The Blarney Stone

8 Dec

Recently I put aside my better judgement regarding germs and kissing inanimate objects which millions of people over the last few centuries have already kissed, and was given the gift of eloquence. 

As Francis Sylvester Mahoney wrote,

There is a stone there, that whoever kisses,
Oh! He never misses to grow eloquent:
‘Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber,
Or become a member of Parliament.”


I kissed the Blarney Stone, located at the very top of Blarney Castle in Cork.


There are many myths and legends surrounding the stone, which is simply a piece of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney castle.

Some say that it was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jerimiah. Some believe it is half of the original Stone of Scone, which is where the first King of Scots sat during his coronation in 847, and that part of the stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 as a token of his appreciation to the Irish for supporting the Scottish in the Battle of Brannockburn. Some people believe that the stone originated in Ireland, and that it has magical powers. There is also a myth that says it was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to give Israelites water when they were fleeing slavery in Egypt. There are many other stories surrounding the stone, however it is unclear whether any of them hold any shred of truth.

What is known about the origination of the stone, is that it was originally known is Lia Fáil, in English meaning the Stone of Destiny. The stone came to signify eloquence and luck during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, when she decided that all Irish chiefs should occupy their own lands, but under title from her. The Lord of Blarney, Cormac McCarthy received his request to give over the title of his land. He wrote the Queen many letters in return, and said he would be glad to pledge his loyalty, however always avoided actually agreeing to give the title. It is said that when the Queen finally realized that he was simply pacifying her, but not giving in she flung down his letter and said “Oh! He’s just giving me a lot more blarney!”

Personally, I’m not sure if any eloquence was gained from the kissing the stone, but I did come away with a sense of life perspective and a little nausea, as I has just dangled myself backwards over the edge of a castle, with full view of the ground, too many feet below me.


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