Our Recent visit to Cork in the Republic of Ireland made it possible to kiss the Blarney stone….but we didn’t.
We spent two of our precious Ireland days discovering the beautiful 60 acre site of Blarney Castle and explored it’s bluebell woods, its azalea and fern gardens, its hot beds and herbaceous borders, the poison garden and of course the Druid cave and its Fairy glens as well as its ancient Druid circle.
However, although legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney stone you will be forever blessed with the ‘gift of the gab’, we declined the opportunity when we saw long lines of tourists snaking around the tower where you have to climb a perilous spiral staircase to the top of a turret. At its summit you are met with a slurpy looking piece of stone set into the tower wall and sealed off with an iron grill. To kiss it and be imbued with its power you have to bend backwards over the grill… ( a no-no for both myself and the hubby who suffer from bad backs)
Gordon was convinced that we are already endowed with its blessing, as we are both quite garrulous…. so instead I chose to kiss my own choice of Blarney stone in a magical fairy glen.
Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster
The lower walls of Blarney Castle are fifteen feet high, built with an angle tower by the McCarthys of Muskerry. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England it was occupied by Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, who is said to have supplied four thousand men from Munster to supplement the forces of Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Legend has it that the Scottish king gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude. This, now known as the Blarney Stone, was incorporated into the wall of a battlement tower where it can now be kissed.
The Earl of Leicester was commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to take possession of the castle. Whenever he endeavoured to negotiate the matter Cormac McCarthy always suggested a banquet or some other form of delaying tactic, so that when the queen asked for progress reports a long, flattering missive was sent, at the end of which the castle remained untaken. The queen was said to be so irritated that she remarked that the earl’s reports were all ‘Blarney’.