This morning we explore Blarney. Blarney Castle is most famous for the Blarney Stone, which has the traditional power of conferring eloquence on all who kiss it. The word “Blarney” was introduced into the English language by Queen Elizabeth I and is described as 'pleasant talk, intended to deceive without offending'. Nowadays it is more commonly referred to as 'the gift of the gab'. The stone is set in the wall below the battlements, and to kiss it, one has to lean backwards (grasping an iron railing) from the parapet walk. In the grounds of the castle, Rock Close is a curious place of ancient trees and far more ancient stones, by legend a garden of druidic origin and a centre of worship in pre-Christian days. The place has an aura of magic and mystique with Wishing Steps, the Witch's Kitchen, Druid's Cave and many other delights telling a story of centuries past. Blarney Castle also offers you the chance to stroll in one of the country's most spectacular gardens. You may want to leave a little time for shopping at the Blarney Woollen Mills Store in Blarney Village before departing for Cork City.
Cork is Ireland’s second largest city, set on the River Lee. When we arrive, we will enjoy some free time in the city to explore its waterfronts, cafes and restaurants and perhaps visit the English Market, St. Finbarr’s cathedral or The Shandon Bells.
The tour continues to visit the Jameson Whiskey Experience at Midleton Distillery. Step through the doors here and you step back in time. Carts are piled high with sacks of grain and you can smell malted barley drying in closed kilns. Thousands of casks housing ageing whiskey are on show, as well as original kilns. Pride of place for the exhibitions here goes to the largest Pot still in the world, which has a capacity of more than 30,000 gallons and has been used for more than 150 years. You learn about “the angel’s share” (the amount of alcohol that evaporates from the cask during maturation) and the fascinating story behind the creation of one of the most well-known Irish whiskeys in the world.
Return to your hotel in Blarney where you will be free this evening to choose your own Irish Pub or Restaurant in which to dine!
Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: The Blarney Woollen Mills Hotel, Co. Cork