Admittance to Blarney Castle grants you entrance to not only the Castle, but to numerous gardens, the famous Blarney Stone, an exterior view of the “modern” estate, and the magical Rock Close.
The Rock Close was by far my favorite attraction.
I really had no idea what a Rock Close was and I was pleasantly surprised by the treasures awaiting us there.
The Rock Close is a magical place that includes lush gardens, unique rock formations, a waterfall, wishing steps, a druid cave, ceremonial stone circles, the Witch's Kitchen and Witch’s Stone.
While mobs of people swarmed Blarney Castle and the surrounding manicured gardens, the Rock Close was nearly deserted. It is a short walk from the Castle and is well worth the amble down the dirt path.
Weaving your way through the garden, you immediately hear the faint trickling sounds of the waterfall. This is the Ireland I yearned to see, the Druid, Fairy Spring laden land of mystery.
My husband Rob (6’ 3”) demonstrating the size of the boulders. It is hard to tell in the photographs, but the Rocks are monumental.
Leading to the Wishing Steps.
Located at the base of the waterfall are the Wishing Steps. The plaque near the steps, invites you to make a wish while passing through the stairs. The rules are simple: you must walk up the stairs backwards, with your eyes closed and think only on your wish as you ascend. If you follow the rules, your wish will come true within a year’s time.
Legend has it, that the Blarney Witch’s is bound to those that ascend the stairs backwards with their eye’s firmly shut and their wish firm in their heart. Such a passage provides the Witch with the fuel she needs in the Witch’s Kitchen (allegedly firewood for her hearth). In return for your passage, she will grant your wish within the year.
I made my wish and I didn’t cheat (which is easier said than done - I didn't even take a picture of the steps). Rob spotted me as I stumbled up the 20 or so stairs, so I hope that doesn’t disqualify my wish!
Once you make it to the top of the Wishing Steps, you are greeted by a magnificent tree that thrives atop of a boulder. While there is a little earth under the tree, I had to marvel at this resilient tree, magical specimen.
Witch’s Kitchen is a dank cave with a mantel place, located underneath the tree. Legends states that if you arrive at dawn you may see embers of the Blarney Witch’s fire. It is rumored to have been a sacrificial Druid altar.
Druid Cave. Does anyone else see a face?
Not far away is the Witch’s Rock. She is laden with offerings; pence and pennies covering her head. Naturally we left the Blarney Witch a few pennies and our thanks for a wonderful afternoon.