The bog garden, Blarney castle
The bog garden at Blarney Castle. Yes, go and kiss the stone at Blarney Castle but there is much more to do there than just that. I was quite impressed with this castle to be honest. The castle itself is little more than an empty ruined keep with a silly, but fun, tradition up top. What they’ve done well is to create something around that attraction. To do this they’ve used the grounds in a way that is both engrossing and educational. All this without creating an annoying, tourist theme-park-type place. The grounds are actually lovely, and I say that having visited on a stormy weekend in December! There are some open grassy areas by running water, a couple of educational gardens (one showing off poisonous plants!), short walks, and even a long walk out around a pond if you have the time. The picture above is from the lovely bog garden, which immediatly elicits visions of elves and fairies once you stroll inside. As overgrown as the image looks, it is deceiving. On the lower left you can see a trail and to the top right of the center stone you can see railing for another path. There are rocks, plants, streams, ponds, and waterfalls all in this one garden — and there are others to explore! It is on many peoples to-do list for visiting the Cork area of Ireland, so if you go in the high-season, plan ahead. There are buses from Cork if you need them. Do kiss the stone for fun, but be sure to spend the day enjoying the rest of the grounds!