Why Do You Kiss the Blarney Stone Upside Down

If you’re an adventure seeker and Ireland is on your travel radar, you’ve probably heard a lot about Blarney Castle and maybe even heard of the fabled Blarney Stone, which is said to hold the key to being a smooth talker.

Indeed, it is stated that kissing this stone bestows upon you the “gift of gab,” or the capacity to communicate clearly and elegantly. However, here’s the catch: you have to do it while hanging upside down around ninety feet above the ground. It must be nerve-wracking.

I learned about this stone’s bold stance during my study (a friendly tip: always do your homework before starting on a journey). It will guarantee that your trip goes well and that you get the most out of it!

Thus, my initial thought upon learning of the height was, “Why ninety feet?” Was there nowhere safer for them to go?

So grab a seat, if you’re as intrigued as I am, and join me as we embark on an exploration to find every hidden corner of Blarney Castle! You will have all the answers you have been longing for by the time we finish our voyage. Now let’s get started.

So first question: Why is it Blarney?

The definition of blarney in the dictionary is “talk intended to charm, flatter, or persuade people.” What’s fascinating about this definition is that it’s frequently associated with Irish people. I was intrigued, so I sought up the explanation and discovered this amazing story.

Legend has it that McCarthy deftly employed charm and persuasion to postpone discussions when Queen Elizabeth I demanded that he give up Blarney Castle. The castle was never taken because he diverted the attention of the Queen and the Earl of Leicester. The word “blarney” soon entered the Irish language when the Queen used it to characterize McCarthy’s justifications and the Earl’s meaningless progress reports.

Some claim magic was also present. McCarthy traveled to address the Queen amid the English threats, but he was certain he would still lose his property since he was a poor orator.

But before he departed, he encountered an elderly woman—some call her the witch—who informed him about a certain stone at Blarney Castle that, if he kissed it, would grant him the gift of gab. McCarthy proceeded to persuade the Queen, and it is now evident that he was quite effective.

In the present day, individuals kiss the upside-down stone in order to receive the “Gift of gab.” However,

Why do people kiss the Blarney stone upside down? 

Since it’s the only path to the stone, that is. You must descend around six inches from the rooftop base to reach the stone, which makes up a little portion of the castle’s wall. As a result, you must lie on your back and frequently lean backward. There will be an iron railing to support you. In order to prevent falling, you must lean backward and grip the iron railing tightly while managing the disorienting view of the earth from a height of ninety feet.

I have to admit that I was a little afraid. The castle was rather old, and I couldn’t help but worry if it could accommodate all of the guests. However, when I investigated, I soon discovered that although my age estimate was accurate, I had been mistaken to question its robustness. The stone itself has been a feature of the castle since 1446, even though kissing it became popular only in the 18th century.

We’ll hear the tales, but don’t worry, you’ll be in capable hands if you truly can’t stand heights. Every stage of the procedure will be guided by a qualified attendant who will ensure your safety. And believe me when I say that it’s far safer than the traditional method of kissing the stone.

Can you imagine that before they would kiss it, they used to make guests bind their ankles together? What a fearless custom! Of course, if it were that simple, everyone would be doing it!

When word got out that a tourist had slid loose and died tragically, this practice was discontinued. Yes, sometimes the traditional approaches aren’t always the best ones.

Thankfully, Blarney Castle is much more than just a stone; that much is true! So avoid the ninety feet if you’re scared.

More than the kiss!

The enormous building was the first thing that attracted my attention as I reached the castle grounds. The castle is stunning on its own. Its rich history, which spans more than 600 years, makes touring it feel like embarking on a time-traveling trip. My visit last January was amazing, and I can still recall every tiny detail!

After boarding a train at Dublin’s Heuston Station and traveling through the picturesque Irish countryside, I arrived at Cork Kent Station. I took a short bus trip from there to get to Blarney Castle’s entryway. Simple as pie!

The castle and I then met. It may surprise you to learn that this is not the first castle built on the site. A wooden building from the tenth century was constructed first, and then, in 1210 A.D., a stone edifice. Munster King Cormac MacCarthy demolished and rebuilt the fortress in 1446.

Blarney Stone’s adventure began right here. In order to strengthen the castle in the shape of a battlement, the stone was put to the tower in 1446. You will have to ascend a difficult 127-step spiral staircase in order to access the stone.

The act of climbing itself is an experience! There were opportunities to walk off and view chambers that contained historical stories on each story. As I went into each chamber, I sensed the interesting life people had in this castle.

The general rooms appeared adequate for bygone eras, despite their modest size. There were wayfinding signs everywhere. The rooftop view was the next surprise that I encountered when I followed it.

I was welcomed with breath-taking views of the gardens below as soon as I reached the roof. I promise that the castle’s height will provide an amazing vantage point, whether you’re waiting in line to kiss the fabled Blarney Stone or just taking in the landscape.

When we descended using a separate spiral staircase, the anticipation only increased. We found ourselves in even more amazing chambers and discoveries within Blarney Castle thanks to this new path. Allow me to mention a few.

The murder room

This chamber was situated above Blarney Castle’s main entrance. Despite the eerie name, there haven’t really been any murders there, so don’t be alarmed. Rather, it had a square opening where guards would hurl weapons and rocks at trespassers. This kept the occupants of the castle secure by defending it against attackers. Thus, despite its ominous name, it served as a crucial castle defensive location.

The Witch’s Kitchen

No, no, Witch’s Kitchen is a rock formation that looks like a kitchen, not a real kitchen. It is situated close to the castle’s foundation and is frequently covered in tours of the castle’s grounds led by guides. Many think that the witch from the mythology was the one who initiated the custom of kissing.

However, I have heard more enigmatic tales there. If you visit the location very early in the morning, you may see the fading embers of the fire in the neighboring cave. The witch is rumored to be free during the night.

You won’t find me anywhere near that cave, but I will most definitely return to Blarney Castle! Never, please. Look for me in the Herbaceous Border, please.

The Herbaceous Border

The Herbaceous Border at Blarney Castle is a must-see! It is a 100-meter stretch that resembles a flowery paradise.

A charming 80-meter rose pergola at the summit adds to the area’s allure. The various herbaceous plants that make up the border are said to be a must-see in the summer. It is teeming with a variety of herbaceous plants throughout those months, and in the fall, it is painted a vivid shade of orange. You will thus undoubtedly be in awe whether you arrive in the summer or the fall.

There’s more for those who adore greenery. The 60 acres of grounds at Barnley Castle include arboretums, fern gardens, poison gardens, and an ice house. You heard correctly. GARDEN OF POISON!


To be very honest, I never would have thought that 70 distinct types of deadly plants could be found in one place. These were all set up to inform guests about the toxic plants that can be found in gardens and the outdoors. The most hazardous plants were even kept in cages.

This is a place you should definitely see if you are visiting Blarney Castle. You will come across a notice that cautions against touching, smelling, or eating any plants, so don’t worry. You just need to protect your kids.

Finally, and most definitely not least, Blarney House.

Blarney House

From the top of the castle, I was able to get a glimpse of this fanciful home. How could one overlook such exquisite architecture?

The Colthurst family, who have held the estate since 1704, resides there primarily. When the family takes a vacation in the summer, Blarney House is open for visits.

It is not too far away if you walk; it is around 200 meters south of the castle. I entered and had an amazing experience, even if it seemed a little like looking inside someone else’s house while they were gone. However, it was intriguing to observe how the family incorporated contemporary living into this venerable home.

Don’t miss this one either, then. House tours start every 30 minutes, and you’ll need a separate ticket, which can be purchased at the door for €6.

You might imagine that there is something to enthrall any explorer, from the eerily lovely gardens to the intriguing architecture. I neglected to include a few: the Horse Graveyard, the Bog Garden, the Giant Rhubarb, Badger’s Cave, Druid’s Cave, Wishing Steps, an ice house, and expansive walking forests. A café, gift store, and exhibition rooms for the courts were constructed as additional tourist conveniences. I bought some presents and had some traditional meals to round off my trip.

Upon returning to Dublin, one aspect of the trip remained with me above all others: the welcoming nature of the Irish people. My journey was made much more memorable by the smiles and tales I encountered wherever I went. It receives a ten out of ten from me.


So, for the people gearing up to visit Blarney Castle, here’s the lowdown:

  • Be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of the castle grounds. Sometimes it can take more than hours to reach the top only, if you are late. 
  • Don’t forget to pack comfortable and sturdy shoes with good traction for climbing those spiral staircases. I repeat as they can be slippery.
  • Be aware if you are claustrophobic. The circular staircases are very small and tight (the castle is a few hundred years old) and with all the tourists it can take some time to get to the top. Even the steps don’t allow for turning around, which can be uncomfortable. 
  • Keep cash on you. Tickets to Blarney Castle cost around €20 for adults, €16 for students and seniors (65 and older), and €9 for children ages 6–16. Sometimes, for small purchases, they might not accept credit cards.
  • Look for special events, that can unlock more places. 
  • Plan to spend several hours exploring the grounds, I guarantee you will enjoy the place. 
  • Do try their local cuisine. But hey, you can carry your food too.
  • Oh, and most importantly keep your camera handy – you’ll want to capture every moment of this magical adventure! 

It’s possible that the Irish are born with a skill or attribute that the rest of us lack, but there is a means to acquire it. Over the decades, it has drawn millions of people, including Mick Jagger, the Simpsons, Winston Churchill, and many others.

There are others who really think that Winston Churchill’s gift of gab—which helped him secure the position of British prime minister in 1940—came from kissing the stone. And you, what say? When will you give it a go?

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