“Absolutely not!” Arriving at Ireland’s Blarney Castle my travel companions are unanimous. There will be no Blarney Stone kissing for me under any circumstances.
Those who brush lips with the famed Blarney Stone are said to be given the gift of the gab. To speak with an eloquent voice and flatter those around them so the story goes. Imagine that those who know me best feel strongly I should not have any increase in my chatty behavior.
Perhaps keeping my Ireland visiting mates out until 2 am the previous morning left them in a less than generous mood. How was I to know the pub door would lock behind them? While I chatted enthusiastically with locals, my friends stood waiting outside in the Irish mist. In the dead of night. Did I mention they were locked out?
They are still feeling a bit chilly about the whole event as the bright sun shines like a spotlight on the Blarney Castle.
What is this Blarney stone kissing all about?
According to legend the Blarney Stone found its home in the top of the castle in 1446. Tour buses bring people in droves to wind their way up the stone steps in the high season of summer. Then in an assisted back bend maneuver, (people were once held by their ankles) placing their lips, along with a few million or so previous visitors, on the limestone rock.
As keen as I am to increase my chatty ways, sharing lip smacking space with most every visitor to Ireland is less than a tantalizing prospect. With some relief, the no Blarney Stone kissing rule suits me quite nicely.
In keeping with the theme of story telling, there are multiple tales explaining the origin of the Blarney stone kissing ritual.
Some say the prophet Jeremiah brought Jacob’s stone to Ireland straight out of the book of Genesis. Irish kings were then coronated on the special stone known as the Lia Fail.
Saint Columba is said to have taken his last breaths with the stone as his pillow. Really? There was nothing more comfortable than a stone?
Then the ever popular stone made its way to Scotland where it foretold royal successions. In 1314, so one tale goes, part of the Blarney Stone, which surely must be a confused piece of geology by now, was returned to Ireland. Five thousand Irish soldiers assisted in the defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314. The rock a wee thank you for the assistance.
Yet others claim the stone came to Ireland after the Crusades. Some argue the stone gushed water when Moses struck it with a stick.
Suffice it to say the Blarney Stone kissing and its origin are truly not known. What is known that it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. For over 200 years pilgrims have come to the Blarney Stone to be given the git of eloquence.
What can I do at the Blarney Castle besides kiss the rock?
For those who may not want to peer backwards and gaze at the ground far below while planting their lips on a stone of unknown origin, there are other options at Blarney Castle.
With over sixty acres of gardens, streams and waterfalls the non kissers can meander about the beautiful grounds. The outdoor tables at the Stable Yard Cafe provide a stunning view of the castle. A gift shop of surprisingly reasonably priced souvenirs greets visitors on the way out.
As to who actually kissed the Blarney Stone that day? My husband that’s who. He feels he will be able to get a word in edgewise now. Time will tell.