Blarney Stone

17 Apr

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           One of Irelands most famous tourist attraction is the infamous Blarney stone. Called “Cloch na Blarnan” in Irish, this legendary stone is said to give the gift of eloquence. The word “Blarney” means “Clever, Flattering or coaxing talk.” The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone that is built within the battlements of Blarney Castled, located near Cork, Ireland. As legend has it is believed that whoever kisses the stone is endowed with the gift of gab, great eloquence, or the skill at flattery. It allows the gifted to impart the ability to deceive without offending. It’s certainly not an easy task to kiss the infamous stone. One needs to be held upside down atop a drop of a tall tower to reach the kissing spot. Years ago visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, there are more precautions that are taken to ensure the visitors safety. The stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements.  For over 200 years, world statesmen, and literary giants have joined millions of people climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. It has become a magnet for tourists from all over the world who go to the castle for their chance of kissing the stone and receiving the gift of the gab. So much so, that the landmark attracts more than 300,000 tourists from across the world every year. The castle is also said to be worth millions of pounds to the region in tourist revenue through money spent in local hotels, restaurants, shops and bars.

            The powers of the blarney stone are unquestioned but its story still creates debate. There are many legends surrounding the stone and its origins. One of the earliest myths involves the Goddess Cliodhna. It is believed that the castles builder, Cormac MacCarthy, was in a lawsuit and sought out Cliodhna for her assistance. She told him to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and as he did, he gained eloquence and won the court case. Astonished by this magical event he took the stone and added it to the castle.  Another rendition states that English monarchs tried to impose their will on Ireland. Queen Elizabeth I sent a deputy to Cormac MacCarthy, who was Lord of Blarney and demanded that he give up his land. Cormac set out to visit the Queen and plead for his tradition right to his land, but the language barer inhibited him from succeeding. Shorly after starting his journey, he met an old woman who asked him why he looked so down. He told her the story and she said “Cormac, when Blarney Castle was built, one stone was put into place by a man who predicted no one would ever be able to touch it again. If you can kiss that stone, the gift of eloquence will be bestowed upon you.” Cormac succeeded in kissing the Blarney Stone and was able to address the Queen with speech so soft and words so fair that as long as he lived he never had to renounce his right to his land.

 

Citations:

http://www.blarneycastle.ie/pages/kiss-the-blarney-stone

http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irishpost/travel/Revamp.asp

http://www.blarneycastle.ie/pages/history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blarney_Stone

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