Blarney Castle,
County Cork

Blarney is celebrated the world over for a stone on the parapet that is said to endow whoever kisses it with the eternal gift of eloquence. The origin of this custom is unknown, though the word "blarney", meaning to placate with soft talk or to deceive without offending, probably derives from the stream of unfulfilled promises of Cormac MacDermot MacCarthy to the Lord President of Munster in the 16th century. Having seemingly agreed to deliver his castle to the Crown, he continuously delayed doing so with soft words, which came to be known as "Blarney talk".

The massive castle, which looks even larger because of its picturesque situation on the edge of a cliff, was supposedly built in 1446 by Cormac MacCarthy "the Strong". The MacCarthys held onto the castle with a few interruptions until the Williamite wars, when Donagh MacCarthy supported the losing side and had his estates forfeited. It is said that before leaving he cast the family silver into the lake. The property was acquired by Sir John Jefferys, who built a Gothic-style house onto the castle; this was burnt c. 1820, but a semi-circular staircase tower still remains. Nearby the family made a megalithic garden folly and in 1874 they built a Scottish Baronial-style house overlooking the lake in the park. 8 km (5 miles) NW of Cork city. NGR: W 614753.