Visiting Blarney Castle: all you need to know to visit the most famous Irish Castle

blarney castle audio tour

All you need to know for visiting Blarney Castle: what to expect, how to go, if the visit is worth it, how to kiss the Blarney Stone.

Blarney Castle is one of the most famous castles in Ireland and one of the countries most visited destinations.

It is famous for being a medieval stronghold and for a peculiar story attached to the famous ‘Blarney Stone’ a stone that, if kisses, will give the kissed the gift of eloquence.

But is visiting Blarney castle worth it?

After many years in Ireland, during which I had ignored this castle, writing it off as a tourist trap without giving it a chance, one summer we fianally went and wow! I fell in love!

I was not expecting Blarney to be as beautiful as impressive as it is and now I can say with confidence that it is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland and one that 100% worth seeing.

In this article I will explain why visiting and how to make the most if your time at Blarney.

Table of Contents

Why is Blarney Castle famous?

Blarney Castle is most famous for being the home of the Blarney Stone.

This is a stone, high up at the top of the castle and that, if kissed, it is said to give the kissed the ‘gift of the gab’, aka the gift of eloquence.

It is not clear where the stone and its legend originally comes from however, there is no doubt that the stone attracts people from all over, thanks to its magical powers: over 200.000 people each year go kiss it!

The stone is by far the strongest reason for people to see the castle however, there is much more in Blarney than that.

The castle itself is stunning and atmospheric, the gardens around the castle are beautiful and the whole estate is rich of history and magical stories, which make it a wonderful place to visit also if you are visiting Ireland with kids .

Image of Blarney with text Is it worth visiting Blarney Castle

What is near Blarney Castle?

Blarney Castle is in the town of Blarney, in County Cork. It is an easy day trip from Cork city, and less than 2 hours away from Kilkenny and Killarney.

While far from Dublin (259 km, over 5 hours drive one way), the castle is so famous there are organized bus tours from Dublin to Blarney that make it possible to visit the castle as a day trip from Dublin too.

Best trips and day tours from Dublin to Blarney Castle

Many companies offer day tours to Blarney Castle.

They can be an excellent alternative to driving a car if you don’t feel like driving in Ireland or if you are on a road trip around the island and want to take a break from being behind a wheel for a day.

These are Blarney coach tours worth considering:

  • Dublin to Blarney Castle full day trip
  • Dublin to Cork, Blarney Castle and Cobh, full day trip
  • Dublin, Cork and Blarney full day tour

Good to now : if you are already in Cork, you can visit Blarney Castle and other tourist locations in the area with the hop-on hop-off bus service Cork Hopper .

blarney castle audio tour

How do you buy tickets for Blarney Castle

There are three main ways to book tickets for Blarney:

On day day, at the castle reception.

Online, from the castle official website

Taking a coach tour: they include entrance.

Need to know ! The tickets to Blarney castle are NOT fast track and you will have to queue to visit the stone. They are however discounted if booked online so, if you are sure of the date of your visit, they can be worth it.

How to kiss the Blarney Stone

The most famous attraction of all in Blarney is the stone. It is at the very top of the castle and getting to it takes a bit of patience (the line can be VERY long) and not to be afraid of heights.

The stone sits in a peculiar position atop of the castle and to kiss it, it is necessary to lie on your back and bend over backwards over a sheer drop between the castle top and the ground below.

To do this, you hold onto a railing and you also have staff to hold onto you: depending on your height, you are not really dangling down, however, the top part of your body is, hence my note about only doing it if you are not afraid of heights.

Due to the peculiarity of the manoeuvre, kids under 8 are not allowed to kiss the stone unless this is deemed safe by the attendant. If you are planning to visiting Balrney Castle with kids, read our family guide here .

Is Blarney Castle worth visiting without kissing the stone?

Absolutley yes! While the Blarney Stone is the most famous thing about the Blarney Castle, there are very many more things to do here that make a stop worth it.

I myself have no interest in the stone (definitely not with that queue anyway) but always love a day at Blarney. You can very easily ignore the stone altogether and have a wonderful day here.

Things to see in Blarney Castle

As I mentioned, there are several things that make Blarney Castle worth seeing, beside the stone.

The castle itself

Blarney Castle is a medieval castle originally built in 1200s and then rebuilt in the form we see today in 1446. It is one of the most most impressive castles surviving in the country and it is very beautiful.

Its wall are made of dark stone and the main part of the castle is a might tower, complete with battlements.

The castle sits on a cliff and this position plus its height make it positively imposing!

The castle also has a circular tower beside it which adds to the might of the complex.

blarney castle audio tour

Need to know : Blarney Castle is a castle in ruin and is to be visited for its outside and structure. Do not expect plush interiors of regal decor inside it!

The poison garden

Probably my favorite bit of all the Blarney Castle Estate is the poison garden, the garden of medicinal herbs just beside the castle

This is a pretty, very well kept garden with medicinal herbs (poisons) and it is also a bit of a scary place as these plants truly are active if touched or ingested and can be very dangerous: some so much that they are kept in cages!

Among the others, there are wolfsbane, mandrake, ricin and opium.

Need to know: if visiting with kids (see below also) it is paramount that you make sure they do not touch the plants. This is not a place to let a toddler run free.

blarney castle audio tour

The wishing steps

Below the castle, you find the so called ‘Rock close’ a very atmospheric part of the gardens with evocative forests, a cave and magical corners such as the Blarney wishing steps.

The wishing steps, as the name suggests, are said to grant wishes to the people walking up and down them, with their eyes closed.

They are a cool corner of the garden and an absolute hit with our kids but fun for all visitors, regardless of age: if you are looking for ‘Romantic Ireland’, you will find it at these steps!

blarney castle audio tour

The witches’ stone

In the same are as the steps you will also find the witches’ stone, a stone that has the features of a witch!

This is a fun this to see and the darkness of the stone, plus the mossy appearance of the area and the canopy of trees, make it truly atmospheric.

blarney castle audio tour

The witch’s kitchen

Blarney Castle doesn’t only have a stone in the shape of a witch but also a real witch!

She is said to come out at night and, if you head early enough in the morning to her kitchen, in the rock close, you are said to be able to sometimes see the embers of her fire still burning!

As you can see, Blarney Castle is a wonderful place for anyone interested in Irish legends and folklore.

The woodland walks

One of the things that make a visit to Blarney castle so worth it there are the woodland walks around the castle.

Immediately beside the most visited part of the garden, the nature gets wilder and you will quickly find yourself in a beautiful wooded area that feels very far away for the castle and the city.

The walks doesn’t require any especial equipment or level of fitness and it is peaceful and beautiful.

Visiting Blarney Castle with kids

We visited Blarney castle with our two kids and we all had a blast.

The castle grounds are lovely for kids to run around and the wishing steps, the story of the Rock close area have that magical feel that will truly transport them in a work of magic potions and concoctions!

The castle is well equipped with shop and facilities however, there are a few things to take inot account:

  • Kids under 8 are not allowed to kiss the stone, unless this is deemed safe by the Blarney attendant. Kissing the stone is dependent on height so also older kids with smaller height may be refused to participate.
  • The poison garden truly has poisonous plants so you must make sure kids do not touch the plants or get to close.
  • The inside of the castle is fun to visit with kids but hard with toddlers since the terrain is uneven and you do get pretty high up
  • The gardens are easily accessible by stroller but the castle isn’t

Aside from this, the castle is a lovely place for a family day out and one I highly recommend. Find our tips for visiting Blarney with kids here.

Blarney castle practical info

Blarney castle is very well equipped to welcome tourists and has a shop with snacks and souvenirs.

Immediately outside the castle, we had lunch at the Blarney Hotel which has a welcoming restaurant and cafe and is conveniently located just in front of the the castle.

The castle gets very busy and while there is no problem for the gardens, even at busy times, the visit to the inside of the castle can be a problem. I recommend you try come as early as you can or later in the afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of Blarney Castle and it helped you plan you day and answer the question: is a visit to Blarney castle worth it?

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Mama Loves Ireland

Céad míle fáilte! A thousand times welcome! I am a travel-loving Italian Mama lucky enough to call Ireland her home. Let my articles help you plan your trip to Ireland and get ready to fall in love with the Emerald Isle, just like I did. With love. M x

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7 BEST Blarney Castle Tours from Cork & Dublin 2024

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What are the best Blarney Castle tours? Do you need tickets to kiss the Blarney Stone?

These are just some of the questions that I’ll be answering in this comprehensive post! When planning a trip to Ireland, there are probably dozens of cities and rural towns on your must-visit list.

And one of them, I’d put money on, is likely to be the city of Cork! Just 5.6 miles from the city center, Blarney Village encompasses a stunning castle and surrounding gardens that lure in nearly half a million tourists every year.

blarney castle audio tour

Don’t have time to scour the entire post for the perfect tour? No worries!

This Blarney Castle Day Trip from Dublin is by far the #1 tour on this list with over 1,100 5-star reviews!

Easily one of the best Blarney Castle tours from Dublin!

With this complete guide, I’ll be sharing with you the best tours from Dublin and Cork to Blarney Castle, as well as a ton of essential information that you’ll need before you travel. After reading, you’ll be ready to book your Blarney Castle tickets and have everything you need for a fantastic experience!

Best Blarney Castle Tours

☘️1. blarney castle day trip from dublin.

Blarney Castle tours are most popular in the summer months

What’s Included? ⤵️

  • 12 hours in duration
  • Visit Blarney Castle
  • Kiss the iconic Blarney Stone
  • Rock of Cashel tour
  • Enjoy transportation via a luxury coach (with air conditioning)

Nothing quite compares to the charm and allure of the Emerald Isle, and with this 12-hour day trip from Dublin to Blarney Castle , you’ll be getting a taste of the very best it has to offer.

Not only will you get to visit the legendary Blarney Castle itself, but you’ll also get the chance to plant a smooch on the iconic Blarney Stone. That’s right – pucker up, because tradition says that those who kiss the stone receive the gift of eloquence!

But the day doesn’t end there. You’ll also get to explore the majestic Rock of Cashel, another gem of Ireland. All of this, while traveling in the comfort of a luxury coach equipped with air conditioning, (which let’s be honest, is really only necessary on those rare but existent warm Irish days).

Regardless, this is easily the #1 tour from Dublin to Blarney Castle , so whether you’re doing a stopover with Aer Lingus or you have a full day to spare on a multi-day trip to Dublin , this makes for an incredible day trip option.

If you’re interested in other day trips from Dublin , check out these 9 BEST Cliffs of Moher Tours from Dublin in 2024 !

☘️2. Blarney Castle Day Tour from Dublin Including Rock of Cashel & Cork City

blarney castle audio tour

  • Stunning drive through the Galtee Mountains and County Tipperary
  • Time for shopping in the Blarney Woollen Mills
  • Chance to kiss the Blarney Stone
  • Local expert and guide

Get ready for a day filled with majestic landscapes, memorable photo ops, and a dash of magic – all part of our 12-hour Blarney Castle Tour from Dublin . Your journey will pass through the breathtaking Galtee Mountains and the charm-laden County Tipperary.

You’ll also have a chance to do a little retail therapy at the Blarney Woollen Mills, a haven for Irish crafts and souvenirs . And let’s not forget the highlight – a chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone!

To top it all off, a local expert will be by your side, ready to answer all of your questions about the history of Blarney Castle and its gardens.

☘️3. Cobh (Cork) to Blarney Castle & Kinsale – Shore Excursion

blarney castle audio tour

  • 8 hours in duration
  • Live commentary from local guides
  • Pick up and return from cruise ship port
  • Storage for wheelchairs and scooters
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Admission to Blarney Castle & Gardens
  • Time allotted to explore Kinsale (one of my favorite small towns in Ireland!)

This 8-hour Shore Excursion from Cobh (Cork) to Blarney Castle & delightful Kinsale featuring local guides, (and we know how Irishmen are always full of fascinating tales and anecdotes), will bring the journey to life with live commentary.

They’ve got you covered with pick-up and return services from the local cruise port for those arriving by ship, not forgetting essential facilities for wheelchair storage.

Once onboard their comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle,you’ll have plenty of time to explore the beauty of Blarney Castle & Gardens. This tour departs from Cobh, so you’ll get a ton of time for sightseeing thanks to the short distance between the town and the castle.

After exploring the castle, you’ll have plenty of time to check out the quaint charm of Kinsale, one of my personal favorite little Irish towns!

☘️4. Easy Access – The Blarney Stone & Castle Gardens Tour

Blarney Castle tours provide excellent opportunities for photographers

  • 2.5 hours in duration
  • Skip-the-line entry to Blarney Castle
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone
  • Walking tour of Blarney Village
  • Do some shopping at Ireland’s oldest and largest Irish craft goods shop
  • Expert, English-speaking guide

For a breezy 2.5 hours, you’ll skip the queue and step straight into history at the iconic Blarney Castle. You’ll get the chance to plant a kiss on the legendary Blarney Stone, a must if you’re visiting Ireland, but don’t forget to wipe your mouth after… nearly half a million visitors per year means a lot of lips on that rock!

You’ll also get to explore the quaint and charming Blarney Village on a guided walking tour. Be sure to bring along your camera, because every corner is worthy of a postcard. Need a souvenir for the folks back home? You’ll have the chance to shop at Ireland’s oldest and largest Irish craft goods shop.

Your expert guide, an English-speaking local, will ensure you don’t miss a thing on this Easy Access Blarney Castle Tour !

☘️5. Cork and Blarney Castle Rail Tour from Dublin

blarney castle audio tour

  • Full-day train and coach trip to Blarney Castle, Cork, and Cobh from Dublin
  • Free time for shopping and lunch in Blarney Village

Ever considered taking a train down Ireland’s stunning eastern coastline from the heart of Dublin to the historic charm of Blarney Castle? Well, this is your chance.

This full-day jaunt, clocking in at 12 hours, is an unforgettable journey by train and coach, with the promise of fresh Irish air, stunning scenery, and the chance to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone. As the train chugs along, you’ll be captivated by the landscapes of the Irish countryside following you from Dublin to Cork.

Once you arrive, you’ll have ample time to explore the castle at your own pace. Afterward, enjoy some leisure time in the picturesque Blarney Village, perfecting for picking up some lunch at an Irish pub.

☘️6. Blarney Castle Cork City and Jameson Distillery Semi-Private Tour

blarney castle audio tour

  • 7.5 hours in duration
  • Visit the Jameson Distillery for a unique tasting
  • Admission to Blarney Castle
  • Semi-private tour
  • Professional local guide

On this spectacular 7.5-hour tour from Cork , guests will get not only the chance to explore Blarney Castle and access the Blarney Stone, but also get to enjoy a unique whiskey tasting at the popular Jameson Distillery! This in itself makes this one of the best Blarney Castle tours from Cork on this list in my opinion…

You will also get to go on a semi-private tour led by a professional local guide to help you make the most out of your experience. With the chance to visit multiple cities, enjoy a local whiskey tasting, and see Blarney Castle, don’t miss out on booking your tickets for this tour before it fills up!

If you are heading to Dublin and want to know how you can squeeze in some beer and whiskey tastings, check out these 5 top-rated Jameson Distillery tours and these 6 amazing Guinness Storehouse tours !

☘️7. Private Tour of Blarney Castle, Cork City and Kinsale

Most Blarney Castle tours provide allotted time for exploring the Blarney gardens

  • 6-7 hours in duration
  • Full-day private tour in County Cork
  • Visit Blarney Castle among other popular landmarks
  • Visit the fishing village of Kinsale
  • Local expert guide

Tailored to your pace and preferences, this Private Tour of Blarney Castle, Cork City, and Kinsale offers an intimate exploration of Ireland’s enchanting heritage. Lasting around 6 to 7 hours, this immersive journey takes you through the heart of County Cork and the quaint fishing village of Kinsale.

You’ll be accompanied by a local guide throughout the day, with special access to Blarney Castle and its gardens! Perfect for anyone seeking a more personalized experience or a group who wants to travel together, this tour is easily one of the best private Blarney Castle tours from Cork!

FAQ: Blarney Castle Tours

In this section, I’ll be providing some important information for your trip to the Blarney Castle grounds and everything you’ll want to know before you go!

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Blarney Castle?

Most Blarney Castle tours leave from Cork or Dublin

The Blarney Castle entrance fee is €20 for adults and €9 for children. Students and seniors can also receive a discounted entry of €16. Prices may vary, so it’s best to check the official website for updated prices before you book.

Is Blarney Castle Worth a Visit?

Blarney Castle is absolutely worth visiting! Blarney Castle is an iconic Irish landmark steeped in history and folklore. It’s also surrounded by stunning gardens and walking trails, making it a perfect day trip destination.

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to climb to the top of the castle and kiss the legendary Blarney Stone for the “gift of gab.”

The surrounding Blarney Castle gardens are also a real treat with their magical rock formations and lush greenery. Whether you’re a history buff, an avid lover of beautiful gardens, or just looking for a unique experience, Blarney Castle offers a memorable and worthwhile visit.

Is Visiting Blarney Castle Overrated?

blarney castle audio tour

Coming from someone who really dislikes typical tourist places, I can honestly say that visiting Blarney Castle is not overrated.

Sure, you can find hundreds of other castles throughout Ireland with far fewer tourists, but very few of them compare to the surrounding landscapes that encompass Blarney Castle.

Especially since the entrance/tour fee is very affordable and you’ll likely be visiting Cork anyway, you should absolutely be taking the time to visit Blarney.

How Long Do You Need at Blarney Castle?

To explore Blarney Castle and its picturesque gardens thoroughly, you should allocate at least 2 to 3 hours of your day.

This will allow you to walk around the castle, climb up and kiss the Blarney Stone, and stroll through the beautiful gardens at a leisurely pace. However, if you’re a keen photographer or a history enthusiast who likes to take their time, you might want to set aside half a day to really soak up all that Blarney Castle and its grounds have to offer.

Remember, the site does not rush visitors, so you can take your time to enjoy all the historical and natural beauty!

Are Blarney Castle Tours Good for People with Kids?

You have to climb 85 feet up the tower on Blarney Castle tours to kiss the Blarney Stone

Many tours to Blarney Castle offer a fun and educational experience for kids! Not only will they have a blast exploring the medieval castle, but the surrounding gardens are a great place for them to run around and get some energy out if you notice they’re getting a bit restless.

There are also several safe and interactive attractions within the castle grounds that will keep the little ones entertained.

Just remember, parental supervision is required, especially when climbing up to kiss the Blarney Stone, and ensure that the tour company you choose doesn’t have a minimum age requirement.

Can You Still Kiss the Blarney Stone?

Yes, visitors can still kiss the Blarney Stone! However, due to recent health guidelines and safety precautions, the process might be slightly different from before. But don’t worry, you can still hang upside down once you reach 85 feet up on the eastern wall of the castle!

Do You Need Tickets to Kiss the Blarney Stone?

blarney castle audio tour

Fortunately, whether your entrance is purchased via one of the Blarney Castle tours I mentioned above or you choose to visit the grounds on your own, the cost of kissing the Blarney Stone is included in the original entrance fee!

Remember to hold onto your ticket, as you may need to present it again when you reach the top of the castle. It’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance, particularly during peak tourist season, to ensure you get the best options for the day and time you want to go.

What is the Average Blarney Castle Tour Cost?

The average cost of a Blarney Castle tour can vary depending on the type of tour you choose. For instance, a simple admission ticket for a self-guided tour of the castle and grounds is around €20 per adult.

However, if you opt for a guided tour that includes transportation and a knowledgeable local, the price can range from €50 to €100 per person, depending on the tour’s inclusions and duration. For a more comprehensive and personalized experience, private tours are available but can cost upwards of €200.

Always check the specific details and inclusions of the tour on the tour operator’s website before booking.

What is the Best Way of Getting to Blarney Castle?

Blarney Castle tours departing from Cork only have to drive 5.6 miles to get to the castle and gardens

Blarney Castle is conveniently located just outside the city of Cork, and there are several ways to get there. If you’re driving, it’s a straightforward journey of around 5.6 miles (9km) from Cork city center, with ample parking available on site.

Alternatively, you can take a bus from Cork’s Parnell Place bus station; the 215 route stops at Blarney Village and the Blarney Woollen Mills, just a short, 5-minute walk from the castle. Here is the bus schedule if you’re interested!

If you prefer not to navigate public transportation, organized tours from Cork (and even from Dublin) often include transportation to and from Blarney Castle, providing a stress-free way to visit this enchanting site.

If you’ll be coming from Shannon Airport, then the best method to get to Blarney is to rent a car. You could also take a train to Cork (possibly with rail changes) and then get on the bus, but this will take a long time.

What Are the Best Times to Visit Blarney Castle?

The best times to visit Blarney Castle are during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October). Here are 16 BEST Places to Stay in Cork Ireland for your visit.

The weather is milder, the crowds are smaller, and you can still enjoy all that Blarney Castle and its grounds have to offer without the peak season high prices that Ireland often sees come June.

However, if you’re determined to visit during the summer months, try arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the busiest hours. It’s nearly impossible to snap a photo without thousands of people in it during the middle of the day!

What Should I Bring on my Blarney Castle Tour?

Many Blarney Castle tours provide ample time for exploring the grounds

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience on your Blarney Castle tour, here are some essentials you may want to bring:

  • Comfortable Shoes: The grounds of Blarney Castle are extensive and can involve a lot of walking, often over uneven surfaces. Comfortable, sturdy shoes are a must.
  • Camera or Smartphone: The castle and surrounding gardens are breathtaking, so don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture your experience.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and avoid hanger by carrying water and some snacks, especially if you’re planning to spend several hours at the site.
  • Rain Gear: Ireland’s weather can be unpredictable, even in summer. Bring a raincoat or umbrella just in case.
  • Sunscreen: Despite the unpredictable weather, the sun can be strong on clear days. Protect your skin with a high SPF sunscreen.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: If you’ve got some Irish in you, these are a must. The grounds aren’t well shaded, so you’re going to be spending time in the sun.
  • Small Backpack: A small backpack can help carry all your essentials while keeping your hands free for exploring and photographing.
  • Printed Tickets: If you’ve purchased your tickets online, it’s a good idea to bring a printed copy in case you don’t have service when you arrive.
  • Guidebook or Map: While there are signposts around the grounds, a guidebook or map could be useful for navigating and learning more about the site’s history.
  • Sense of Adventure: Above all, bring your sense of adventure and curiosity! Take your time exploring, snap lots of photos, and ask your guide plenty of questions.

For a complete list on what you should bring with you on your trip to Ireland, check out these 23+ Ireland Packing List Items !

Other Helpful Ireland Resources

9 BEST Tours from Galway to Cliffs of Moher 2024 12 Amazing Family Hotels in Limerick, Ireland 9 EPIC Giants Causeway Tours from Belfast & Dublin 2024 11 Best Dingle Accommodations: Where to Stay in Dingle Ireland Is Dublin in the UK? EU or Northern Ireland? Aldi in Northern Ireland: Plans for 2024 Does it Snow in Ireland: The Ultimate Guide to Winter in Ireland How to Easily Format your Ireland Address with Examples Is Donegal in Northern or Southern Ireland? Everything You Need to Know Is Dublin Safe for Travel? The ULTIMATE 2024 Guide Dublin Postal Codes & Zip Codes in 2024 (Map & Diagram!) 11 BEST Dingle Boat Tours in Ireland for 2024 30+ EPIC Things to Do in Dingle Ireland in 2024

Jump to the bottom of the post in search of the perfect tour? No worries!

In conclusion, a tour of Blarney Castle is an absolute must for any Ireland itinerary . Whether you book a day tour or you’ll be visiting Cork for a few days with plenty of time to explore, these ultimate Blarney Castle tours are sure to enhance your visit!

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Hey there! I'm Emily Concannon, a seasoned globetrotter who has backpacked her way across over a dozen European countries, immersing myself in the diverse cultures, languages, and cuisines of the region.

My passion for travel transcends personal experiences; I've spent years learning how to transform my globetrotting knowledge into personalized itineraries for fellow travelers worldwide.

With a tally of 26 countries (and counting!) under my belt, my day job involves extensive research on different countries which often leads me to booking a new adventure every chance I get!


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Kiss the Blarney Stone atop Blarney Castle!

Blarney Castle Tour from Dublin

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The 7 Best Blarney Castle Tours From Dublin 🏰 [2024 Reviews]

From jaw-dropping natural scenery and supreme beer, to majestic castles and a rich history, it’s no wonder that Ireland has remained one of the top tourist destinations.

While relatively small in size, it’s big in adventure, and there’s a lot to explore. If you want the best bang for your buck, then we have it covered for you.

We have the tours that are fun, well-organized, educational, and we feel spend the perfect amount of time at each attraction. Without further ado, here are the top Blarney Castle tours available!

Be sure to see our  reviews of Cliffs of Moher tours .

Best Tours of Blarney Castle From Dublin

Quick answer: the 7 best rated blarney castle tours for 2024.

  • Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour From Dublin
  • 3-Day Cork, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher Rail Tour
  • Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin
  • 2-Day Cork, Blarney Castle and Ring of Kerry Rail Trip from Dublin
  • Cork and Blarney Castle Rail Tour from Dublin
  • Blarney Castle Day Tour from Dublin Including Rock of Cashel & Cork City
  • Blarney Castle Day Trip from Dublin

Blarney Castle Tour Reviews

1. blarney castle full-day tour from dublin.

  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Departure:  Molly Malone statue outside the old stone church on Suffolk Street, Dublin
  • Departure Time:  6:50 AM
  • Includes: Entrance fees, transportation, guide services

Let’s start things off on the right foot, with one of the most consistently high-rated Ireland tours we’ve seen. The Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour covers 3 of the country’s top attractions, and really packs a lot in to a 12-hour tour! Just make sure you bring along a nice pair of walking shoes and sense of adventure!

Hop aboard a luxury, climate-controlled coach and head off through the heart of Dublin’s packed cityscape to the rolling, emerald hills of the countryside. This is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get some fresh air.

You’ll first venture to the Blarney Castle, which you’ve probably heard of before, because of the famous Blarney Stone. If you give it a kiss, you may just receive the “gift of eloquence”.

For over 200 years, all kinds of notable figures and pilgrims have journeyed to kiss this stone, and it is a bit cumbersome to do! You have to lean backwards while holding on to iron railing, to make sure you don’t fall through!

The castle in itself is mystical yet serene, with a very interesting history and countless places to take beautiful photos.

Next, head over to one of Ireland’s 7 Wonders: the Rock of Cashel. Here, you’ll be able to see the Hall of Vicars, Cormack’s Chapel, Celtic Cathedral, Round Tower, one of the country’s oldest wall paintings, and more. The grounds are very beautiful, as well, with ancient high crosses.

After, head over to one of Ireland’s most impressive Medieval castles: Cahir Castle. Constructed in the 13 th century, it is one of the largest and most well-preserved in the world with its original defensive structure.

More Information & Tour Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience, other dublin experiences you may enjoy:, 2. 3-day cork, blarney castle, ring of kerry and cliffs of moher rail tour.

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Departure:  Heuston Station Saint John’s Road West, Saint James
  • Departure Time:  7:00 AM
  • Includes:  Host on trains, information pack, reserved seats on trains, qualified driver-guide on coaches, all travel by rail and coach from Dublin Heuston Station, 2 nights accommodation in B&B, including full Irish Breakfast (2)

Let’s say you want to go all-in on your Ireland tour, and want to pack in as many experiences as possible! If that sounds like you, then you have to sign up for this next tour.

The 3-Day Cork, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, and Cliffs of Moher Rail Tour will take you throughout the beautiful scenery and stunning history of Ireland!

As you probably already deduced from the name, this tour does last for 3 days. However, it’s truly one of the best ways to go about seeing Ireland as it includes all coach and rail transport, full Irish breakfasts, 2-night accommodation, and more.

That way, you don’t have to worry about the logistics as it’s all taken care of for you! We really appreciated how they allow you enough time at each landmark and attraction to really get a feel for it and see everything you want to.

Cork, The Ring of Kerry, and Cliffs of Moher are all breathtaking, and there’s so much to learn. The city tour is a blast, and we loved the coastal panoramas at the Ring of Kerry.

That’s not all you’ll see, either. Limerick, Clare, and Galway are all stops on your multi-day tour. Everywhere you go, your tour guides will make sure to give you quite the education. They all seem to be very passionate about Ireland and its history, and we loved the fun personal anecdotes, too!

Killarney is so incredibly charming, and the people there are just lovely. It wasn’t a surprise then, that staying at the hotel here was wonderful.

The hospitality is practically unmatchable, and there was a great attention to detail. All in all, if you want to see a huge portion of Ireland without worrying about the logistics, this is the way to go!

Search For Other Top Rated Dublin Experiences You May Enjoy:

3. blarney castle full-day tour from dublin.

  • Duration: 13 hours
  • Departure: Paddys Palace, Lower Gardiner Street
  • Departure Time:  8:00 AM
  • Includes:   Transportation, g uide, entrance  to Blarney Castle and gardens

If you think that 3 days is a bit too much for you but really want to see Blarney Castle, there’s no need to worry!

We have you covered with the Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour from Dublin . Lasting 13 hours, it’s a great way to spend an entire day learning about the majesty that encompasses Blarney Castles, Gardens, and Cork.

With transportation included, all you have to worry about is bringing yourself and some comfy clothing! You’ll start off in Dublin and heading out through the open fields of the Golden Vale of County Cork.

This drive is quite pleasant, with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. As you get into Cork, you’ll stop at the picturesque River Lee, where you’ll get an hour or so to walk around.

With its beautiful old bridges and buildings on the banks, there is plenty to see. You can also check out the historic English Market or St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral which is a Gothic Revival, 3-spire beauty.

Next up is the legendary Blarney Castle, which holds the infamous “Blarney Stone”. Give it a kiss in hopes of receiving “the gift of gab” or flattery.

However, there’s much more to see in this castle and its grounds and gardens than just the stone. Built almost 600 years ago, it a must-see! Don’t forget to see the Witch’s Cave and grab some gifts at the Blarney Woolen Mills and craft shop.

The guides are very experienced and know just about everything there is to know about the area and castle! Once you have taken it all in, you’ll head to Dublin and arrive at around 21:00.

4. 2-Day Cork, Blarney Castle and Ring of Kerry Rail Trip from Dublin

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Departure:  Heuston Station Saint John’s Road West, Saint James’, Dublin, Ireland
  • Departure Time: 7:00 AM
  • Includes:  Host on trains, information pack, reserved seats on trains, driver/guide, all travel by rail and coach from Dublin Heuston Station, overnight accommodation including full Irish breakfast

Our next tour is one of the crowd favorites for those looking for a longer tour that encompasses some of the most iconic Irish attractions. The 2-Day Cork, Blarney Castle and Ring of Kerry Rail Trip from Dublin tour will give you a comprehensive experience where you’ll see everything you want and more!

Going on longer tours (such as this one), require the staff to be well-organized, entertaining, and experienced. That’s exactly what you’ll get here.

The drivers/guides clearly know the sites and areas very well, meaning that all your transitions from coach to hotel to site is a breeze. Listen, if you want to see Ireland the way locals do, then you are in for a real treat.

We’re going to be upfront with you: there’s also quite a lot of driving involved. Of course, you’ll be relaxing in a cozy coach seat enjoying the views outside your window. The drivers are very safe and know just how to navigate the winding roads.

On this trip, you’ll spend plenty of time in Cork, Blarney, Killarney, and more. Dingle Bay is quite a breathtaking place, and the overnight stay in the lively Killarney is a blast. The people there are so hospitable and just outright friendly.

While the sightseeing is obviously what most come for, it’s the historical insight, learning about the culture, and trying the delicious food that makes it so incredible. If there’s time, the guide/driver will even take you to some special spots like seeing sheep dogs!

5. Cork and Blarney Castle Rail Tour from Dublin

  • Departure:  Heuston Station Saint John’s Road West, Saint James’, Dublin
  • Includes:  Host on trains, information pack, reserved seats on trains, qualified driver-guide on coaches, all travel by rail and coach from Dublin

A full day tour in Ireland is great if you prefer to stay in accommodations you’ve already booked, or perhaps have plans in the evening. The Cork and Blarney Castle Rail Tour from Dublin is just the ticket, lasting 12 hours and packing in a ton of fun and adventure.

You may want to grab a coffee for some extra energy, though! You’ll head out first thing in the morning to arrive at Dublin Heuston Station to Cork. As the second largest city in the country, it’s actually known for being one of the best places to try delicious food and for its charm.

Once you arrive in Cork, you and the rest of your group will be boarding a coach and going straight to the infamous Blarney Castle!

The grounds alone are worth traveling for, with interesting rock formations, the “Poison Garden” with various poisonous plants, caves, and more! You’ll have plenty of time to walk around, while your guide provides an educational commentary on the history of the grounds and the significance of various places within them.

If you would like to bend over backward and give the Blarney Stone a kiss, you may just acquire the coveted “gift of eloquence”!

Now that you’re ready to charm everyone who comes your way, you’ll head into Blarney village. With fresh air, varied architecture with some serious character, and gorgeous scenery, there’s plenty to see here.

Next up is a visit to Cobh and the Queenstown Story Heritage Center, where you’ll learn about and see important landmarks in Irish history and emigration. It’s very interesting also hearing the story about the first Irish emigrant, Annie, who reached Ellis Island, along with so many others just like her.

6. Blarney Castle Day Tour from Dublin Including Rock of Cashel & Cork City

  • Departure: 5 Beresford Pl, Gardiner Street Lower, Mountjoy, Dublin, D01 R223
  • Departure Time: 8:00 AM
  • Includes:  All taxes, fees and handling charges, live commentary on board, driver/guide, air-conditioned vehicle, admission into Rock of Cashel, admission into Blarney Castle and Gardens, WiFi on board

We bring you yet another 12-hour Ireland tour with this one. The Blarney Castle Day Tour from Dublin including Rock of Cashel & Cork City tour will take you to Blarney Castle like our other tours, but you’ll also get to see the Rock of Cashel.

This ancient royal site goes all the way back to the 4 th or 5 th centuries as a fortress, and has quite the legends and history associated with it!

You and the rest of your group will head out from Dublin early in the morning, driving through the midlands and into County Cork.

This is an absolutely beautiful drive, which seems to make it go by a bit faster. In fact, you’ll even get to see the Golden Vale, which is known as one of the most fertile places in all of Europe.

Stopping first at Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary, you’ll walk where the famous St. Patrick once did. Surrounded by ruins, crosses, and round towers, it really does feel like you’ve stepped into another century.

Serving as the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of centuries before the Normans invaded, it is also home to some of the most impressive collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture in the world!

Next, you’ll spend 1.5 hours doing whatever you please in Cork. We highly recommend the old English Markets, which offer countless food stalls serving fresh, local produce. It’s so good, even Queen Elizabeth II of England has stopped by! This city is vibrant with character and delicious beer and whiskey, which often go hand-in-hand.

Meet up with your group once again, and head out to Blarney Castle & Gardens. Give a smooch to the Blarney Stone if you’d like, or take a stroll throughout the fantastic Blarney gardens!

The Lake Walk is highly recommended, and make sure to visit the Witches Cave! The Blarney Woolen Mills and craft shop is also quite entertaining, with unique gifts and art to browse through.

7. Blarney Castle Day Trip from Dublin

  • Departure: Suffolk St, Dublin 2, D02 KX03
  • Departure Time: 6:50 AM
  • Includes:  Air-conditioned vehicle, driver/guide, entrance fees

History, beauty (both man-made and natural!), culture, fun, and adventure. You can find it all here on the Blarney Castle Day Trip from Dublin tour . This 12-hour tour is a full day of excitement, and discovering new places and stories!

With transport by a luxury, climate-controlled coach and an experienced driver/guide, this is the best way to go about it! Meet up with your guide at a previously agreed-upon Dublin location and board the coach.

You’ll travel over to County Kildare, but on the way take in the beautiful rolling green hills and listen to the fascinating commentary the guide has to offer. They’re very well-versed in the area’s history, that’s for sure.

Once you pass through County Tipperary and Kildare, you’ll finally get to the Blarney Castle! Not only is it worth going for the Blarney stone – the castle has its own interesting history along with the grounds and gardens!

The guides do make it that much more intriguing, not like it’s really necessary. We found them to be very personable, funny, and well-educated on all things “Ireland”!

Next up is Cahir Castle and the Rock of Cashel, which we’ve already covered quite a bit. Both of them are crucial to Irish culture and history, even today. Considering they’re hundreds of years old, they’re both very well-preserved and are perfect for spending an afternoon around.

Take a guided tour of the Hall of Vicars and Cormac’s Chapel, which houses the oldest Romanesque wall painting in the country! You’ll see exactly why this tour is one of the most popular, even with so many different tours out there!

Your Guide To Dublin, Ireland

Getting there –.

Ireland is actually one of the most convenient European countries to travel to! With various US airlines offering nonstop flights, we recommend flying out of Atlanta, JFK (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. If flying from the east coast, you can expect your flight to be around a mere 6 hours!

As our tours all originate in Dublin, you’ll likely want to fly into this city. Keep in mind that there aren’t always direct flights to Dublin, and may be only available to Belfast. If that’s the case, there are plenty of excellent train services that run from Belfast to Dublin, and takes just a bit over 2 hours to get there.

Getting Around –

So, on these tours you’ll have all transportation covered. However, as you’re going to be staying in Dublin and won’t be on tours all of the time, you’ll need to know how to best get around. Thankfully, the city has made it incredibly easy to do!

Bus – Their public bus network is a budget-friendly, reliable way to get around as it covers the city and suburbs very well. You can pay with cash, but you must pay with exact cash and only coins. No change is given. Prepaid tickets are less stressful for many, and are just quicker and more convenient.

Tram – The Luas trams are quick and also very convenient. However, you will have to get a valid ticket before boarding. Leap Cards are ideal for longer stays, and you can reload your balance at the vending machines! Just make sure your ticket is valid in the zones you’re traveling in. Check out the Journey Planner on their website to plan this out ahead of time.

Bike – Dublin is a very bike-friendly city, and being such, there are tons of places to rent bicycles. Just keep in mind that it’s often pretty wet, so make sure you’re comfortable with biking on wet surfaces.

Walking – Walking is one of the best ways to see the city, as some of the best sites in Dublin are all located within a pretty compact space. People tend to be pretty friendly overall, and we found it to be safe in our experience. Again, be prepared for rain or drizzle at any time of year!

Where to Stay –

Keep in mind when making your plans for accommodation that if you’re taking a multi-day trip that your hotels/B&Bs will be taken care of during these days. Just don’t double book! Now, let’s take a look at the best areas of the city to stay in.

Smithfield – Located on Dublin’s northside, it used to be a little bit sketchy a couple decades ago. However, since then, it’s become much safer and offers tourists an insight into local lifestyles. Its big cobblestone plaza is so charming and is full of locally-owned restaurants and artisan cafes that are perfect for foodies and coffee lovers. Depending on the time of year, you may see some family-friendly festivals going on. Oh, and if you’re a raver or enjoy a good beer then you’ll love the array of warehouse clubs and packed pubs in the area.

Portobello – This area is full of history, from Eastern European Jews seeking refuge here, to the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw! In more recent times, it’s become the “go-to” area for trendy Dubliners to let loose and have a good time. Restaurants, art galleries, clubs, and more are located here. However, it’s also quite beautiful with trees and walking paths aplenty, along with the Grand Canal.

Merrion Square – A Georgian square located on the southside, it’s been around since 1762 and isn’t too far from the city center. The garden square is perfect for picnicking and is the perfect way to escape the hustle-and-bustle of crowded tourists spots. If you or traveling partner(s) is a history buff, you’ll have to check out the revolutionary landmarks that dot the area. Not only that, but the National Library, National Gallery, and National Concert Hall are all located here.

O’Connell Street – From boutiques and vintage shops to hot clubs and delicious restaurants, it’s all located here. Not only that, but there are all kinds of hotels for any budget. If you want to get right into that busy Dublin center, this is the place to be as O’Connell is the city’s main street.

Restaurants and Eating Out –

Contrary to what many may think, Dublin is much more than potatoes and corned beef! In fact, it has an incredibly diverse food scene that is quite impressive on an international scale.

Chapter One – Melding traditional Irish ingredients with international cooking techniques, it’s a perfectly sophisticated spot to go on a romantic date or simply enjoy delicious eats. We love the fish served atop beets, potatoes, celery, carrots, and mushrooms with a creamy Maltaise sauce to finish it off.

Brother Hubbard – Having been around for over 10 years, it’s perfect for a rainy day (or genuinely any day as it’s that delicious). A modern twist on traditional comfort food along with some of the best coffee in the city. You have to try the Beans and Pulled Pork Special! Keep in mind that there are now 2 locations, but the original one is our favorite and is located on Capel St.

The Winding Stair – Just looking at this restaurant, you can see it’s just the quintessential Dublin spot. Grab one of the countless books available (including UK and European editions of contemporary literature along with many classics), and head up for breathtaking vistas of the River Liffey. Fill up with a traditional Irish meal with a fancy twist. Our favorites were the seafood chowder and potato dumplings.

Lucky Tortoise – Who doesn’t love some good dim sum?! The Lucky Tortoise is just the spot, and is known for its mouthwatering potstickers, savory Japanese pancakes and wine on tap! It’s also an excellent selection if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly restaurant.

The Pepper Pot – Are you a sandwich lover? If so, look no further than The Pepper Pot. If you want a life-changing experience, try the bacon and roast pear sandwich at this lovely restaurant located inside the gorgeous Georgian Powerscourt Townhouse. Their fluffy homemade bread and cheese is incredible, along with their baked desserts!

Cornucopia – If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or simply like eating this kind of cuisine, Cornucopia is a great option. It’s a neighborhood staple and has been for over 2 decades now, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Nightlife and Entertainment –

Dubliners tend to be a lively bunch who enjoy everything from a good live music venue to bustling pubs to thumping warehouse clubs.

Whelan’s – Many notable bands and artists have begun their careers at Whelan’s, which is known as one of the most reputable live music venues in the country. You can find all kinds of music here, depending on the night! From old-school to indie rock bands, to DJs – there’s really something for everyone.

The Cobblestone – If you’re looking for the ultimate Irish pub and live music spot, this one has to be at the top of your list. Having pumped out Guinness and folk tunes for decades now, it’s a blast and a wonderful way to spend a night out.

Café En Seine – Are you looking for an upscale spot to dress up and enjoy all things glamorous? This cocktail bar is creative, and sports beautiful art nouveau rooms across a whopping 3 floors. Not to mention their outdoor street garden gives serious Parisian vibes.

Peruke & Periwig – What a charming little place this is! If you’re up for kooky cocktails, chill music, and love a throwback, you’ll find that and much more here.

Dublin has much more to offer than just clubs and bars, however, and we’d be remiss not to mention some of them!

Theater – If you didn’t already know, Dublin has a very rich literary history, with the likes of Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and many others calling this city their hometown. As you can imagine, these performance traditions are still going strong. There are many fantastic theaters to check out, such as: The New Theatre, The Olympia, The Gaiety, and The Abbey Theatre.

Ghost Bus Tour – For us, this is a must-do. The Gravedigger Ghost Bus Tour is fun, interesting, and will surely offer a solid history lesson! As Dublin is 1,000 years old or so, there are plenty of stories and sightings that’ve been retold and many of which are definitely not for the faint of heart!

Comedy – There are tons of great Irish comedians, and if that sounds interesting to you, check out what’s going on at Vicar Street.

Weather –

As we’ve mentioned before, you can feasibly expect to see rain in Dublin at any time of year. However, we highly recommend visiting in April or May, if possible. This time is the perfect balance between smaller tourist crowds and nicer weather. Just remember that St. Patrick’s Day (March 17 th ) and around Christmas is going to be packed in the city.

The summer months understandably have the warmest weather, though this is also when the crowds will be the largest. It all depends on what you value more: nicer weather or smaller crowds. Regardless, you should always bring a jacket with you as Dublin tends to stay a bit cool throughout the year.

Attractions –

Trinity College – It’s true that there’s almost always going to be a line of people waiting to visit Trinity College. However, it’s absolutely worth the wait! With all kinds of important artifacts, hundreds of thousands of some of the world’s oldest books, the Book of Kells, ancient Irish harps, and more it has to be experienced at least once.

St. Stephens Green – If you want to get out and enjoy some fresh air, take a leisurely stroll around here. The Georgian buildings that surround it are also beautiful, and with 22 acres, it’s a great way to relax and calm the mind.

Kildare Street Museums and Houses of Parliament – The Irish Parliament was once known as Kildare House, which was commissioned in 1745 by James Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare. The National Library is very close, and comes with all kinds of legendary literature and a permanent W.B. Yeats exhibition.

National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology – If you’re a history buff, you’ll love this one. It comes with jaw-dropping exhibitions of all types. However, some of the crowd favorites are Ireland’s Gold, Prehistoric Ireland, and their Viking Collection.

The Irish Emigration Museum – This museum has all kinds of stories about Irish emigration throughout the centuries. With an impressive 20+ themed galleries to check out, it also talks about how Irish immigrants have influenced the places in which they’ve relocated to.

Kilmainham Gaol – Having been around since 1789, this jail is kind of creepy but very interesting. The 1916 rebels were first held and executed here, so it does have a rather dark history. The guided tours cover Irish history for the last couple hundred of years.

Christ Church Cathedral – As you probably already know, Ireland has absolutely gorgeous pieces of architecture and Dublin is no different. Restored in the 19 th century, it was actually built where the city’s first church once stood from 1028! You can also see the replica of the Norman conqueror, Strongbow!

Tips –

  • Watch out for street signs. If you’re trying to get around, it can be a bit tricky if you aren’t really looking as some of the signs have faded or are covered by plants, trees, etc. Many locals just use landmarks and pubs for directions to somewhere rather than street names.
  • If you’re trying to cross the street, just follow the locals. If you see them jaywalking to the other side, you do the same.
  • Wake up early and get out there! If you want Dublin “to yourself” try to get up early! Grab a coffee somewhere and head out to wherever you want! We recommend going to the most tourist-heavy places first as these are less likely to have lines or crowds early on.
  • Grab a Dublin Pass, which includes entry to most of the most iconic local attractions. Not only that, but it lets you use the Hop On and Off bus for free! This makes getting around the city so much more convenient and affordable!
  • Do some days trips, especially take a tour of the Cliffs of Moher , these stunning cliffs are over 700 feet tall and considered the 8th wonder of the world.

Tour Guides

The Cahir and Blarney Castle Full-Day Tour From Dublin is our Editor's Choice for the best tour of the Blarney Castle

Robert Baker

Related articles, the 7 best cliffs of moher tours from dublin [2024 reviews], the 5 best dublin whiskey tours [2024 reviews], 🍺 the 7 best dublin pub crawl tours [2024 reviews].

Private Tour of Blarney Castle, Jameson Distillery and Cobh

blarney castle audio tour

  • Private transportation
  • Entry/Admission - Blarney Castle & Gardens. Adult price - 20 EUR and Child between age 6-16 - 9 EUR
  • Entry/Admission - Jameson - From €25.00 per person
  • Entry/Admission - Blarney Castle & Gardens
  • Entry/Admission - Midleton Distillery Experience
  • Annie Moore Monument, Ringmeen, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland If you are arriving on a cruse ship I will meet travellers at the Annie Moore statue which is just at the exit of the Cruise terminal. For Cork City pickup I will meet you at your hotel. Locations for pickup are available in select pickup locations.
  • If you need to contact your tour guide when you arrive please call +353 21 4193000
  • Cork Airport, Cork Ireland
  • Cobh Cruise Terminal, Ringmeen, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Stroller accessible
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
  • Blarney Woollen Mills
  • Blarney Castle & Gardens
  • Cobh Heritage Centre The Queenstown Story

Similar experiences

blarney castle audio tour

  • You'll start at Annie Moore Monument Or, you can also get picked up See departure details
  • Pass by Cobh Heritage Centre The Queenstown Story
  • 1 Blarney Castle & Gardens Stop: 3 hours - Admission excluded See details
  • 2 Blarney Woollen Mills Stop: 60 minutes See details
  • 3 Midleton Distillery Experience Stop: 2 hours - Admission excluded See details
  • 4 Cobh Stop: 60 minutes See details
  • You'll return to the starting point

blarney castle audio tour

  • barbaraaF1547UU 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles A Spellbinding Tour of Ireland's Finest with Derek from Private Tours Cork From the moment we met Derek from Private Tours Cork, we knew we were in for something special. His warm welcome and profound knowledge of Ireland set the stage for what became the highlight of our Irish escapade. Our private tour covered Blarney Castle, Kinsale, and Cobh, each site brought to life through Derek's captivating storytelling and unique insights. Our day began at Blarney Castle, where Derek navigated us through the stunning grounds and up to the famous stone with ease, avoiding the bigger crowds and making sure we had a personal experience. His tales of the castle's history and legends were both enlightening and entertaining, making the kiss of the Blarney Stone not just a fun photo op but a meaningful interaction with Irish heritage. Next, we ventured to Kinsale, a charming seaside town where Derek's local knowledge was invaluable. He recommended a superb place for lunch with views of the harbor that were simply divine. As we walked through the colorful streets, Derek shared stories of Kinsale’s past as a major naval port and its current renaissance as a gourmet getaway, enriching our visit far beyond the typical tourist experience. The final stop was Cobh, known for its Titanic heritage. Derek's narrative of the town's connection to the ill-fated ship was deeply moving, especially as we stood overlooking the harbor from which it made its last departure. He also introduced us to lesser-known aspects of Cobh, including its architectural beauties and monumental role in Irish emigration history. Throughout the tour, Derek was exceptionally considerate, customizing his commentary to our interests and pacing the day to suit our needs. The vehicle provided was comfortable and spacious, ensuring that our travel between sites was as relaxing as it was scenic. I cannot recommend Derek and Private Tours Cork highly enough. This tour is a must for anyone wanting to discover the real gems of Ireland through the eyes of a passionate local expert. Whether you are a history enthusiast, love picturesque landscapes, or simply want to experience the culture and charm of Ireland, Derek’s tour is a perfect choice. Booking this tour was the best decision we made on our trip, and it provided us with memories that we will cherish forever. If you want to see Ireland in all its glory, do yourself a favor and book a tour with Derek. It's truly an unparalleled experience! Read more Written May 7, 2024
  • Sally H 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles A rare gem! The best of the best! Wow! I feel so lucky to have found Derek! Initially, we hired Derek for Cliffs of Moher Tour one day and another the Blarney Castle tour. We were so blown away by Derek’s knowledge and the pure joy and laughter he brought- we hired him to take us to Belfast and included some important sights including Derry, the Peace Bridge and the Giant Causeway, to name a few. Best decision ever! Derek is a very rare gem! I can’t recommend him enough. I am leaving Ireland feeling I have experienced the rich and heartfelt history of this country. And more importantly- its heart. Derek is the Michelin Star of Tours!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Read more Written April 14, 2024
  • emilyjN9698FK 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Private Tours Cork are more than amazing. On a very Cold January day in Ireland the morning started with the biggest smile from Derek. He was waiting for us in the reception of our hotel. We had the most amazing day. He is such a special and wonderful person that was so kind. Even when our tour was over he kept in touch while we traveled around Ireland. I think it's amazing when staying in Dublin and our transport never turned up we phoned him and asked could he help with a number for someone to collect us he said I'll do better for you and made a few phone calls and had a transport collect us in 9 minutes. Myself and my husband will be recommending Private Tours Cork to everyone we know traveling to Ireland and our recommendation to everyone is make sure you ask for the owner Derek because he is such an amazing person and guide. Read more Written January 28, 2024
  • abigailtM8276JS 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles 5 Star private Chauffeur tour of Cork What an amazing day in Cork With Derek. From the moment we met him at the Hayfield Manor Hotel we knew this was going to be a special day. We traveled to Blarney Castle and it was amazing and not busy which was fantastic. Derek was full of stories and laughter as we walked around. We experienced Blarney Woollen mills next and Derek was waiting with cups of hot chocolate to warm us. We traveled to the beautiful fishing village of Kinsale and had the most amazing lunch. When we arrived at the hotel all the staff knew Derek and really did everything possible for us. After we experienced the very best of Kinsale and then we made our way to Cobh and what can I say only what a special place. The Cathedral is a must see. When booking we read all the reviews about Derek and we said if he was half as good as people say it would be an amazing day but the truth is Derek is simply amazing. A very special and kind person that really does everything possible for his guests and we would recommend him to everyone that is planning a visit to Cork. Read more Written December 7, 2023
  • Renee D 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Best Private Tour there is! This Tour was one of the best we’ve ever been on. Communication leading up to the trip was great. Derek is fun, energetic, full of stories and history. You walk away feeling you made a friend. I would highly, highly recommend choosing this private tour!!! Read more Written October 6, 2023
  • kimlX9915HI 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Great Cork shore excursion What a wonderful, fun day!! Derek was amazing- knowledgeable and entertaining! We had a limited amount of time and wanted to see as much as we could. Derek made this happen! We got to Blarney Castle before the large crowds and we’re able to spend time in the gardens - beautiful! On to the Jameson Distillery-a great time there with special parking and awesome tips from Derek!! Lastly, we had a special request to see a church and have a Guinness in a pub. Derek made both of these happen! What a very fun day! Loved Cork!!! Read more Written August 19, 2023
  • 848muneeburr 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Derek's Expertise "Derek's tour was an absolute delight! His incredible knowledge and passion for Ireland were evident from the start. Throughout the tour, Derek shared fascinating insights into the country's history, culture, and natural wonders. His friendly and approachable demeanor made the experience even more enjoyable. I felt privileged to learn from such an expert guide. If you're looking for an informative and engaging tour, Derek is the perfect choice!" Read more Written July 12, 2023
  • brianmT6828VF 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Day tour with Derek Derek is a great driver and very knowledgeable. He made pickup and drop off very easy. We had a great day tour! Read more Written June 29, 2023
  • danajmartin 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Fun Day Exploring with Derek Derek was very friendly and knowledgeable. The ages of our group ranged from 14-83 and everyone had a great day. He even threw in a couple of extra stops at the end of the day that were fabulous and most appreciated. One of our group had limited mobility and Derek went out of his way to make her comfortable and let her experience and enjoy many sites. One note, the car we had would be much more comfortable for three people than four. I would suggest inquiring about the car size if you have more than 3 adults. Thanks Derek! Read more Written June 28, 2023
  • davidoU5190ZI 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles First class service and Amazing day tour of Cork We booked Private Tours Cork to look after our customers for a day tour of Cork that was last minute and our customers had a fantastic day. Thank you for helping us and we will definitely use your service and recommend to all our customers. Read more Written June 11, 2023
  • D8642SGjennyp 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Private tours Cork are Amazing Left a review for our Kerry tour and was asked to leave a review on this page also. What can I say. Derek and Private Tours Cork are amazing. Kept in contact before booking and they do everything to make your tour special. A fantastic service and would highly recommend. Will be back next year for more tours with these guys Read more Written June 1, 2023
  • D8642SGjennyp 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles 5 Star tour of Kerry with Derek What an amazing day. We travelled from a city Hotel in Cork to beautify Killarney and the lakes was amazing. I’m back in Cork with my husband and having grown in Cork Before moving to America many years ago this was extra special. Derek was kind and funny and had us laughing the time. For some reason the horses in the park loved him and we managed a few selfies. Walking down by the lakes was very special. We went to Kenmare for lunch and had proper Irish food. We had a walk wind the town and Derek was like the Mayor with people stoping to say hello. I loved the way when people asked who are we and his answer with a smile was, Good friends from America. I can’t thank Derek enough and he promised he will keep in touch as we will come back next year with my parents and will use this service for a few days. Thank you so much Derek, As you said at the start of the tour, A stranger is a friend we have not met yet and leaving you today it really did feel like saying goodbye to a friend for a while. Anyone thinking of this tour, just book it as it’s amazing with Derek. Read more Written June 1, 2023
  • debbiefH7135KO 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Amazing tour of Cork Derek is such a beautiful and kind person. We went on a one day tour with him. I traveled with my husband and two children. From the first minute we met he had a smile on his face and did everything possible to make sure we had an amazing day. If you’re thinking of a tour in Cork then a day tour with Derek is not to be missed. Thank you so much Derek. Read more Written May 26, 2023
  • jessyt221 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Tour and Transfer from Cork We had a fantastic experience with Derek. We used his services for a tour of Cork and also our Transfer to Dublin Airport. He was amazing and friendly and did everything possible for us. Sometimes you do find an amazing person that offers an amazing service and I would recommend Derek to everyone. Thank you so much and see you next year. Read more Written May 20, 2023
  • jessyt221 0 contributions 5.0 of 5 bubbles Amazing private tour of Cork with Derek We had a fantastic experience with Derek. We met him in Cobh and from the first moment to the last he had a smile on his face and did everything possible to help us. We went to Blarney Castle, Kinsale and Cork City. It was an amazing day and we would recommend him to everyone. A true gentleman. Thank you Derek. Read more Written May 20, 2023

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Private Tour of Blarney Castle, Jameson Distillery and Cobh provided by Derek O'Keeffe Private Tours Cork

The Irish Road Trip

Blarney Castle: The Home Of ‘The’ Stone (Oh, AND A Murder Hole + Witch’s Kitchen)

By Author Keith O'Hara

Posted on Last updated: December 29, 2023

Blarney Castle: The Home Of ‘The’ Stone (Oh, AND A Murder Hole + Witch’s Kitchen)

There are several places in Ireland that are often referred to as ‘tourist traps’. Blarney Castle is one of them.

Up until 2016, I probably would have agreed with those that labelled it a ‘trap’, even though I hadn’t visited it at that point.

It wasn’t until a wild and wet October morning, on a trip with friends, that I first visited what is often described as one of the best castles in Ireland .

Since then, I’ve never said a bad word about Blarney Castle. In the guide below, you’ll get an insight into the history of Blarney Castle and Gardens, it’s very  unique and often-missed attractions along with a load more info.

Table of Contents

Some quick need-to-knows about Blarney Castle

kissing the blarney castle

Photo left by Chris Hill. Photo right by CLS Digital Arts (Shutterstock)

A visit to Blarney Castle is one of the most popular things to do in Cork , so it’s fairly straightforward to drop by. However, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

You’ll find the now-iconic Blarney Castle and the world-famous Blarney Stone in the little village of Blarney, around 8km northwest of the buzzy Cork City.

2. Opening hours

The opening hours for Blarney Castle are 09:00 to 17:00 all year round (last admission is 16:00). It’s closed on December 24th and 25th (opening hours may change so check in advance ).

3. Admission/tickets

Admission to Blarney Castle is steep enough. Especially if you’re only planning on a fleeting visit. Note: these prices may change:

  • Adult Admission: €20 
  • Student/Seniors: €16 
  • Children (8-16 years / under 8 free): €9
  • Family (2 adults + 2 children): €50

4. The Blarney Stone

Yes, it’s within Cork’s famous castle that you’ll find the world-famous Blarney Stone that supposedly grants all of those who kiss it with the gift of the gab. More below.

A brief history of Blarney Castle and Gardens

blarney castle

Photo via Atlaspix (Shutterstock)

So, there have been three Blarney Castles over the years – the first of which was built from wood many years ago. Here’s an insight into the three castles:

The first castle

It’s believed that the first castle to be built in Blarney was built from timber, as was the case with many castles in Ireland at the time.

Although the exact date of construction is unknown, it’s believed that it was constructed sometime before 1200.

The second castle

The second Blarney Castle, which was made from stone, is thought to have been constructed around 1210.

This castle stood until 1446 when it was destroyed. Interestingly enough, it’s believed that the Blarney Stone was placed in the castle during the same year.

The third castle

The Lord of Muscry, Cormac Láidir MacCarthy, rebuilt the castle not long after. The site was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars and was seized by Parliamentarian forces a number of years later, in 1646.

After being restored, the castle was given to Donough MacCarty, 1st Earl of Clancarty. Then, during the Williamite War, the castle switched hands again. 

It was then that the 4th Earl of Clancarty was overthrown and his estate, which included Blarney Castle, was taken by the Williamites.

The castle was bought and sold by a number of parties before it was purchased by Sir James St. John Jefferyes, the governor of Cork City, at some stage during the early 16th century. 

Unique things to do at Blarney Castle and Gardens

There’s plenty more to experience at Blarney Castle other than the stone. In the section below, you’ll find some of the most unique and unusual attractions that the grounds boast.

From incredible views and poison gardens to the witch’s kitchen (yes, a witch!) and a murder hole, you’ll find something below to tickle every fancy.

1. The Magnificent Gardens

Many people, myself included, tend to travel to Blarney Castle to see the castle. However, the best part of a visit here, in my opinion, is the castle grounds.

On the day that we visited, the weather was miserable. We grabbed a coffee from a little cart (I’m not sure if this is still here) and had a wander around.

The best place to get a look at the sheer size of the 60 acres of lush gardens and parklands is from the top of the castle. The view from here is will knock you sideways.

2. One of the only Poison Gardens in Ireland

Interestingly enough, you’ll find one of the few Poison Gardens in Ireland in Blarney Castle, not far from the Castle battlements.

It’s within the walls of this garden where a number of plants reside that are so toxic that some have to be contained in cage-like structures.

Inside, you’ll find a collection of poisonous plants from right across the world, including Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin and Opium. Naturally enough, you enter this part of the grounds at your own risk.

3. The Murder Hole

Yes, the Murder Hole. Sounds very mysterious altogether, doesn’t it?! You’ll find the Murder Hole on the second floor of the castle, where it’s blocked off with an iron gate.

The Murder Hole was used when the castle walls were breached and the enemy was running about inside. The hole was used by those defending the castle to pour boiling liquids on top of unsuspecting invaders.

4. The Wishing Steps

The Wishing Steps are missed by many that come to Blarney solely to visit the stone. The steps are found within an area known as ‘Rock Close’.

It’s said that if you can walk down and back up these steps with your eyes completely closed while making a wish (without stopping), your wish will come true within a year.

5. The Witch’s Kitchen

Yes, the Witch’s Kitchen. See there’s plenty more to this place than an aul stone! It’s believed that an area known as the ‘Witch’s Kitchen’ was home to the first Irish cave dwellers.

It’s said that, if you arrive at the kitchen in the early morning, you’ll find the remains of a fire that was lit by a witch late the night before.

6. The Dungeon

You’ll find a number of dark passages and chambers in the area right below the castle. Each section is believed to date from different periods and the majority of them are accessible. One of the most interesting sections of the dungeon is what’s believed to be the castle’s prison.  

The Blarney Stone

kissing the blarney stone

Photo by Chris Hill

Ah, the Blarney Stone . It’s arguably one of the best-known (and oddest) attractions in Ireland with hundreds of thousands of people planting their lips on it every year.

For a whopping 200 years, Hollywood actors, literary greats and many a man, woman and child have travelled to Cork to with the intention of kissing the stone.

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone is on the bucket list of many a tourist that’s visiting Ireland for the first time. Back in the day, visitors to the castle had to be held by the ankles and lowered down to kiss it.

Can you imagine trying to get insured for something like that now… Today, kissing the stone is an awful lot more straightforward – the stone is set into the wall right below the battlements.

In order to give it a big aul kiss, you need to lean backwards (you’ll have an iron railing to cling onto), stick your head under the stone wall (pictured above) and plant your lips on it.

The Stone of Eloquence and the Gift of the Gab

Legend has it that each of those that kiss the stone will be given the gift of eloquence. Now, if you’re scratching your head and wondering what this means, it means that those that kiss the stone will have the ability to talk sh*te.

However, the more appropriate translation for the Gift of the Gab is that those who possess it are said to be able to chat away easily and confidently.

Things to do near Blarney Castle in Ireland

One of the beauties of the castle is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Blarney (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Cork City (20-minute drive)

cork gaol tour

Photo by Corey Macri (shutterstock)

There are heaps of things to do in Cork City , from the brilliant Cork Gaol and Elizabeth Fort to Blackrock Castle , St Fin Barr’s Cathedral and much, much more.

2. Cobh, Midleton and Kinsale (40-minute drive)

cobh cathedral

Photo by Peter OToole (shutterstock)

The towns of Midleton, Kinsale and Cobh are a short, 40-minute spin from Blarney Castle, and both are home to loads to see and do. Here are some guides to hop into:

  • 10 things to do in Cobh this summer
  • 11 things to do in Midleton you’ll love
  • 19 worthwhile things to do in Kinsale

FAQs about visiting Blarney Castle

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from kissing the Blarney Stone to when the grounds are open.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is Blarney Castle worth visiting or is it a tourist trap?

If you’re only looking to see the stone and you’re not interested in exploring the castle itself and admiring the grounds, don’t bother. If you fancy exploring an Irish castle that boasts some of the most impressive grounds of the many castles in Ireland, Blarney is well worth a visit.

What is there to do at Blarney Castle?

Stone aside, there are plenty of things to do at Blarney. You can explore the gardens, see the poisonous plants, visit the witches kitchen, see the wishing steps and plenty more.

Who owns Blarney Castle?

Blarney Castle is opened and operated by Sir Charles Colthurst and his family.

blarney castle audio tour

Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 35 years and has spent most of the last 10 creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries . Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.

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