Towns of Cork
Blarney —County Cork
Blarney, known as 'the biggest little village in Ireland', is one of Ireland's most picturesque villages. Set in beautiful wooded countryside, just 8km (5 miles) from Cork City, it is an ideal base to visit the many wonderful sights of Cork and Kerry.
Steeped in history and magical charm, Blarney offers the visitor a host of wonderful things to do and places to discover. One of the finest things that impresses the first time visitor is the well preserved village square. Blarney is one of the few villages in Ireland which has such a fine amenity, and today it continues to be a focal point of village life. In Tudor style, the village has developed around the square which is owned and carefully maintained by Blarney Castle Estate.
Some great sights to visit include the legendary Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle. For many of the visitors to Blarney, their first priority is to kiss the famous Blarney Stone high up on the Castle battlements. Tradition holds that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will be endowed with the gift of eloquence - 'the gift of the gab', as the locals call it.
'There is a stone that whoever kisses
never misses to grow eloquent,
he may clamber to a lady's chamber
or become a member of parliament'.
Over 200,000 people visit Blarney Castle each year. The castle is situated in over a thousand acres of magnificent woodland, making it the ideal place to take walks to enjoy the clean fresh environment of Blarney.
To those who do not know Ireland, the title 'village' does not do justice to Blarney, a village which has played a keen and enthusiastic role in Irish Tourism for over one hundred years. Blarney continues to be widely known internationally, even in places where the word 'Ireland' may not be fully understood. A visitor to Blarney over one hundred years ago would probably have arrived on the Muskerry Tram. Otherwise this visitor may have travelled from Cork City on the Great Southern and Western Railway which had a Station at nearby Station Road.
One hundred years ago the visitor to Blarney would have in all probability visited Blarney Castle. Our visitor may then have taken tea in one of two hotels in the village - Smith's or Corcoran's. Along one side of the square was a row of neat cottages which still stand today. Some of the residents of these cottages found employment in the local Woollen Mills. The nearby Church of Ireland Church had been built in 1766.
St. Ann's Hydro close to Blarney was also a major attraction. This was developed in 1843 and allowed those in need of medical treatment to take steam and Turkish Baths.
Visitors to Blarney today may try their hand at golf, or shop in Blarney Woollen Mills after kissing the Blarney Stone.