Location: Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle History
Blarney is based near Cork, Ireland, and was originally built in the 10th century. After its decimation around 1200 AD, it was re-created only to be destroyed and rebuilt again by Dermot MacCarthy, the King of Munster in 1446. Ownership of the castle remained in the hands of the MacCarthy family for many years, despite attempts from many forces to seize the castle. One of these failed overthrows included an envoy for Queen Elizabeth I named Sir George Carew who was her Deputy in Cork and the Earl of Liecester. Upon hearing Carew´s reports of MacCarthy´s deviance in politely refusing to meet and discuss terms she deemed the matter, “all Blarney!” Lord Broghill, British Earl of Orrey, eventually overthrew the castle in order to claim a famous gold plate from the MacCarthys of the day but legend has it that they, while fleeing, threw the plate into the estate´s lake. After MacCarthy reclaim in 1661 and subsuquent forfeit by Donogh MacCarthy, 4th Earl of Clancarthy, in 1688, Sir John Jeffery´s, Governor of Cork, bought the estate and his family lived there from 1703 to this day. In the late 1800s Lady Colhurst, whose family had married into that of Jeffery´s, added to the existing castle at the time buildings that were Scottish in style and that remain on the site to this day.
Blarney Castle Information
The castle on the premises today is actually the third of its name and only the keep of this structure erected by the MacCarthy’s remains. The castle itself is at present partially in ruins and only offers tourists views and visits of some rooms, battlements, and structures. Areas surrounding the castle within Blarney Villiage that visitors frequent include the Blarney House (200 m from the Castle), the forested paths that wind around the River Martin in the area, the Village Blarney´s Arboretum, Rock Close (prehistoric site in Blarney Village), and, of course, the Blarney Stone.
Blarney Castle Literary Significance
While the MacCarthys themselves encouraged writing by creating their Bardic School at the estate, thus encouraging writers to flock to the Castle, there is not much highly famous literature about the Castle itself. In the 15th century the castle did become a “Court of Poetry” for writers who wished to share their work, yet most of the pieces that writers presented at such congregations were not about the site itself. Many titans of literature wrote while at the Blarney Castle, such as Sir Walter Scott, though they did not write on it. The limited writing about the estate and its famous Blarney stone includes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle´s Sherlock Holmes radio saga of “The Adventure of the Blarney Stone,” Richard Milliken´s The Groves of Blarney, Oliver Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield´s character named Lady Blarny, who is believed by scholars to be an allusion to the castle, and references in Nabokov´s Lolita. In lieu of much composition about the castle, historians and commonfolk alike for centuries have shared in various renditions tales of the famous Blarney Stone.
Blarney Stone and the Oral Tradition
The legend of the Blarney Stone is widely known through all of Ireland and this is what attracts most tourists to Blarney Castle as it is home to this acclaimed monument. The stone is said to date back to St. Columba of Iona, the patron saint of Derry–after being used as the Columba´s deathbed pillow, the stone was moved to Scotland where it got its second name, the Stone of Destiny. Here the stone was used to choose the rulers of Scotland until 1314 when Robert the Bruce of Scotland overthrew the English at the Battle of Bannockburn with the help of 5,000 troups from Cormac MacCarthy and gifted a piece of it to the Irishman in Blarney. The Stone of Destiny, or in Scottish Gaelic, An Liath Fàil and often referred to in England as the Coronation Stone, is said to be made of the same material as the stones of Stonehenge. Its magical powers are said to be derivative of the MacCarthy clan, after Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, was able to weave elaborate tales to Elizabeth I´s men and evade having his castle be taken. To coincide with this tale, legend has it that visitors of the castle who kiss the Blarney Stone will be blessed with eloquent speech and good luck. Let´s hope this comes true for the Kiplin hikers who kiss the stone in July!