Blarney Stone History
‘There is a stone there, that whoever kisses, OH! He never misses, to grow eloquent’.
The term ‘blarney’, meaning beguiling but misleading talk, gained currency during the 16th century as the MacCarthy of the day attempted to fend off the demands of Queen Elizabeth I.
Legends about the Stone’s origin emerged, each as plausible as the next. It was said to have been the stone used by Jacob as a pillow when he dreamed of the ladder extending up to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it, and that it was brought from the Holy Land after the Crusades.
Another legend is that it was given to the MacCarthy Chieftain by Robert Bruce in thanks for support that he offered by sending 5,000-foot soldiers to Scotland to help him against Edward II, and that it was part of the Stone of Scone, on which the Kings of Scotland were inaugurated.
A further legend tells us that Cormac McTaidhg Láidir MacCarthy, rescued an old woman from drowning in a river. She turned out to be a witch. In gratitude she told him of a certain stone already in the castle that had magic properties and that he could benefit by kissing it.
However, the most elaborate and romantic legend concerns the Queen of the Fairies in south Munster, who was the beautiful daughter of a leading druid. She fell in love with a gallant young chieftain who broke her heart by not returning her love. He was killed in battle, and she found his body on a stone on the banks of the river lee. His blood had soaked into the stone. There she grieved, her tears joining his blood in the stone which she continually kissed. This caused her magical powers to be absorbed by the stone itself. Cormac Láidir MacCarthy, being troubled by some intransigent problem, was advised by the Queen of the Fairies that this stone, on which she had wept, had been built into his castle and that if he kissed it his difficulties would be resolved.
Whatever its origins, the powers of the Blarney Stone – The Stone of Eloquence – are unquestioned.
Who has kissed the Blarney Stone?
For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to gain the gift of eloquence. Among those said to have kissed the stone are: Sir Winston Churchill, Stan Laurel (while Oliver Hardy waited for him downstairs), Ronald Reagan, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Mick Jagger, Katherine Jenkins, Eddie Redmayne, James Nesbitt and Joe Manganiello.