The Poison Garden in Blarney Castle

This morning at my Yoga class, the teacher made an analogy between the struggles we may be experiencing in our lives and the way the plants outside are struggling to break through the winter-worn earth and reach the glorious spring-time sun.


I immediately flashed on a garden I saw three years ago. The Poison Garden of Blarney Castle in Ireland.


The castles of Ireland are fascinating examples of lives lived long ago—the Iron Age, the Bronze Age, the violent wars between the Irish and their invaders or within their own Celtic clans. For instance, castles’ stone staircases are designed so that an invader ascending to murder someone will have to carry his sword in his left hand.


Brilliant, huh?Ireland girls' trip 2011 198


You’ve all heard of “kissing the blarney stone,” right? That’s common knowledge, but that poison garden knocked my sox off. The “enter at your own risk” sign did not deter me. Once inside, I found a collection of poisonous plants like Wolfs bane, Mandrake, Ricin, Opium, and Cannabis. They were used to kill and cure by the Lord of the Castle (who changed identities hundreds of times since the castle’s inception in 1200).


Makes me wonder whether maybe medical marijuana shouldn’t be approved across the nation.


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jeanne charters Jeanne Charters writes about the business of living your life to the fullest. Over the years through her magazine columns, books and blog posts, she has sought to help other women face life's challenges through humor, strength and perseverance.

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3 thoughts on “The Poison Garden in Blarney Castle

  1. I once had a poison garden at my house! I didn’t even know I had planted one until a friend pointed out that my rhododendron, hydrangea and foxglove were all deadly.

    Then of course I HAD to plant larkspur, and mountain laurel. But I chickened out when it came to oleander (that stuff is way to dangerous around kids).

    And I also planted lots and lots of tomatoes…because at one time people thought they were poisonous too!

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