In 2004 MWM and I spent a long weekend in Cork, Ireland. Well as you know (or not, as the case may be) Blarney Castle, which houses the famous Blarney Stone, is about 8km from Cork city so we couldn't possible have missed the opportunity to go see it!
Now my family would tell you that I can talk the hind leg off a donkey so there was no reason for me to bother kissing the Blarney Stone, but what the hell it was there so I did!
This is the history of the Blarney Stone and you can read more here.
The Stone of Eloquence
For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate.
Some say it was Jacob’s Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Here it became the Lia Fail or ‘Fatal Stone’, used as an oracular throne of Irish kings – a kind of Harry Potter-like ‘sorting hat’ for kings. It was also said to be the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona. Legend says it was then removed to mainland Scotland, where it served as the prophetic power of royal succession, the Stone of Destiny.
When Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was given by the Scots in gratitude – and returned to Ireland.
Others say it may be a stone brought back to Ireland from the Crusades – the ‘Stone of Ezel’ behind which David hid on Jonathan’s advice when he fled from his enemy, Saul. A few claim it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses.
Whatever the truth of its origin, we believe a witch saved from drowning revealed its power to the MacCarthys.
We took the train to Blarney Castle and had a fair old walk through the grounds to get to the Castle but the surroundings are beautiful so we didn't mind at all.
photographs copyright 2007
When we got to the Castle we found that you have to climb a stone spiral staircase that gets progressively narrower and steeper the higher you go. At the time I wasn't doing to badly with my walking so, being the heroine that I am, I said "Let's do it!" What we didn't realise, until it was too late, was that there's no turning back - it's a one way ticket, there's no room to turn round and go back down, the only way is up! Well it's some climb I can tell you and I was in a state of exhaustion by the time I got to the top.
Aaah, that's better, didn't think I'd make it but they don't call me Miss Perseverence for nothing! Now where's that stone?
If we had taken the trouble to read up about the stone before we set off we would have realised that you have to hang upside down to kiss it!
"Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, we are rather more cautious of the safety of our visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence."
Now that description doesn't sound too bad does it, and we couldn't go all that way, climb the equivalent of Everest and not do it, could we? So here we are........
Well I can tell you it worked a treat, cos I've been waffling on ever since, which is why I started this blog because the family are sick of listening to me!
Sunday 8th April
We went out to the pub last night! MWM took us there in the car and we got a taxi back. Now you might think 'so what?' but the point is I managed to get into the front seat of the taxi - this involved bending my knee into a normal position! Improvement!!!!!!