Blarney Castle, Co. Cork, to the left, with the River Martin to the right. A figure, beside a cow or donkey, on the river bank. Trees, rocks and the faint outline of a distant mountain complete the tranquil scene.
|Keywords(s)||Castles, Livestock, Mountains, People, Rock formations, Towers, Trees|
|Published / created||1839|
|Travel Account||Rambles in the South of Ireland|
|Print or manuscript|
|Location of image in copy||Vol. 2, p. 31|
|Source copy||James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland Galway Special Collections: 914.190481 CHA|
Related text from travel account
|Monday.—We had a beautiful day for our excursion to Blarney, a place celebrated in Irish song and story. It is about six miles on the other side of Cork, or to speak intelligibly, the north-west side. The road to it is through the least pretty part of the neighbourhood of the town, and perhaps many people may call it ugly. But the country, though without trees, is green and undulating; clear and lively streams sparkle through meadows; dark purple rocks peep their grotesque heads out of the fields; and wild-looking cows and shaggy sheep give a vivid and animated air to the landscape.
And after passing through this bare and desolate country, the beautiful groves of Blarney, the [p. 29] majestic and lofty tower of the old keep, and the picturesque ruins of the castle appear to great advantage.
Eight years have passed since my first and last visit to Blarney. I was then accompanied by several dear friends; one, one most loved of all, enjoyed the beautiful scene, oh! how intensely. The luxuriant foliage—the dark caves and rocks—the clear river, now reflecting the ruins and the sky, now murmuring over brilliant-coloured pebbles, and now kissing the flowering shrubs which droop gracefully over the banks—how delightful did all these appear in her eyes!
[pp. 29-31: elegiac passage on loss of friend and friend’s brother]
The annexed wood cut is from a drawing which was taken of Blarney castle during our former visit.
[Image: Blarney Castle]
The old woman who shewed us the place, seems much attached to it, and was more bent on making the visiters [sic] see all its beauties than [p. 32] on receiving their shillings. She remembers it when Blarney Castle, its groves, and garden, and statues, were in their glory, under the rule of the old Lady Jeffreys, celebrated in song. Her family (I mean the poor old woman's) came there, she said, “before the old castle was built, and had lived in the village near it for seven generations.”
We went up to kiss the far-famed stone.—
There is a stone there,
That whoever kisses,
Oh! he never misses
To grow eloquent.
'Tis he may clamber
To a lady's chamber,
Or become a member
A clever spouter
He'll sure turn out, or
”To be let alone.”
Don't hope to hinder him,
Or to bewilder him;
Sure he's a pilgrim
From the Blarney stone!
[p. 33] I had neglected to kiss this stone on my previous visit, because the important ceremony could not to performed without the risk of falling headlong down a height above a hundred feet; but in these days of marching intellects, and diffusion or confusion of knowledge, even the privilege of being able to pay extravagant compliments is made of easy attainment.
The stone has, for the accommodation of visitors, been taken out of the wall, where it used to project over the machicolations of the old high tower, and now lies maimed and helpless, and looking very foolish, on the battlements. Our old coachman, who drove us to Blarney, bears the same name, and is also descended from the royal race of the Mac Carthy's, once the possessors of the castle. He had not seen the building since it was a ruin; the last time he was there, was when the family he served were on a visit to the late owner of Blarney. Then all was splendour and hospitality, and what the old man deplored most pathetically was the sad contrast of the kitchen.We stood on the site of a stately drawing-room, [p. 34] and could see down into the roofless depths of that important laboratory of good cheer.
“And there,” exclaimed he, lifting up his hands, and casting down his eyes in dismay, “there is the very spot where there used to be such a curious contrivance for pulling up the dinner into the eating-room—the illigant joints I've seen there—the fine haunches of venson [sic]— the—oh! to think those glorious days are gone for ever!”
The old coachman affirms that in former times a King of Sweden slept in a room at the top of the high square tower, and was so terrified next morning when he looked out of the window at the dizzy height, that he called out for assistance. What this bold King's name was, I cannot learn; but I know there was some years ago a fine picture of Charles XII of Sweden, in the castle, and this probably may have given rise to the story. [Vol. 2, p. 28-34]