Ever thought about lying down on your back, leaning your head backwards over the edge of a castle tower, and puckering up to a moist piece of stone? If so, that’s exactly what you’ll get to do when you go to kiss the Blarney Stone.
The Blarney Stone, officially known as the Stone of Eloquence, is a stone laid in the parapets atop Blarney Castle, a medieval fort near the city of Cork. The stone has many legends; some say that it is the other half of the Stone of Scone, a famous stone in Britain which was used for centuries as the crowning stone of British monarchs. Others say it is the Lia Fáil, a stone upon which Irish kings were crowned.
Regardless of the stone’s history, a visit to Blarney Castle is remiss without a quick smooch with this ancient rock. Today one will find modern safety implements to prevent you from falling off the tower, but previously to kiss the blarney stone required you to literally dangle oneself from the side of the tower head-first. Now, an attendant will hold your legs as you grab a hold of the railings and slide down to the rock face. A photo at this magical moment is all but required to remember such an inelegant pose. On the bright side, it is said that those who complete this activity are granted the gift of eloquence, e.g. “the gift of gab”.
The grounds surrounding the castle are covered by well manicured paths and gardens. It is also possible to tour the neighboring Blarney House, a Scottish baronial mansion. And, don’t miss the Blarney Woolen Mills, opened in 1824 in Blarney Village, now one of Ireland’s largest craft shops.
Written By Andy Hayes for EuropeUpClose.com