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In Search of the Gift of Eloquence: The Legend of the Blarney Stone

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Even if you don’t know much about Ireland, you have probably heard of the Blarney Stone; a stone of legend, with rumoured powers and a mysterious history. Some claim the rock to be a section of the Stone of Destiny, which was gifted to the King of Munster after he sent his men to support Robert the Bruce. Others say it was the deathbed pillow of St. Columba, while more believe that it is the Lia Fail; a stone that foretold the next of the Irish Kings (think of the sorting hat in Harry Potter).

Blarney Castle; home of the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle; home of the Blarney Stone

Whatever its origins, one thing that can be agreed upon is its power:  the gift of eloquence. According to a popular legend, its power was first discovered by Cormac McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle.  He was involved in a court case, and in his despair he pleaded with a goddess for assistance. She came to his aid and told him to kiss the first rock he discovered in the morning. Following her instructions, he did just that and then proceeded to win his case thanks to a new-found eloquence. Upon his return, Cormac McCarthy had the stone incorporated into Blarney Castle, where it remains for all to visit today.

Despite living in Ireland for three months, I didn’t spend a lot of time in southern Ireland and never made it to the Blarney Stone. So when I returned to the Emerald Isle (for the third time) in March of 2014, there was no doubt that this time I would go and get the gift of eloquence for myself. Not that, as my friends and family so kindly told me, I really needed any help in the talking area.

blarney (4 of 5)

We took the bus from Cork to Blarney- a tiny Irish town less than 10km from Cork. Upon our arrival in Blarney we followed the signs to the castle, and after purchasing our tickets (13 euro each) we entered the beautiful grounds of Blarney Castle.  The grounds offer a lot to see: Blarney House, gardens (including a poison garden), and a lake walk. There are even some caves under the castle, which we ducked into to explore for a bit. It was fun until I spotted a massive hairy spider on the roof above my brother’s head, and then we all ran out in a hurry.

Beware the spiders in the caves under Blarney Castle

Beware the spiders in the caves under Blarney Castle

The main attraction, of course, is Blarney Castle itself and the infamous stone at the top. Being in an old castle, there’s a lot of tight winding stairs and ducking under low doorways before you get to the top, but once there you are rewarded with a beautiful view, and of course the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone itself.

We waited in line for a few minutes, but it wasn’t long before it was our turn. I watched, eager and a little terrified as my brother slid backward and over the edge. At over 6 feet tall I was amazed and how much of him was hanging over the wall in open air. My heart raced a little wondering how much of my 5”8 tall body would have to hang over the edge to reach the stone.

It's a long way down if you fall while trying to kiss the Blarney Stone...

It’s a long way down if you fall while trying to kiss the Blarney Stone…

Turns out, it was a lot. “Futher” the aid told me as I leaned back, hands gripped to the metal bars behind me. “Still!?” I squeaked, sliding back even more. “Don’t worry he said.” Holding my (hopefully not too slippery) rain coat, “I’ve got you.”

Trusting him I slid down and bent all the way back- looking down at the tiny people on the grounds below me.  Not wasting any time I kissed the old, grey, stone that thousands of other’s had pressed their lips to before me, and was quickly yanked back up and moved out of the way for the next person.  Mission complete- I had kissed the iconic Blarney Stone and a sneaky photo to prove it.

 

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Have you kissed the Blarney Stone?

21 thoughts on “In Search of the Gift of Eloquence: The Legend of the Blarney Stone

  1. Tam Gamble

    We have wanted to visit Ireland for some time now and hope this year will be the year (pretty awful excuse really considering we are only in England!).

    Cork has been the place I have wanted to visit – whilst Dublin is the go-to city and a place I am sure I would enjoy, Cork appeals to me more for some reason – although I don’t think I can justify what that is.

    Great photo of you kissing the Blarney Stone! 🙂

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      Ahh I hope you go this year! I love Dublin but there is waaay more to the country than the capital (same as everywhere, right?) Surprisingly I wasn’t a huge cork fan-it’s nice but I definitely prefer Galway. And best small town is Dingle- highly recommend if you get a chance!

  2. Lauren

    Haha, I think of all the travel bloggers who have indirectly made out through kissing the stone 😉 One of those things I think you just have to do! I’m sure I’ll have my moment at some point in time. Also, thanks for the tip about the spiders! eeek!

  3. Erin

    This is awesome! I’ve heard of the Blarney Stone, but never really knew what was so special about it. Crazy how something so innocuous could become to revered because it MIGHT have made something happen. lol. I love it. I’m going to schedule your post on my facebook page late tonight, if you don’t mind. 🙂

  4. kami

    I never made it Blarney but always wanted to – it might sound too touristy but I think it’s a great tradition! but 13€ for the entrance is pretty pricey!

    1. Hannah Logan Post author

      It was pricey, but if its a nice day and you like being outdoors you could make a day of it walking around the grounds and through the different trails. It’s a beautiful area- typical ‘Irish fairytale’

  5. Heather Cole

    This is one of those things you just have to do at some point in your life isn’t it?! We’ve often put off visiting Ireland, because it’s so close to us here in the UK, but I’ve read so many blogs about it lately that I reckon we’ll have to remedy this pretty soon. Thanks for helping to persuade me…though I’m not sure about the spiders 🙂

  6. Meg Jerrard

    Love it! We also did this while in Ireland and I agree that it’s just one of those things you’ve gotta do – touristy, but still loved it. Though apparently I already had the gift of the gab, or so Im told 😛

  7. Toccara

    You learn something new everyday, huh?! I never knew the story behind the infamous Blarney Stone! Now I know! I’d still never kiss it though! I’m a total germaphobe! 🙂

  8. Amanda C @ UnrestingSea

    Haha love the Harry Potter reference. Honestly, I had no idea what the significance of the Blarney Stone was until I read your post and now I slightly regret missing it on my Ireland trip (I could use some eloquence!). Sooo… has your eloquence improved since smooching with the stone? You’re an awesome writer, so I’d definitely score you high in the eloquence department! Thanks for sharing this awesome post, Hannah!

  9. Anna

    Okay, even though the thought of kissing something that thousands and thousands of people have kissed makes me feel kinda disgusted, I’d still do it because eloquence is not something I was gifted with, lol.
    I love the picture of you kissing it. I can’t believe how far back you had to bend!!

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