Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Blarney Castle Murder Hole: Ireland

Mystery Playground is featuring a five week series on mysterious and bookish places in Ireland, courtesy of Kerry Hammond, who just returned from a fabulous trip. Our second stop is a look at the Murder Hole at Blarney Castle. 

On my recent trip to Ireland, I did the touristy thing and visited Blarney Castle. I have to admit, the initial reason for my visit was to kiss the Blarney Stone and to visit a famous castle. I was pleasantly surprised that Blarney Castle had more to offer than I had first thought. On my way down from the top of the castle after kissing the stone, I came across something called The Murder Hole. As a mystery lover, I was instantly intrigued.

The Murder Hole was a hole in the floor of the second level of the castle, which is now fitted with an iron gate so that no tourists fall though. The informative plaques posted near the hole explained its purpose. When the walls were breached and the enemy had entered the castle at the ground floor, the occupants could stand on the level above and throw objects down onto the people entering. Apparently boiling liquids were also favored as weapons. 

Further research seemed to conclude that Murder Holes were introduced during Medieval times, between the years 1066-1485. They were a very effective form of defense in a time when invasions were frequent. Blarney Castle was originally built in 1210. It was destroyed in 1446, but rebuilt around the same time – with The Murder Hole.

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