Every family should visit Blarney Castle.
As an American expat living in Cork for nearly 13 years I have made multiple visits to Blarney Castle. Over the years there have been great additions to the castle grounds that make this a perfect day out for local families as well as tourist families.
Kids under 8 are FREE
Let’s be honest – we all took advantage for the ‘kids under 3 FREE’ policy that many places have, but just as the kids are old enough to enjoy some of these places you have to start paying for them! Not at Blarney Castle – in Blarney Castle kids under 8 go FREE. Ok, sure small children will have a tough time climbing the Castle stairs but with much more to explore on the grounds they won’t miss out. During out last visit we split the party and one adult took the 4, 5 and 8 year olds up to the top while I stayed on firm ground with a cautious 3 year old.
“I don’t want to kiss a dirty stone”
Then don’t!! You’ll never meet a bigger germaphobe than me. While I did kiss the stone on a visit to Ireland in my early 20’s the thought of doing it now totally grosses me out.
A visit to Blarney Castle & Gardens is about so much more than just the Blarney stone. If I’m honest Blarney Castle isn’t even the best persevered castle in Cork. Visitors will be disappointed if they are expecting to find restored rooms with period furniture – Blarney Castle doesn’t have that. What is does have is small staircases with ominous rooms in ruin where your imagination (and certainly a child’s imagination) can run wild. The view from the top on a fine day is worth the climb even if you don’t kiss the stone.
With multiple gardens and at least 4 different walks available, families can take all day exploring.
Exploring the gardens will lead you through dungeons and caves, a poison garden, wishing steps, the witch’s kitchen and so much more! Blarney is full of myths and enchanted stories that older children will enjoy.
Why not pack a picnic?
While the Stable Yard Café at the bottom of the castle service sandwiches and light snacks. In our opinion Blarney is best enjoyed wandering the gardens and finding a sunny picnic spot. Visitors who have the time to wander and explore the grounds will be rewarded. Unfortunately you might need to get out of the way of those traveling on bus tours who have a limited amount of time to whip around the gardens.
There are even play areas.
In recent years two modest but enjoyable play areas for children have been added. They are the perfect size to entertain the children in your family without being too large to cause an argument when you’re ready to move on.
For many locals who haven’t visited Blarney it’s well worth a trip with the family at any time of year. We usually save our trips to the castle for when vistors are in town. It still remains one of Cork’s best known attractions internationally so visitors are always keen to go. We’ve been many times and each time we’ve discovered something new and the kids especially have had a ball!
This Irish Family Top Tips:
- The castle steps are steep, narrow and made of stone. Use caution and your best judgement with people who are likely to find this difficult.
- Book tickets online to avail of greater discounts.
- Don’t always trust the sign at the bottom of the castle indicating how long the wait is to kiss the stone. Twice it has been an over estimate of how long it takes.
- The area around the Druids Circle, Witches Stone and Fairy Glade is our favourite part.
- The kids love the ice-cream outside Blarney Woolen Mills.
- Tourists not travelling by coach should stop in SuperValu in Blarney for picnic supplies.
- Locals should remember it’s Blarney Castle so there will be plenty of coaches and tourists…smile and go with it they are spending their money in Cork!!