One of the most intriguing features of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle for a botanist, scientist, or herbalist is the castle’s “Poison Garden”. A collection of plants embracing the world’s most deadliest toxins, one can walk amongst danger and see, smell, and view from close proximity what plants take the lives of hundreds of thousands of human lives annually. The garden has been active since the 18th century and a popular tourist attraction along with the other gardens on the grounds as the estate extends to over 1,000 acres of gardens (the poison garden is just a small tiny yard). The garden is located hidden behind the Castle’s battlements. Some of the more toxic or illegal of substances are located within large black conical iron cages to protect them from the tourist and the viewer from their toxicity. Some of the garden’s plants are controlled substances and therefore heavily monitored. During my 2010 and 2012 visits, many of the caged plants were empty, including the cannabis specimen. This specimen was Taken by the local gardai in 2010. Upon a visit in 2013, the Cannabis plant is not only present but enormous.
Of the ones I photographed and wrote about below, are:
- American Mandrake
- Black Cohosh
- Camellia sinensis Tea
- Castor Oil
- Cherry Laurel
- Common Box
- Deadly Nightshade
- European Mandrake
- Love Lies Bleeding
- Opium Poppy
- Poison Hemlock
- Poison Ivy
- Ruta Graveolens : Rue
- Scutellaria luterifolia
- Veratrum album, White hellebore
- Vincetoxicum Officinalis
- Vitus agnus – Chastus – Chaste tree
- Yew Tree
2013 CASTLE VISIT:
Article review written by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions © 2013 – All Rights Reserved.
Bibliography / Recommended Reading / References
- Adams, C. L. 1906 “Castles of Ireland: Some Fortress Histories and Legends”. Fredonia.
- Blarneycastle.ie undated “Blarney Castle” website. Website referenced 1/3/2014 at http://www.blarneycastle.ie.
- Curran, Aoife 2013 Ireland: Legends & Folklore. Regency House Publishing: Buntingford, UK.
- Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Undated “Blarney Castle”. Website referenced 1/3/2014 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blarney_Castle.