Blarney Stone – Ireland
DAY 11 – Today we crossed the rugged Derrynasaggart Mountains to Blarney to visit its ancient castle which was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy. Most tourists however flock to Blarney Castle in the hope that they will be blessed with the gift of the gab after kissing the famous Blarney Stone, the legendary Stone of Eloquence. To reach the stone we had to climb some 127 steps to the top. Although we were there early, there was already a huge queue of visitors all waiting their turn to kiss the stone.
The stone is set in the wall below the castle battlement. It was quite an experience as you had to lie on your back and arch backwards and under the parapet to kiss the stone. An attendant, to whom you pay a fee, holds you by the feet as you arch over the side of the tower to ensure that you do not slip off the tower and go plunging down to the ground. Many of the bigger built ladies had second thoughts and pulled out, while some of the more hygiene conscious stuck a piece of gladwrap on the spot so that they were not kissing someone else’s germs! A photographer takes a snap of you in action and by the time you get back on ground level, the pictures are available for sale.
Whether you believe it or not, many luminaries from Sir Walter Scott to a host of American presidents, world leaders, and international entertainers have been to the Stone to see if they can gain further advantage from a kiss of the Blarney. Winston Churchill visited in 1912 and kissed the Stone. It’s claimed that he became the greatest orator of the twentieth century! Billy Connolly visited as well and boy can he spin a yarn!
Well, all I can say is that Tony is able to talk at the speed of a bullet without any help from the Stone, whereas for me, the kissing the Stone has not made an ounce of difference. Whoever started the myth must be laughing away, as are the people who are reaping money from tourists. Still, you’re on holidays and it is a fun experience. The views from the top of the Castle are magnificent as well.