Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland ~ Earlier fortifications were built of wood on the same spot prior to 1200 CE. Around 1210 a stone fortification was built. It was destroyed in 1446, but subsequently rebuilt by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, Lord of Muscry. Caisleán na Blarnan has been sold and changed hands a number of times. The castle is now a partial ruin with some accessible rooms and battlements. At the top of the castle lies the Stone of Eloquence,
better known as the Blarney Stone. There are many legends as to the origin of the stone, but some say that it was the Lia Fáil—a magical stone upon which Irish kings were crowned. Presently owned by Sir Charles St John Colthurst, the property is open to the public.
Mallow Castle is a 33-acre site composed of gardens and parkland on which three buildings sit: the remains of a 16th-century fortified house (pictured above), a 19th-century mansion to the north, and the ruins of a 13th-century castle to the east. The fortified house is a long rectangular three-storey building, with two polygonal towers on the north-west and south-west corners. It is early Jacobean in style, featuring high gables, stepped battlements, and mullioned windows. The wings of the house project from the center of the south and north walls, with the entrance in the north wing. The design of the house was to provide a field of fire around it entirely.
The 16th-century fortified house is believed to have been built by Sir Thomas Norreys before his death in 1599. Following his death, his niece Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Jephson inherited the house, with their family remaining in Mallow for almost 400 years. It was placed under siege by Richard Butler, Lord Mountgarret, in 1642 during the Irish Confederate Wars and did not fall. It was captured in 1645 by James Tuchet, Lord Castlehaven. The house was badly damaged by fire during the Williamite War and subsequently abandoned by the Jephsons. The Jephsons built the new mansion house on the site of the older castle’s stable block.