Blarney Castle - Irish Pictures (1888)

From Irish Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil (1888) by Richard Lovett

Chapter IV: From Dublin to Cork … concluded

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The easiest and the favourite excursion from Cork is to Blarney Castle, a spot which amply deserves the reputation it has acquired, although that reputation rests mainly upon the features of the place least worthy to sustain it. Multitudes know of or wish to touch the Blarney Stone, who are not so deeply impressed either by the picturesque splendour of the old ruin, or the exceeding beauty of its situation and surroundings. The castle stands upon a hillside which slopes steeply down to the River Blarney, a stream which winds through a lovely and well-wooded valley. Hard by is the neat little town, in which are several mills engaged in the manufacture of tweed.

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

The castle dates from the fifteenth century, and was founded by Cormac MacCarthy, who also founded the abbey and castle of Kilcrea, in the former of which he was buried. The castle and estates were forfeited in 1689, the last of the original owners being allowed a pension of £300.

Seen across the river by the approach from the town, the lofty grey mass of the huge quadrangular keep towering above the foliage of the trees, the castle presents a very imposing appearance.

The real Blarney Stone was one containing the inscription Cormac Mac Carthy fortis me fieri fecit A.D. The situation of the stone has shown a tendency to vary according to the predilections of the guides. But that now exhibited is the lowermost of those clasped between the iron bars, as shown in the engraving. Whatever the origin of the tradition, and of the custom of kissing the Blarney Stone, the reputation it has acquired of recent years has been due largely to Father Prout's verses.

There is a stone there,

That whoever kisses,

Oh! he never misses

To grow eloquent.

'Tis he may clamber

To a lady's chamber,

Or become member

Of Parliament.

A clever spouter

He'll sure turn out, or

An out and outer

“To be let alone”!

Don't hope to hinder him

Or to bewilder him,

Sure he's a pilgrim

From the Blarney Stone.

The groves of Blarney,

They look so charming,

Down by the purlings

Of sweet silent brooks,

All decked by posies

That spontaneous grow there

Planted in order

In the rocky nooks.

'Tis there the daisy,

And the sweet carnation,

The blooming pink,

And the rose so fair;

Likewise the lily

And the daffadowndilly—

All flowers that scent

The sweet open air.

But rich as this whole district is in pretty scenery and interesting sites, we cannot extend our consideration of them. Only a passing mention can be made of the western part of County Cork. Those who can make time and opportunity should certainly visit Kinsale, Bandon, Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Skibbereen.


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