Have you heard the phrase, “full of Blarney”? That saying is tied to the famous Blarney stone, a block of bluestone which is built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in Ireland.
According to legend, kissing this celebrated stone bestows the kisser with the gift of eloquent articulation or the skill of persuasiveness through flattery mingled with humor.
This stone was set into one of the castle’s towers in 1446, and today attracts visitors from around the globe who come to kiss the stone and tour the castle.
Where Did the Stone Come From
How did one stone in Blarney Castle become so famous?
Some suggest it is Jacob’s Pillow mentioned in the Bible when the patriarch used a stone to rest his head the night he dreamed of Jacob’s Ladder with angels ascending and descending to and from heaven.
According to this legend the stone was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. After that it is said to have been used as an oracular for Irish Kings and was eventually moved to Scotland where it functioned as a prophetic power of royal succession and became known as the Stone of Destiny.
Some say that in 1314, a portion of the stone returned to Ireland when it was given by the Scots as a gift of gratitude when Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, rendered support with five thousand troops to aid Robert the Bruce when he defeated the English at Bannockburn.
A second and third alternate history of the stone are also biblical in nature. The first says it is the “Stone of Ezel” which David hid behind when he followed Jonathan’s advice when fleeing from King Saul.
A third biblical tie is that it is the stone Moses struck to bring forth water in the wilderness. Where it really came from no one can prove, but today people make their way to the castle just to kiss it.
Other Things to Do
While many people visit Blarney Castle just to see or kiss the stone, there’s plenty of other things to do and see while you’re there. Along with the castle itself, there’s plenty you won’t want to miss.
- Badger’s Cave: A passageway through which the main garrison fled when the walls were breeched. According to legend there are three passageways: one to Cork, one to the lake and one to Kerry. But this could be Blarney in its truest form.
- The Court: See the ruins of a late 18th century Gothic mansion known as the Court. It was a grand, three-story residence. While not much is left, the stories surrounding this residence make for another fascinating journey in history.
- The Dungeon: A labyrinth stretches beneath the tower house and offers a network of underground passages and chambers that date from a variety of periods in Blarney Castle history. Today most are not accessible, but visitors do have the opportunity to visit what is believed to have been the Castle dungeon.
This just scratches the surface of all this castle has to offer. For a complete list of things you can expect to see and do, visit the Blarney Castle official website.