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  • Heber, son of Milesius, becomes joint King of Ireland

    Legend tells us that King Milesius of Spain first saw Ireland from the top of a tall tower in Brigantia. He sent his uncle to explore and he died on the mission. Enraged, Milesius invaded the country with his eight sons, five of whom drowned in the attack. But three landed - Heber, Ir, and Heremon - and took the country.

    After the death of Milesius, Heber and Heremon divided the country between them, with Heber taking control of the south. They began to reign in 1699 B.C., the first of one hundred eighty three Kings or sole Monarchs that governed Ireland, successively, for two thousand eight hundred and eighty five years from the first year of their reign, to the submission to King Henry II of England, who was also of the Milesian race by his mother Maude, a descendant of Heremon. All of the Kings of Munster, indeed all of the McCarthys, are descended from Heber.
  • Celtic culture reaches Ireland

    The Celtic culture of the La Tene civilization, named after a Celtic site in Switzerland, reaches Ireland. The country is divided into over 100 small kingdoms; each called a 'tuath', and all subject to one of the five provincial kings.

    Celtic Ireland has a simple agrarian economy. No coins were used, and the cow was the unit of exchange.
  • 1699 BC

    Heber, son of Milesius, becomes joint King of Ireland

    Legend tells us that King Milesius of Spain first saw Ireland from the top of a tall tower in Brigantia. He sent his uncle to explore and he died on the mission. Enraged, Milesius invaded the country with his eight sons, five of whom drowned in the attack. But three landed - Heber, Ir, and Heremon - and took the country.

    After the death of Milesius, Heber and Heremon divided the country between them, with Heber taking control of the south. They began to reign in 1699 B.C., the first of one hundred eighty three Kings or sole Monarchs that governed Ireland, successively, for two thousand eight hundred and eighty five years from the first year of their reign, to the submission to King Henry II of England, who was also of the Milesian race by his mother Maude, a descendant of Heremon. All of the Kings of Munster, indeed all of the McCarthys, are descended from Heber.
  • 200 BC

    Celtic culture reaches Ireland

    The Celtic culture of the La Tene civilization, named after a Celtic site in Switzerland, reaches Ireland. The country is divided into over 100 small kingdoms; each called a 'tuath', and all subject to one of the five provincial kings.

    Celtic Ireland has a simple agrarian economy. No coins were used, and the cow was the unit of exchange.
  • 432 AD

    Arrival of St Patrick to convert the Pagan kings to Christianity

    The conversion began around AD 432, starting with the king!

    He never managed to convert the druid king, but he impressed him with a few signs (including a 3 leafed clover and said that each leaf represented the Trinity - The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    Patrick had the kings "blessing" to continue his missionary efforts, which with the permission of the king, spread extraordinarily fast.
  • 448 AD

    Aongus becomes first Christian King of Munster

    Aongus was the first Christian King of Munster. Quite the family man, he had twenty four sons and twenty four daughters. He was baptised by Saint Patrick. During the ceremony, Patrick accidentally drove his holy staff through the unfortunate king's foot. Thinking this was a necessary part of the ceremony, Aongus patiently endured the pain.

    The saint was horrified to learn of this misunderstanding and was quick to stop the bleeding by waving a sign of the cross over it. Furthermore, he promised Aongus that his descendants would wear his crown for the next ten generations. But the MacCarthys were to better even that.
  • 461 AD

    Death of St Patrick

    According to the latest reconstruction of the old Irish annals, Patrick died in AD 461 on March 17, a date accepted by some modern historians. Prior to the 1940s it was believed without doubt that he died in 420 and thus had lived in the first half of the 5th century.

    (Source: Wikipedia)
  • 550 AD

    Irish monks set out as missionaries across Europe

    The Hiberno-Scottish mission was a mission led by Irish and Scottish monks which spread Christianity and established monasteries in Great Britain and continental Europe during the Middle Ages. The mission originated in 563 with the foundation of Iona by the Irish monk Saint Columba, and was initially concerned with ministering to the Gaels of Dál Riata and converting the Picts. Over the next centuries the mission grew in power and influence and spread through Anglo-Saxon England and the Frankish Empire.
  • 563 AD

    St Columba sails to Iona to convert the Scots and English to Christianity

    Some say that the Blarney Stone was the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona.

    Legend says it was then removed to mainland Scotland, where it served as the prophetic power of royal succession, the Stone of Destiny.
  • 800 AD

    Book of Kells illuminated

    The Book of Kells (Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais) (Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. (58), sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables.

    It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 or slightly earlier. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.

    (Source: Wikipedia)
  • 950 AD

    Approximate date of first wooden structure at Blarney site

    Approximate date of first wooden structure at Blarney site
  • 999 AD

    Brian Boru defeats the Vikings

    In 1013, the Leinstermen and the Dublin Vikings revolted against Brian. Mael Morda, King of Leinster, allied himself with the Dublin Vikings and went to war with Brian. The Dublin Vikings sought allies overseas. The great sigurd, Earl of Orkney, came with a large contingent. While other Viking contingents came from as far afield as Iceland and Normandy. Brian gave them Battle at Clontarf on Good Friday, 1014 and defeated them. However, as the Vikings were retreating, one of their leaders, Bothair, murdered Brian.
  • 1066 AD

    William the Conqueror wins at Hastings

    The Battle of Hastings took place on 14 October 1066. It was the decisive Norman victory in the Norman Conquest of England, fought between the Norman army of Duke William II of Normandy and the English army of King Harold II. [1] The battle took place at Senlac Hill, approximately 6 miles northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex.

    Harold II was killed in the battle—legend has it that he was shot through the eye with an arrow. Although there was further English resistance, this battle is seen as the point at which William gained control of England, becoming its first Norman ruler as King William I.
  • 1167 AD

    Arrival of Normans at Baginbun begins the perennial conflict with England

    The Normans, ostensibly as mercenaries, invaded Ireland in 1169 at the behest of the exiled King of Leinster, Dermot Mac Murrough. Chief among the invaders was Earl Richard "Strongbow," a Welsh marcher Lord who had fallen into disfavor with King Henry. The Earl had many friends and relatives among the Welsh marcher Lords who were in similar or even more desperate situation and were eager for new lands and to place distance between them and a hostile king.
  • 1171 AD

    Henry II brings about end of the Milesian kings

    Shortly after his coronation, Henry sent an embassy to the newly elected Pope Adrian IV. Led by Bishop Arnold of Lisieux, the group of clerics requested authorisation for Henry to invade Ireland. Some historians suggest that this resulted in the papal bull Laudabiliter. Whether this donation is genuine or not, Edmund Curtis says, is one of "the great questions of history."

    It is possible Henry acted under the influence of a "Canterbury plot," in which English ecclesiastics strove to dominate the Irish church. However, Henry may have simply intended to secure Ireland as a lordship for his younger brother William.
  • 1210 AD

    Stone structure built at Blarney site

    The castle originally dates from before AD 1200, when a wooden structure was believed to have been built on the site, although no evidence remains of this.

    Around 1210 A.D. this was replaced by a stone fortification.  It was destroyed in 1446, but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, Lord of Muscry.
  • 1314 AD

    Battle of Bannockburn

    In 1314, Robert the Bruce of Scotland won a famous victory over England's Edward II at Bannockburn.

    The MacCarthys provided 5,000 infantry to help him in this triumph.

    As a reward for their help, Bruce gave them a piece of the Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny, the stone on which the Kings of Scotland were crowned.

    This was to become the Blarney Stone.
  • 1400 AD

    English lose control of Ireland for fifty years, except for Dublin and the Pale

  • 1446 AD

    Blarney Castle built

    The castle originally dates from before AD 1200, when a wooden structure was believed to have been built on the site, although no evidence remains of this. Around 1210 A.D. This was replaced by a stone fortification. It was destroyed in 1446, but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, Lord of Muscry.
  • 1521 AD

    Battle of Mourne Abbey

    Henry VIII believes that the Irish can be made into loyal subjects through "sober ways, politic shifts and amiable persuasion".

    The MacCarthy chieftain, Cormac Oge, is seen as a model example, on whom high hopes were pinned.

    In 1521, however the Desmonds act rather less than soberly and attack their old enemies, the MacCarthys. James, the head of the Fitzgeralds, overruns Munster with an army of cavalry. Cormac Oge makes a "rising out" of the clan, joined by the forces of his son-in-law Cormac MacCarthy Reagh. Together, they nearly annihilate the Desmonds at the battle of Mourne Abbey.

    Seven years later, Cormac attends the parliament as Lord of Muskerry.
  • 1541 AD

    Henry VIII declares himself King of Ireland

    The Kingdom of Ireland (Irish: Rioghacht Éireann) was the name given to the Irish state from 1542, by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 of the Parliament of Ireland. It was based on the contested legitimacy of the right of conquest. The new monarch replaced the Lordship of Ireland, which had been created in 1171.

    King Henry VIII thus became the first recognised King of Ireland since 1169. The separate Kingdom of Ireland ceased to exist when Ireland joined with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801.
  • 1558 AD

    Elizabeth I ascends the English throne

    Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen regnant of England and Queen regnant of Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.

    The daughter of Henry VIII, she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey, cutting his sisters out of the succession. His will was set aside, Lady Jane Grey was executed, and in 1558 Elizabeth succeeded the Catholic Mary I, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.
  • 1586 AD

    Elizabeth confiscates Irish land in Munster

    Although Ireland was one of her two kingdoms, Elizabeth faced a hostile—and in places virtually autonomous —Irish population that adhered to Catholicism and was willing to defy her authority and plot with her enemies. Her policy there was to grant land to her courtiers and prevent the rebels from giving Spain a base from which to attack England.

    In the course of a series of uprisings, Crown forces pursued scorched-earth tactics, burning the land and slaughtering man, woman and child. During a revolt in Munster led by Gerald FitzGerald, Earl of Desmond, in 1582, an estimated 30,000 Irish people starved to death. The poet and colonist Edmund Spenser wrote that the victims "were brought to such wretchedness as that any stony heart would have rued the same"

    Elizabeth advised her commanders that the Irish, "that rude and barbarous nation", be well treated; but she showed no remorse when force and bloodshed were deemed necessary.
  • 1601 AD

    Battle of Kinsale

    Throughout history, any passing traveller could knock on the Castle Gate and expect to be invited in for refreshment. In 1602, following the Battle of Kinsale, the invading English even tried to take advantage of our Irish hospitality to avoid the daunting challenge of taking the Castle by force. As they noted, "his Castle of Blarney is one of the largest and strongest castles within the province of Munster, for it is four piles joined in one, seated upon a main rock, so that it is free from mining, the wall being eighteen feet thick and well flanked at each corner to the best advantage."

    The cunning Sir Charles Wilmot and a force of men pretended to be hunting for deer. At the height of the heat of the day, they simply knocked on the Castle Gate and asked, as was traditional, to be let in for some glasses of wine and whisky. But their homework had not been thorough enough. The doors were only opened when the Chieftain was at home – and at that very moment he was languishing in the Cork gaol, courtesy of the English. Our usual warm welcome was unforthcoming and a few days later, the Chieftain made a daring escape. But that's another story...
  • 1602 AD

    Birth of the Blarney

    In 1602, Cormac Teige MacCarthy, Lord of Blarney was under considerable pressure from Queen Elizabeth and Sir George Carew, her Deputy in Cork. Carew suspected MacCarthy of plotting against the Queen and wanted him to swear allegiance and hand over legal tenure of his lands.

    Every demand of the English Queen was met with protestations of undying loyalty, flattering references and suggestions that he "seemed very inclinable to the notion". Nothing, however, was actually moving forward and Carew complained of his "fair words and soft speech". On the receipt of yet another MacCarthy letter, Queen Elizabeth exclaimed,"This is all Blarney; what he says he never means!"

    And so the word slipped into the English language and the rest is history...
  • 1641 AD

    All lands confiscated by the English crown

    The Irish Rebellion of 1641 (Irish: Éirí Amach 1641) began as an attempted coup d'état by Irish Catholic gentry, who tried to seize control of the English administration in Ireland to force concessions to Catholics. However, the coup failed and the rebellion developed into an ethnic conflict between native Irish Catholics on one side, and English and Scottish Protestant settlers on the other. This began a conflict known as the Irish Confederate Wars.
  • 1646 AD

    Castle besieged by Lord Broghill

    For centuries, Blarney Castle had been able to withstand siege but the development of modern cannon had made it vulnerable. When Lord Broghill, acting under Cromwell's instructions, attacked the Castle, there was no defence. He fired down from Card Hill above the lake and broke the tower walls. Yet when he entered the castle, he found only two trusty old retainers.

    The main garrison had fled through Badgers Cave. All had gone - as well as the gold plate that Broghill expected to claim. Legend tells us there are three passages to find in the darkness beyond the cave - one to Cork, one to the lake, and one all the way to Kerry. But this being Blarney, the passages may be as hard to find as the gold...
  • 1649 AD

    Cromwell lands at Dublin

    Cromwell lands in Ireland in 1649.

    His campaigns in Ireland result in several infamous massacres of Catholics, seizures of Catholic estates, and oppression of Catholic clergy.

    The control of property shifts from Catholic to almost wholly Protestant.
  • 1658 AD

    Death of Cromwell

    The population of Ireland (estimated at 1,500,000 before Cromwell) was reduced by two-thirds (to 500,000) at Cromwell's death in 1658.
  • 1661 AD

    MacCarthys back in Castle

    The Restoration of King Charles II to the English throne ensured that the MacCarthys were back in their Castle by May. The chieftain was elevated to the title, Earl of Clancarty. He would rejoice in that title for less than thirty years.
  • 1690 AD

    Battle of the Boyne

    The Battle of the Boyne marks a decisive defeat for the pro-Catholic forces of King James II by King William III and the end of Irish hopes for a Catholic King in England.

    Following the Treaty of Limerick, many of the remaining Irish Catholic gentry flee for the continent (“Flight of the Wild Geese”).

    By 1703 Catholics own less than 10 per cent of the land in Ireland.
  • 1690 AD

    MacCarthys leave Blarney Castle forever

    Much of the success of the MacCarthy clan over the centuries was down to their judgement of who best to support in times of conflict. Sometimes they fought for the English and sometimes against. By joining the Jacobite forces in 1688, they made a fatal mistake. Donagh MacCarthy was taken prisoner by Winston Churchill's ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, in the battle for Cork in 1690. Taken to the Tower of London, he escaped to France, where he was joined by other fleeing Irish landowners, known today as the Wild Geese. The MacCarthys had left Blarney for the last time.
  • 1703 AD

    Sir James St. John Jefferyes buys Blarney Castle

    The land around Blarney was sold early on to the Hollow Sword Blade Company of London. They then sold the estate to Sir Richard Payne, the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland for £3,800 in April 1703. He quickly became fearful of a MacCarthy return, however, and sold it later the same year to Sir James Jefferyes, the Governor of Cork City.

    Sir James, the new owner of Blarney, and ancestor of the current owner, was born in Scotland and spent much of his life as a soldier in Europe. He came to Ireland as part of William of Orange's army.
  • 1739 AD

    The Court built

    As was fashionable in Ireland at the time, and to ensure some domestic comforts, Jefferyes built a gothic mansion against the east wall of the Castle. This was subsequently destroyed by fire, some say as the result of a family squabble and to stop the then heir from inheriting it.
  • 1765 AD

    Building of model estate village of Blarney

    James St. John Jefferyes, who inherited the estate at the age of six in 1740, transformed Blarney into a model estate village. Where there had previously been no more than three mud cabins, he laid out the village green. Around it, he built ninety neat houses with gardens behind. A small church was built overlooking the village. Thirteen mills were constructed and the future of Blarney was set fair.
  • 1766 AD

    Vicar of Wakefield written

    Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield features a character called Lady Blarny, a smooth-talking flatterer.

    Some believe this to be the first literary allusion to the power of the Stone.
  • 1767 AD

    Rock Close landscaped

    In 1767, St. John Jefferyes laid out ornamental gardens with Italian designs within the Estate. He improved and organised Rock Close, planting trees among the great rocks and thus laying the foundations for the romantic landscape that began to attract visitors almost immediately.
  • 1789 AD

    French consul visits

    In 1789, the French Consul in Dublin, Charles Etienne Coquebert de Montbret, paid a visit to the Castle. He wrote rather condescendingly of "Blarney Castle on the top of which is a large stone that visitors who climb up are made to kiss, with the promise that in so doing they will gain the privilege of telling lies for seven years." It does not surprise us that 1789 also saw the start of the French Revolution.
  • 1798 AD

    Groves of Blarney

    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 by the sweet Rock Close.

    'Tis there the daisy and the sweet carnation, The blooming pink and the rose so fair, The daffydowndilly, likewise the lily, All flowers that scent the sweet, fragrant air.

    'Tis Lady Jeffers that owns this station; Like Alexander, or Queen Helen fair; There's no commander in all the nation, For emulation, can with her compare. Such walks surround her, that no nine-pounder Could dare to plunder her place of strength; But Oliver Cromwell, her he did pommel And made a breach in her battlement. There's gravel walks there for speculation And conversation in sweet solitude;

    'Tis there the lover may hear the dove, or The gentle plover in the afternoon; And if a lady would be so engaging As to walk alone in these shady bowers

    'Tis there some courtier he may transport her Into some fort or all underground. For 'is there's a cave where no daylight enters, But cats and badgers forever bred;

    Being mossed by nature that makes it sweeter Than a coach and six or a feather bed.

    'Tis there the lake is, well stored with perches And comely eels in the verdant mud; Besides the leeches, and groves of beeches Standing in order for to guard the flood. There's statues gracing this noble place in  All heathen gods and nymphs so fair; Bold Neptune, Plutarch, and Nicodemus. All standing naked in the open air!

    So now to finish this brave narration Which my poor genii could not entwine; But were I Homer or Nebuchadnezzar,

    'Tis in every feature I would make it shine.

    -- Richard Milliken
  • 1800 AD

    Act of Union

    The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes called the Acts of Union 1801) describe two complementary Acts, namely:

    the Union with Ireland Act 1800 (1800 c.67 39 and 40 Geo 3), an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, and

    the Act of Union (Ireland) 1800 (1800 c.38 40 Geo 3), an Act of the Parliament of Ireland.

    The Acts were passed on 2 July 1800 and 1 August 1800, respectively.
  • 1820 AD

    The Court destroyed by fire

    Sir James's son, of the same name and Minister Plenipotentiary for England at the court of Charles Battle of Poltawa, took possession of the estate in 1703, and in 1739 set about building a grand manor house attached to the existing castle that came to be known as The Court. In 1820 the house suffered from a major fire which completely destroyed it.

    After his marriage to Lady Colthurst (her family owned most of the land from Inniscarra near Blarney west to Ballyvourney), a Scottish Baronial mansion was built on a site behind the castle, which also includes a private walled garden and arboretum. The house was completed in 1874 and has been in the Colthurst family every since.
  • 1825 AD

    Visit of Sir Walter Scott

    Celebrity endorsement is not only important today. The visit of perhaps the most popular novelist of the day, Sir Walter Scott (The Waverley Novels, Ivanhoe) was to further spread the fame of the Stone. Despite being lame from birth, he managed the climb, as the following extract from his biography shows:

    “Having crossed the hills from Killarney to Cork, where a repetition of the Dublin reception---corporation honours, deputations of the literary and scientific societies, and so forth---awaited him, he gave a couple of days to the hospitality of this flourishing town, and the beautiful scenery of the Lee; not forgetting an excursion to the groves of Blarney, among whose shades we had a right mirthful picnic. Sir Walter scrambled up to the top of the castle, and kissed, with due faith and devotion, the famous Blarney stone.”

    It left a lasting impression. When a Frenchman tried to bamboozle Scott the following year, Sir Walter was quick to point out in his Journal, “All this jargon I answer with corresponding blarney of my own, for "have I not licked the black stone of that ancient castle?" As to French, I speak it as it comes...”
  • 1837 AD

    The Reliquaries of Father Prout

    Father Prout was the pseudonym of Francis Sylvester Mahony, possibly the greatest champion of the Blarney Stone. He added the famous lines to Milliken's 'Groves of Blarney'...

    "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 a member of parliment. 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."

    A friend of Dickens and Thackeray, Mahony had a great sense of mischief and much of that was reflected in his publication, Reliquaries of Father Prout, wherein he evangelised fulsomely of the benefits of kissing the stone.
  • 1840 AD

    Ireland, its Scenery, Characters etc.

    The Castle and Stone have never been our only attractions.

    Anna Maria Fielding and her husband Samuel Hall visited and wrote in Ireland, its Scenery, Characters etc c1840... "We visited 'the sweet Rock Close' - it well deserves the epithet - during a sunny day in June; and never can we forget the fragrant shade afforded by the luxuriant evergreens which seem rooted in the limestone rock; the little river Comane is guarded by a natural terrace, fringed by noble trees; several of the spaces between are grottos - natural also; some with seats, where many a love tale has been told, and will be, doubtless, as long as Cork lads and lasses indulge in picnic fetes...

    We wandered from the shades of the Rock Close across the green and richly-wooded pastures that lead to the lake. The scene here is English rather than Irish, but every step is hallowed by a legend: it is implicitly believed that the last Earl of Clancarty who inhabited the castle committed the keeping of his plate to the deepest waters, and that it will never be recovered until a MacCarthy be again lord of Blarney."

    Rock Close is still as sweet, legends are at every step, but as for treasure...
  • 1845 AD

    Beginning of Irish famine

    In Ireland, the Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852.

    It is also known, mostly outside of Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine. In the Irish language it is called an Gorta Mór meaning "the Great Hunger" or an Drochshaol meaning "the bad times".
  • 1846 AD

    Jefferyes marry into Colthurst family

  • 1874 AD

    Blarney House built

    Blarney House, situated just 200 yards south of the great castle itself, is Blarney's newest treasure.

    It is one of the most elegant and gracious of the Great Houses of Ireland. A family home now tastefully restored to its former glory. Built in 1874 it is beautifully situated overlooking Blarney Lake.
  • 1879 AD

    Ulysses S Grant regrets

    Many American presidents claim to have kissed the Blarney Stone but our first documented connection is with one who did not, but apparently wished he had.

    In apologising for a lengthy speech in Dublin, Ulysses S Grant stated...

    “I have never seen the Blarney Stone – nor am I likely now – but I have been looking for some time at my friend, Mr. Butt, and have read a great many eloquent and witty things that he has said, I thought that if I had the opportunity I would say some good things too.”
  • 1883 AD

    Future President Taft visits

    Four years after Ulysses S Grant failed to reach Blarney, a future President of the USA, William H Taft, succeeded. As he recalled in 1908...

    "If this humor be the safety of our race, then it is due largely to the infusion into the American people of the Irish brain. It is now 25 years since I had the pleasure of visiting the Emerald Isle, and I remember its beauties well. We landed at Queenstown (Modern day Cobh) very early in the morning of a July day and it seemed to me that nothing was ever greener, nothing was ever sweeter, nothing was ever more attractive than the surroundings of Queenstown harbor at that hour. Thence we went to Cork and there in the suburbs that historic city we visited Blarney Castle and kissed the stone with all its mellifluous consequences."
  • 1887 AD

    Cork and Muskerry Light Railway

    A rail service opened from Cork to the very gates of the Castle on August 8th, 1887 - almost 2,000 people travelled to Blarney the following Sunday.

    It wasn't quick "passengers were advised not to pick blackberries while the train was in motion" but it made the Castle even more popular.

    It was well used by American visitors. In December of that year, the boxing legend John L Sullivan, at that time the reigning heavyweight champion of the world, travelled from Cork to kiss the Stone. Sullivan is still regarded as the most articulate heavyweight champion, certainly until Mohammed Ali.

    Of course, Ali's great great-grandfather grew up just around the corner from Blarney - but that's another story.
  • 1893 AD

    Chicago's World Fair

    To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus setting sail for America, a World Fair was held in Chicago.

    For 35 cents, one could visit a two-thirds size replica of Blarney Castle and, for what it was worth, kiss a replica Stone. The price was fully 10 cents more than a visit to a replica Eiffel Tower and shows how far the fame of Blarney had spread.

    It was claimed that every prominent Irishman in the world visited the attraction. There was controversy, however, as the promoters implied that it was the real Stone and not a replica – ‘Blarney Stone Here’ was the headline in the Chicago Post and the Mayor was duly photographed kissing it after its release from a safe.

    Not until the newspapers reported some months later that Sir George Colthurst, the owner, was sailing from Ireland to ‘out’ the fake did the truth begin to emerge.

    All of this was major news and perhaps unsurprisingly, the Castle also played a starring role in the St Louis World’s Fair of 1904.
  • 1904 AD

    European Rest Cure produced

    The Blarney Stone was involved in the earliest days of cinema. In 1904, the Edison Manufacturing Co. produced a motion picture called "European Rest Cure".

    The hero visits Blarney and is so eager to kiss the Stone that he arranges to be dangled by his heels over the ramparts. Sadly his helpers lack a strong grip - and we see him disappear through the bottom of the screen (he does later recover!). We're rather more careful of our visitors nowadays...
  • 1912 AD

    Winston Churchill visits

    Winston Churchill visited and kissed the Stone in 1912, while First Lord of the Admiralty. He was to become the greatest orator of the Twentieth Century, surely one of the greatest ever.

    Who can tell the value of that 1912 kiss, not only to Churchill but to all of the free world?
  • 1938 AD

    Blarney Stone stays in Blarney

    A syndicate of American businessmen offered Sir George Colthurst one million dollars to take the Stone on tour in the USA. But the Blarney Stone belongs in Ireland and the offer was rejected.

    An editorial in the New York Times suggested how the syndicate might have more likely succeeded. They should have first kissed the Blarney Stone and then made the proposition. The owner could not have rejected the offer without impugning the magical qualities of the stone.

    A crafty thought, but as our history demonstrates, we've seen off bigger challenges.
  • 1942 AD

    No imitations

    Ever since the World Fair of 1893, people have tried to pass off false promises as real Blarney.

    In 1942, the US Federal Trade Commission was moved to action on greeting cards. Manufacturers were restrained from the use of any ‘delusive, artful or adroit statement having the capacity or tendency to mislead purchasers or cause belief that fragments were actually taken from the real Blarney Stone.

    There is only one Blarney Stone and it can only be found inside Blarney Castle. Beware of imitations.
  • 1949 AD

    Hollywood steals the Stone

    The Blarney Stone returned to the screen in the 1949 film, Top O' The Morning, starring Bing Crosby.

    "One bright morning, the villagers near Blarney Castle, Ireland hear terrible news: the famed Blarney Stone has been stolen. Enter Joe Mulqueen, singing insurance investigator from New York..."
  • 1950 AD

    Stone of Destiny stolen from Westmister Abbey

    The Stone of Scone more commonly known as the Stone of Destiny or in Scottish Gaelic, An Liath Fàil and often referred to in England as the Coronation Stone is an oblong block of red sandstone, used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland, later the monarchs of England and since 1603, British monarchs.

    Historically, the artifact was kept at the now-ruined Scone Abbey in Scone, near Perth, Scotland.

    On Christmas Day 1950, a group of four Scottish students (Ian Hamilton, Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson, and Alan Stuart) took the Stone from Westminster Abbey for return to Scotland. In the process of removing it from the Abbey, the students discovered the stone was broken and probably had been for hundreds of years.
  • 1955 AD

    Lolita published

    Lolita by Nabokov proved one of the most controversial books of its time, but as the book and film reveal, what the girl really wanted was to visit Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone.

    Lolita: Have you ever kissed the Blarney Stone?

    Humbert: No, that's something I never did.

    Lolita: Boy, I sure wish I could.

  • 1984 AD

    Did Reagan kiss it?

    We're not sure if President Reagan kissed the Blarney Stone but he spoke as if he did. Here he is in Dublin in 1984... I also came to the land of my forebears to acknowledge two debts: to express gratitude for a light heart and a strong constitution; and to acknowledge that wellspring of so much American political success: the Blarney stone. I do not have to tell you how the Blarney stone works: many times, for example, I have congratulated Italians on Christopher Columbus's discovery of America; but that is not going to stop me from congratulating all of you on Brendan the Navigator. And again at the first state visit of President Herzog of Israel to America...

    "It is very difficult, well nigh impossible, to give adequate expression to what one feels on such a moving occasion. Not even something you and I have in common can help to overcome this difficulty. I'm referring, of course, to the fact that somewhere in our personalities we have a common advantage over many others: that of the gift acquired from the Blarney Stone."
  • 2006 AD

    Do It Before You Die

    Discovery Travel Channel lists kissing the Blarney Stone amongst its 99 things to do before you die.

    We look forward to seeing you.