A LOAD OF OLD BLARNEY?

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.P5140066.jpg

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.

 

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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.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

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’.

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About margaretgrantauthor

After Drama school in London, where she won the best actress award, the year following Helen Mirren, Margaret chose to make drama teaching her career and wrote many customized plays for her comprehensive school pupils. But rural life beckoned and she and her husband decided to bring up their young family on the island of Anglesey in North Wales. It was during her years there, living on the beautiful mountain of Mynydd Llwydiarth, that she became fascinated by its Druid past and began the research for her first novel, which she planned to write whenever time would afford. She returned to teaching in the 1980’s but this time to a primary school, where she enjoyed writing stories for morning assembly and creating dance dramas. Since her days in teaching she has enjoyed work researching the lives of the elderly and has been involved in a variety of voluntary work. This has included Reiki healing, which has given her rich insights into the work of a healer and empathy with the main character in her first novel, ‘Where Rowans Intertwine.’ Following a move to Sheffield, she concentrated on renovating an old farm worker’s cottage and writing the much-awaited novel. She won a local writing competition for BBC Radio Sheffield: ‘My Journey to Faith - How I became a Bahá’í’ - a humble accolade, but encouraging. The first novel is complete and soon to be published on Kindle, but the second one is brewing. Recently retired to Lincolnshire, she now has the freedom to make writing more of a career.
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