The Blarney Stone
“Tis there’s the stone that whoever kisses
He never misses to grow eloquent;
‘Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber,
Or become a member of Parliament.
“A noble spouter he’ll sure turn out, or
An out and outer to be let alone;
Don’t try to hinder him, or to bewilder him,
For he is a pilgrim from the Blarney stone.” – Francis Sylvester Mahony
The Blarney Stone is a block of Carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446.
Legend has it that Cormac Laidir McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle was involved in a lawsuit and appealed to the Goddess Clíodhna for her assistance. She told McCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won. Thus the Blarney Stone is said to impart “the ability to deceive without offending.” MacCarthy then used the stone in the parapet of the castle.
Another story tells that Queen Elizabeth I requested McCarthy, be deprived of his traditional land rights. He travelled to see the queen, but was certain he would not persuade her to change her mind as he wasn’t an effective speaker. He met an old woman on the way who told him that anyone who kissed a particular stone in Blarney Castle would be given the gift of eloquent speech. Cormac went on to persuade the queen that he should not be deprived of his land.
The castle is now a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the stone and tour the castle and its gardens. You must not be afraid of heights because to touch the stone with one’s lips, you must ascend to the castle’s peak, then lean over backwards on the parapet’s edge. Hoping to be endowed with the gift of gab.