* A social history of one of Ireland's most famous sites
* Richly illustrated with color photos and maps throughout
* Demonstrates why the site is far more than just the Blarney Stone
Blarney Castle in County Cork is one of Ireland's oldest and most historic castles, an ancient stronghold of the McCarthys, Lords of Muskerry, and one of the strongest fortresses in Munster. It is also one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions—over 300,000 people visit Blarney Castle each year.
This new book sets the castle in a wider context which includes aspects of social, architectural and local history with particular focus on County Cork, including the history of the area around Blarney, the Gaelic society which built the castle, the function of the castle and the gradual development of the property from a well-defended family seat to a major tourist attraction. At the same time it sets the castle within a wider context of national history and events. Since the site controlled a natural route to Cork City and was at the very edge of English Rule in Ireland, there is a relative wealth of extant documentation. Thus the book uses the evidence of both the building itself and of historical material to interpret the castle.
A new survey of the castle has been carried out and there is a fresh examination of the evidence it provides and how this illuminates the documentary accounts. The authors draw on their own archaeological expertise to pull together for the first time the historical material from a variety of published sources.
"A welcome addition to personal, community, and academic library Irish History reference collections and supplemental reading lists, Blarney Castle is especially recommended to the attention of non-specialist general readers with an interest in Irish hisory, the Blarney Castle, and its most famous feature--the Blarney Stone."
"When this book was published some weeks ago it caused controversy by suggesting that they stone kissed by generations of tourists since the end of the 19th century was not in fact the Blarney Stone of ancient folklore... This treatement of the famous Cork tourist attraction will appeal to the serious historian, to the archaeologist, and to those whose interest is more focused on folklore and legend. The controversy over the actual identity and location of the stone in a sense becomes a minor detail in the overall picture of "Blarney Castle," though it will no doubt be of consuming interest to some."