Kissing the Blarney Stone; Cost, Times, Location etc

One of Ireland’s most famous things to do – kissing the Blarney Stone! You get the opportunity for kissing the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle, just a 15-minute drive from Cork City.  Even before the madness of COVID, kissing the Blarney Stone was a little gross, now it’s downright scandalous! Still, when in Rome, right? So let’s get to it:

Kissing the Blarney Stone
Me Kissing the Blarney Stone!

What is the Blarney Stone & Why Is It A Thing?!

The stone is a chunk of limestone built into Blarney Castle, outside Cork.

Kissing the stone is said to give the kisser the ‘gift of the gab’. That’s the Irish way of saying you’re blessed with eloquence and good chat.

Where the Blarney Stone Myth Comes From

It has a lot of myths attached, and no one story has been confirmed! The main two stores are:

  • Cormac Mccarthy MacCarthy, back in the 15th century, asked an Irish Goddess for help with a lawsuit. She told him to kiss the next stone he sees. He did it, spoke so well in court he won, and then he built the stone into the castle.
  • Another story is Robert The Bruce gave Cormac the stone as thanks for his help in a battle. So Cormac then installed it in his castle.
Kissing the Blarney Stone
Blarney Castle

Kissing The Blarney Stone Tour (from Dublin?)

For me personally, I was on a 2 week Ireland Road Trip so we were driving. We had a couple of days in Dublin, and then drove to Cork. The following morning we visited Blarney Castle, where the Blarney Stone is, just outside Cork.

If you’re not driving though, you can take a Blarney Stone Tour Daytrip from Dublin for $70 or so. It includes the Rock of Cashel and a little tour of Cork. Great value. THESE GUYS ARE THE BEST OPERATORS.

Blarney Stone day-trip from Cork is only about $30. You can book that here.

Blarney Stone Opening Hours

7 days a week, 9am to 4am. Get there around 8.30am before the queues form!

How to get to the Blarney Stone (from Dublin or Cork)

The Blarney Stone is 3 hours drive from Dublin, and just 15 minutes from Cork City.

Booking daytrips from either city is the easiest way to do it. But self-driving is a good option too. I wouldn’t waste my time with public transport, to be honest. You may save $10 or so, but you’ll kill so much of your time.

Kissing the Blarney Stone; How The Experience Actually Works

I was on Day 2 of my Ireland Road trip. After spending a day in Dublin, we woke up a little later and made it to Blarney Castle around 10.30am. And already there was over a 60minute queue to kiss the Blarney Stone!

Visiting the Blarney Stone Tip:

Wake up super early and make sure you’re at the ticket office ready to buy the first set of tickets around 8.45am (€14 euro online here, €15 in person). You’ll get straight up and avoid a very long wait!

The whole grounds of Blarney Castle are beautiful and well worth a walk around if you have the day to spare, for us it was all about the kissing. So we lined up, waited our 60/70 min wait, slowly climbing the tiny stone spiral staircase, feeling a little claustrophobic truth-be-told. Eventually, we were atop the castle, and we could see the main draw, the Blarney Stone.

kissing the blarney stone
the Blarney Stone is in sight!
kissing the blarney stone

As the queue slowly shortens, you see the system and how it works. Basically, the concept behind the Blarney Stone is that if you kiss it, you’re graced with the ‘Gift of the Gab’ as the Irish say, or an ability to talk and tell stories, to become more eloquent.

Actually kissing the Blarney Stone

BUT you have to kiss it upside down, that’s the trick! The actual stone hangs over a huge drop, so there are 2 staff members to help you get down, hang upside down over the sheer drop, kiss the thing (forget about how many people have kissed it before you, eurrrrgh) and get right back up again.

Kissing the Blarney Stone
Me Kissing the Blarney Stone!

After all that kissing was done and dusted, we had a long drive ahead. We had planned to gun it straight to Port Magee on Ireland’s West Coast to get an afternoon boat to Skellig Michael (one of Ireland’s two UNESCO world heritage sites, made all of the more famous recently since Luke Skywalker appeared at the end of the new Star Wars on that very island!), but our boat was postponed to the following day. So what should we do with the rest of our day?

We planned a beautiful trip along the southern coast, to Ireland’s most southern and easterly point, Mizen Head, then head north to the spectacular Ring of Kerry, soak that up, and reach Port Magee for the evening, ready for our boat trip to Skellig Michael the following morning. Fool-proof. Kinda.

kissing the blarney stone
Blarney Castle

Irish Road-trip Day 2 route: Our Longest Driving Day:

We woke up in Cork, drove to the Blarney Stone. Kiss it. Then headed on to Mizen Head. Then to the Ring of Kerry and finally Port Magee.

So we set off, but good old Irish summer kicked in. Travel can be like this, often we get fortunate (like the time I went to Mount Everest Base Camp out of season, only for the clouds to clear and show me Mount Everest in all its glory), but we have to take the rough with the smooth. As we drove the weather got worse and worse. Fog, rain, temperature drop – in July!

Actually, we had a brilliant time, the girls drinking cheap vodka in the back, Josh and I gangster rapping to Dr Dre in the front. But the reality was that we missed all the beautiful drive’s views, which was kinda sad. But a good excuse to come back for sure. Here’s how it ACTUALLY looked versus how it SHOULD look:

Ring of Kerry bad weather
Our Ring of Kerry experience!
blarney stone
What is should look like!

Mizen Head and Skelling Michael

We did, however, reach Mizen Head, so at least we can say we made it to Ireland’s most south-westerly point, despite the weather. And, as always, we made the best of it, picnic and all.

We then drove north, all the way to Portmagee, in time for a few cheeky Guinnesses. Here, we were to discover that despite Skellig Michael tours being booked out for weeks in advance, there had been 4 cancellations. All on the same boat. So the 4 of us were good to go the following morning. Suddenly all that bad weather seemed insignificant like I said, you have to take the rough with the smooth!

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