Phil says… Millions of visitors to Ireland from all over the world go to see the Blarney Stone and take part in the famous ritual of kissing it. Legend has it that whoever kisses the stone, which was built into the battlements of the castle in 1446, shall be rewarded with the everlasting skill of being able to flatter people, or as the Irish say, inherit ‘the gift of the gab’.
The kiss itself is not easily achieved however, with people having to climb to the top of the castle and lean backwards over the walls edge to press their lips against the stone. This practice is supervised of course, with the help of an assistant and safety gear and there have also been iron guide rails and protective crossbars fitted.
This was not always the case though, as before these safety measures were introduced, people would risk their lives trying to kiss the stone, dangling from the castle walls as others desperately clung to their ankles!
The origins and traditions surrounding the stone take on a number of guises and it is up to those who visit the castle to decide which folklore they wish to accept.
It is thought that the word Blarney derives from a meeting between Queen Elizabeth I and the Lord of Blarney, Cormac Teige McCarthy. Whilst requesting an oath of loyalty to retain occupancy of land, Queen Elizabeth I received responses from the Lord of Blarney which amounted to subtle diplomacy, promising the Queen loyalty without surrendering land. Queen Elizabeth I declared that McCarthy was giving her ‘a lot of Blarney’ which gave rise to the legend and Blarney was thought of as being able to offer ‘empty flattery’.
If you are visiting Ireland and want to take part in this famous ritual, venture out of Dublin using one of the excellent car hire services and head for Cork and on to Blarney Castle. You too could go home having gained ‘the gift of the gab!’
Hailey, one of our Facebook Fans, is heading to the University of Limerick (UL) next summer for study, and she could use your help.
She’s a history major from Texas with roots going back to Northern Ireland, and she’s not sure what to expect at UL…
What kind of welcome should she expect? What can you tell her about the school? What should she see in the city? What sites are nearby?
We’d love to hear what you think… And if you’re feeling creative, you could follow the suggestion Harry Dixon made on Facebook, and put your answer in the form of a limerick (see how much fun we have over on our Facebook page?).
In case you notice some things are a little different with our site this week, don’t worry, we’re making a few changes.
Hang in there; things should be looking pretty spiffy in no time.
If you find any broken links or major problems, you can report those to firstname.lastname@example.org
My favorite line comes when a Irishman on the plan says….
…you can tell it’s summer in Ireland because the rain is warmer.
It’s in four parts, so be sure to read them all. Enjoy
|St Brigid’s Cros|
by Kat Behling
The Irish are not only blessed with their unsurpassed gift of gab, but are highly regarded as the epitome of storytellers, spinning colorful tales and adventures from traditional legends dating back to 3rd Century BC when the first Celts arrived and settled on the shores of Ireland.
These pre-Christian Celts devised Read more…
Episode Guide – Podcast #92 Dreaming of County Clare
In this audio podcast episode, we chat with Geraldine Enright from the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience as she talks about County Clare, Shannon Airport and opportunities a down economy can hold for those who travel.
CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON below to listen.
CONTEST DETAILS AT THE END OF THIS POST
Intro Song: The Devil’s Bit by Theresa Larkin & Noel McQuaid
The Irish Fireside is now a Lonely Planet Favourite Blog (our entries appear in the lower left column)
Geraldine Enright from Read more…
Time for us to choose a winner for our Rosetta Stone Irish Giveaway. Entries were submitted via comments on our review of the Irish language software. Must say, there were some wonderful entries.
We consulted the True Random Number Generator at www.random.org. The lucky number was 22 and that comment came from Thomas G. Byrne (note: I did not include the two comments I left on the post). We hope Thomas enjoys Rosetta Stone Irish, and we look forward to hearing how the software works out for him.
Meanwhile, the rest of you may not be taking home a copy of Rosetta Stone, but we’ve got another giveaway going on! Just listen to Podcast #92 – Dreaming of Clare and leave a comment or submit an article with your favorite Clare memories or favorite sites in County Clare, or for those of you who haven’t been there yet, comment with a mention of which Clare sites you’ll include in your dream itinerary. Submit your short articles about County Clare by emailing them to email@example.com.