The Blarney Stone

By | 2017-02-26T16:19:51+00:00 December 7th, 2016|Cork, Places to Visit, Things to Do|0 Comments

The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone, more specifically Carboniferous limestone, whose location is in the Blarney Castle. Blarney Castle is in the town of Blarney which resides eight kilometers from Cork, Ireland. The castle was built in 1200 A.D and is located near River Martin, and it used to be a stronghold during medieval times.

The castle was destroyed in 1446, but it was rebuilt in its current location by Dermot McCarthy who was then King of Munster and Lord of Blarney. The entire castle is built on solid limestone. The Blarney stone was built into the battlements of the castle. In addition to the Blarney stone, the castle has beautiful gardens surrounding it.

Kissing the Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world for a single purpose: to kiss it. There are a lot of myths and tales surrounding the stone. Many believe the Blarney Stone possesses some incredible powers, the foremost among them being the power of eloquence.

kissing the blarney stone

Here we see the technique involved in kissing the Blarney stone.

Another common belief that anyone who kisses the stone will be gifted with a silver tongue. The above belief has led to a tradition whose practice has gone on for centuries. Most people highly value the skill of persuasion and eloquence and of course some will go to great lengths to acquire this skill.

Many notable people have in fact visited the Blarney stone and given it a smooch. Some of these people include Winston Churchill in 1912. Several movie actors and political leaders have also been rumored to have kissed the stone.

Kissing the Blarney Stone is quite a daunting task. One currently has to bend over backward to kiss the stone. One has to climb to the castle’s peak and once there, lean over the edge. There are currently iron bars that one can hold on to as they kiss the stone but this was not always the case.

Before the installation of such safeguards, it was way more dangerous to kiss the Blarney stone. If you wanted to kiss the stone, you had to come with several of your strongest friends. Your friends would then dangle you head first while they grasped your feet so that you could kiss the stone.

There is a story of someone who has greased his boots, and when he was dangled to kiss the stone, he plunged head first to his utter demise. If you have a fear of heights, you should not try kissing the stone. On the contrary, the hope of gaining eloquent speech could be a great reason to conquer a fear of heights.

A visit to the Blarney Castle should not be limited to the kissing of the Blarney Stone whose powers of the prowess of eloquent speech can hardly be put to the test.

The castle also has beautiful gardens that will take your breath away. Crowning of monarchs occurred on these incredible gardens, and they have a rich history. One should find a quiet spot and feel the energy of the place. They should let their imagination wander and try to imagine all that happened in this mysterious place.

The History behind the Stone

The most intriguing part of the Blarney Stone is its history. More specifically, the origin of the stone and its name. There are many unproven theories about the Blarney Stone’s origin, and everyone seems to have one they hold dear. One of the more alluring among them is that the stone was even in the Bible and Jacob used it as a pillow.

The stone was then brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. The stone was taken and used by King David and stayed there for centuries until it was returned to Ireland during the Crusades. Religion has a strong hold on the Blarney stone.

Another intriguing story of the stone’s origin is that the builder of Blarney Castle, Mr. McCarthy was subject to a lawsuit in the 15th century and called on to a goddess, Clíodhna. The goddess advised the poor builder that if he wanted to win the lawsuit case, he should kiss the first stone he saw on his way to the court.

He kissed the stone ad when he appeared I court that day, he pleaded his case with great persuasion and eloquence and eventually won. The builder then decided to impart the stone into the castle that was his work of art.

There is another account of the Blarney Stone’s origin. This one links it to the Stone of Scone which is also referred to as the Stone of Destiny. The Stone of Destiny was for years used to coronate Scottish and British monarchs. Another story is that the stone was given to Cormac McCarthy, then King of Munster by Robert the Bruce as a gift for military support.

Apparently, Cormac McCarthy sent men to Robert the Bruce during the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 which led to the defeat of the English in the battle. These accounts suggest the stone’s origin was in Scotland. However, certain geologists have come forth to disprove these theories.

Through scientific experimentation, the Blarney Stone has been found to be from limestone located in the South of Ireland that is suggested to be over 300 million years old.

The word ‘blarney’ means skillful flattery. The name is suggested to have originated from either of two sources. The first is the story about Mr. McCarthy the builder and the goddess Clíodhna.

The second is linked to Queen Elizabeth I. According to legend, the Queen sent the Earl of Leicester to Cormac McCarthy and his family who lived in the Blarney Castle so that he would get them to surrender their land and the castle. The negotiations were seemingly ongoing, but McCarthy was stalling.

He used his eloquence to keep the Queen at bay. The Queen one day ended up calling the reports being sent to her ‘blarney’. They were well written and subtle but did not contain anything worthy if note. Therefore empty persuasion came to be known as ‘blarney’ and the castle and the stone associated with the skill.

Stories in Ireland tend to have a life of their own as is the case with most ancient legends in the world. The story of the Blarney Stone is one that will forever be shrouded in mystery, and it may be best that it remains that way. Most people desire eloquent speech to woo a prospective mate or get into a position of power.

Whatever the reason, the stone may help them accomplish that objective. Whether the stone indeed possesses any power is of little consequence. What matters most is that the Blarney Stone inspires.

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