Everything that we’ve already discussed should be enough to make any historic or cultural enthusiast have the urge to take a trip to Blarney Castle, however we haven’t even touched on its main attraction. Secured within the outer battlements of the castle sits a block of limestone that supposedly contains a certain mystical power, to give any soul brave enough to kiss it the power of great eloquence, or as it is more commonly known, the gift of the gab. The stone was first set into the castle in the year 1446 CE and has since gone on to become one of the most iconic features in the entire country. As I’m sure you can imagine, many stories have been spun that supposedly tell of how the stone originally came to have its mystic powers, some grounded in ancient religions whilst some just tell of wandering witches.
One of the earliest of these tails tells us about Cormac Laidir MacCarthey’s troubles with a certain lawsuit against him. He prayed for help from a goddess named Clíodhna. She was a deity in Irish mythology, sometimes considered the goddess of love and beauty, she was a patron of County Cork. He asker her for her assistance with the trial and in return she told him to place a kiss upon the first stone he laid his eyes on during his travel to the court on the day of his trial. He followed her instructions and is said to have pleaded his case with such great eloquence that he won it. He was so pleased by this result that he kept the rock and incorporated it within his castle walls to honour the occasion.
Another, perhaps more popular story takes place later during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. She had planned to request that Lord of Blarney at the time, Cormac Teige MacCarthey, be stripped of his traditional land rights. In hopes of changing her mind he decided to travel to see her, though he was not sure how he would manage this as he was in fact a very poor speaker. In his hour of need a mysterious old woman came to him and told him of a magical stone built into the castle walls would give him the eloquence he needed to keep his lands. The Lord kissed the stone and once again it worked, assuring his family would keep their claim, for now at least.
Today any visitor can have a crack at kissing the stone, though it isn’t as simple as it may seem to be. The stone sits in the outer battlements of the castle, to reach it you must be physically dangled over a ledge, on your back, on then can you lean up to kiss the thing whilst a queue of people assures that you’ll be uncomfortably rushed through the entire experience. There are bars below the hole to break your fall though anyone with a fear of heights may want to stick to the gardens.