.” The only way to kiss the Blarney Stone is upside down and backwards, so I’m either more eloquent because of the kiss or as a result of the blood that rushed to my head.
After acquiring new eloquence, my friends and I made our way to Ireland’s one and only Poison Garden. Every plant in the garden is either dangerous to touch, inhale, eat, or any combination of the three. The garden included everything from marijuana to rhubarb to nightshade. I was frightened to get too close or to breathe too heavily in the Poison Garden…
We continued into the luscious grounds of the Rock Close and Water Garden, which was a refreshing breath of fresh air after the stifling Poison Garden. This mystical garden is rumored to be located on the site of an ancient druidic settlement and is home to two waterfalls and plenty of emerald green foliage. The Witches Stone in the garden has magic attached to it and anyone who leaves an offering on the stone will be blessed with good fortune. Supposedly, if you walk down the garden’s Wishing Steps backwards with your eyes closed, all of your wishes will come true.
The admission price for students is €12 (€11.50 online) and you can easily spend an entire day on the Blarney Castle grounds. My day on the grounds left me feeling more eloquent and my belief in fairies had been renewed!
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<p>Hi There! My name is Elisabeth "Allie" Lawrence and I am a Theatre and English double major with an emphasis in creative writing at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. At UPS, one of my favorite activities is being a coproducer for the sketch comedy troupe on campus, Ubiquitous They. I am beyond excited to be able to experience Dublin, Ireland for the first time and grow as an actor in the final summer before my senior year.</p>