If you are planning a holiday to Ireland, County Cork has so many wonderful tourist attractions to see. The world famous Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone are just a short car journey away. Visitors will love exploring Blackrock Castle Observatory and it's interesting history. Fancy seeing a bit of historic Kinsale and Charles Fort? We’ve got everything you need to know about these magnificently historic castles in Cork you should visit on your next trip to the city!
Explore Ireland’s famous Blarney Castle
A national treasure, a visit to the 15th century Blarney Castle and Gardens should be at the top of your must-see list on your holiday to Cork. Allow yourself plenty of time to explore Blarney Castle as access to the beautiful and peaceful gardens as well as the Rock Close is included in the ticket price. Blarney Stone, possibly the most iconic attraction within the castle, is surrounded by legend and old Irish tale. Once you've walked up the 100 steps to reach Blarney Stone, its time to lean backwards with an iron railing to hold on to, of course. Legend has it that if you manage to kiss the stone in this position then you will be given the 'gift of the gab', or otherwise known as the gift of eloquence. Over 200,000 people make the pilgrimage to this spot each year, so make sure you don’t miss out on a great experience!
It takes just 20 minutes by car to get to Blarney, which is in the north-west of Cork's city center. Several local tour companies run guided tours from Cork to Blarney Castle, or you can arrive there by local bus, which runs everyday from Cork to the castle. Blarney Castle is open all year round except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so make sure to plan your visit accordingly and find out if the old Irish legend is a myth or reality!
Blackrock Castle Observatory
Located on the edge of the River Lee, Blackrock Castle Observatory is a fun interactive tourist attraction that visitors of all ages will love. Formerly known as Mahon Castle, the current structure was constructed over the original complex in 1830. Visitors can still see some of the remaining castle ruins in the form of a circular tower that sits just by the water’s edge. Originally built to deter pirates and invaders, visitors can gaze in amazement at Ireland’s first interactive astronomy centre, where you can look at the stars, learn about life in outer space and see cool cinematic displays like the ‘Comet Chaser’. For history buffs Blackrock Castle also has ‘behind the scene’ tours of the Castle’s dungeon and towers for those keen to step back in time and learn about the origins of Blackrock Castle.
You can get to Blackrock Castle and Observatory can be reached by car or taxi in just over 10 minutes from Cork's city center or you can catch a number 202 bus. Open seven days a week, admission starts at €5.00 for children, students and seniors, and there is no charge for under children under five.
Visit Kinsale and Charles Fort
Charles Fort is an interesting historical site located high on the cliffs with stunning views over Kinsale Harbour. Located at the southern end of Summercove Village, the fort is about 3 kilometres from Kinsale and 25 kilometres from Cork. Dating back to the 17th century and named after Charles II, it was built to protect Kinsale Harbour from foreign invasion and was still being used by the military up until 1922. Visitors can find out all the history in a free guided tour of Charles Fort. Enjoy the best Irish hospitality on offer with a guided tour, which lasts approximately an hour and takes you around the star-shaped fort, followed by some well earned snacks at the tearoom in the Exhibition Centre.
Staying in Cork
To get the most out of your holiday and experience the beauty of Cork, book your friendly accommodation at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork. In just a 20 minute car ride, you will get to Cork city center, which certainly shows off the hotel's convenient location. Choose from any of the 126 spacious rooms equipped with modern facilities including naturally lit rooms, allowing for maximum comfort. After a day touring the beautiful castles around Cork, be sure to relax at the end of the day with a cool drink in hand at the Banks Bar, or indulge in a soothing spa retreat in any of the 9 treatment rooms available.
Get ready to tour the castles in Ireland when you stay with Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Cork!