Kiss of death for Blarney Castle in Lonely Planet European survey

IS it the kiss of death for one of the world’s best known tourist attractions?

Not so according to its owner, who is obviously equipped with the eloquence to fight back.

Around 300,000 tourists in search of the “Gift of the Gab” visit Blarney Castle each year and pucker up to the famous stone embedded in the top of its battlements.

However, the love affair with the enduring legend of its eloquence-giving may be fading, according to a survey carried out by travel experts Lonely Planet.

Their guide recently did Cork a huge favour by voting it among the top 10 cities to visit in the world.

But this time it’s not good news.

More than 13,000 people contributed to the Lonely Planet’s survey on whether tourists should “see or skip” top attractions around Europe.

The Blarney experience unfortunately came last out of the top 10, with 73% of respondents advising people to skip kissing “a rock”.

Charles Colthurst, whose family have owned the castle for many years, said he wasn’t exactly enamoured about the stone being referred to as a rock.

“The whole experience of the Blarney Stone is that you kiss it, to gain the gift of eloquence. To see the Blarney Stone you have to walk through the Blarney grounds, climb the 15th century castle and proceed to kiss the stone,” he said.

He added that the vast majority of tourists who left comments were very satisfied by their visit.

The much-maligned London Eye managed to do somewhat better in 9th place with 57% advising tourists to skip it.

As far as taking a gondola ride in Venice was concerned the jury was split 50/50. But for the other seven attractions it was positive news.

Top of the pile was the Parthenon in Athens which is a “must see” according to 93%. The enduring Colosseum in Rome got the thumbs-up from 92% and the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris won approval of 86%.

In fourth place was Edinburgh Castle with an 81% rating, while the basilica of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was worth seeing, according to 79%. The 13th century Leaning Tower of Pisa was a must see for 70%, three percentage points better than England’s Stonehenge in seventh place.

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