The Blarney Stone is a block of limestone that was built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, near Cork in Ireland.
According to legend whoever kisses the stone will be granted the gift of the gab and become a great speaker.
This legend started way back in 1602, Cormac MacCarthy, the Lord of Blarney and the owner of Blarney Castle, was able to fend off representatives of Queen Elizabeth I, who were trying to gain ownership of his land. He was so clever that he was able to do this purely by talking them out of it.
What might have helped him was the Blarney Stone, built into his castle.
This block of stone was believed to be half of the Stone of Scone, given by Robert the Bruce to one of MacCarthy’s ancestors in recompence for his help in the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) and it was said to have magical qualities.
It was from there that the legend grew, that if you kissed the Blarney Stone you would be a fluent and persuasive speaker.
Here are some interesting facts to help you learn even more about this magical Irish treasure.
The Blarney Stone: 10 Fascinating Facts
1. Legendary Origins
According to legend, the Blarney Stone is believed to be a piece of the Stone of Scone, an ancient stone used in the coronation ceremonies of Scottish and English monarchs.
2. Castle Perch
Perched at the top of Blarney Castle’s battlements in County Cork, Ireland, the Blarney Stone requires visitors to lean backwards while holding on to iron bars to kiss it.
3. Gift of Eloquence
Kissing the Blarney Stone is said to impart the “gift of gab” or eloquence. Those who partake in this ritual are believed to gain persuasive and articulate speaking abilities.
4. Unusual Upside Down Kiss
To kiss the stone, visitors lie on their back and lean backward over the parapet, trusting in the assistance of guides to ensure a safe and memorable experience.
5. Historical Significance
The Blarney Stone has attracted countless visitors throughout history, including notable figures like Winston Churchill and Mick Jagger, who sought the charm of its fabled powers.
6. The Wishing Steps
Adjacent to the stone, the Wishing Steps provide an additional opportunity for visitors to make a wish. The tradition involves ascending and descending these steps with eyes closed and not divulging the wish.
7. Ancient Reputation
It is believed that the Blarney Stone’s mystical qualities have roots in biblical times. Some draw parallels between the stone and the stone pillow used by the prophet Jacob in the Old Testament.
8. Protective Measures
To safeguard the stone from potential theft or damage, it was enclosed within iron bars in the late 18th century. This protective measure adds to the intrigue and allure surrounding the stone.
9. Architectural Marvel
Blarney Castle itself is a captivating architectural marvel. Built in the 15th century, the castle features impressive medieval design, including fortified walls, towers, and enchanting gardens.
10. Global Tourist Attraction
Today, the Blarney Stone and Blarney Castle draw tourists from around the world, eager to embrace the opportunity to kiss the legendary stone and experience its reputed powers of eloquence.