CORK CITY AND COUNTY
Planning a trip to Ireland? You won't be disappointed visiting Cork City and County. Cork County is an area of great beauty crossed by deep glacial valleys, with soft-green hills and a picturesque coastline. It remains thoroughly unspoilt. One gem is Bantry House, situated on the south side of Bantry Bay in the west of County Cork. The house was built in 1700 and is set in stunning terraced and landscaped gardens. The rugged coastline of County Cork is not to be missed. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country. It has a wild and untamed beauty all of its own. Wild flowers grow along the irregular coastline in the spring and summer, and narrow winding roads offer surprising views across to the Atlantic before meandering their way into the many small fishing villages.
The coast of Cork is believed to have the world's second largest natural harbour on its east side below the border with County Waterford. The harbour is so big that numerous towns are located along its perimeter, including Cork City and it encompasses a number of islands including Great Island, and the smaller Fota Island. Fota Island has Ireland's only wildlife park as well as the impressive, eighteenth-century Fota House.
Not far from Cork City and to the north-west is Blarney Castle, famous for the Blarney Stone, and originally dating before 1200. A wonderful time to visit Blarney Castle and its gardens is in early May. One can see the beautiful rhododendrons, azaleas and spring colour in general. July is a wonderful time for the herbaceous, fern garden and the poison garden. It generally takes a minimun of 4 hours to look around the gardens. To also visit the castle then it is recommended to stay longer and take your time to explore.
Not forgetting the famous 'Blarney Stone'. For over 200 years, world statesmen, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of people climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Many a year ago, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, to kiss the Stone which is still set in the wall below the battlements, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk.
Blarney Castle, the House, Gardens and Estate has so much to offer. It is within a short drive from Cork International Airport. For a lot more information on Blarney Castle please visit its website it will fill you in on it's history.