The Blarney stone is maybe the most famous tourist attraction in Ireland. Five miles north-west of Cork is the village of Blarney, the home of Blarney Castle. At the top of the castle the world famous Blarney stone sits three storeys high, at the top of a stone spiral staircase just below the battlements on the parapet.

This 180 centimetre tall piece of limestone is reputed to give the person who kisses it the gift of the gab.

Due to the stone's unusual position, to kiss it, you must lie down, bend over backwards and lower yourself down around two feet over the edge of the castle parapet. This is a difficult task and in the past it has proved fatal, before the introduction of safety measures. Nowadays there are iron bars over the hole where people could fall to make the kiss a little less dangerous. However in the past people used to be held by their friends by their feet over the edge of the parapet. If anyone let go, their friend would hurtle towards the ground and certain death.

The stone itself is steeped in history and legend. It is believed to be a section of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland, and over which Scottish Kings were crowned due to its alleged special powers. Robert the Bruce gave it to Cormac McCarthy, the owner of the castle, in 1314 in return for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Irish chiefs were required to surrender their properties to the Queen, but remain there as proof of loyalty to the Crown. Cormac McCarthy, Lord Blarney, was diplomatic in every reponse to the crown, promising loyalty whilst never actually agreeing to anything. He excused himself from the situation so frequently, and plausibly, that in Court, the official who was sent to talk to McCarthy became a joke.

The way in which Lord Blarney talked his way out of difficult situations led to the Queen calling his ability to influence with soft speech "Blarney".


I spent a summer in Dublin, Ireland several years ago with my best friend from high school. We spent our first month travelling about the railways to the local towns, and Cork was our first stop. We heard that Blarney castle was a great tourist attraction, and we both had loved castles and fantasy themes in our younger days, so we headed over to Blarney.

After a short trip, we arrived at Blarney castle. The grounds are huge, and some of the areas are very beautiful, with lush flora and plenty of weeping willows draping small waterfalls and stagnant pools. We spent some time taking pictures, and went into the castle. We noticed the line leading up to the Blarney Stone. It was quite long, but we shrugged our shoulders and stepped into the back of the line.

After almost 30 minutes, we were almost at the stone itself. I was talking to my friend and taking pictures of the inner court when we noticed some girls laughing behind us. They weren't in line; they seemed to be staff or something. Our curiosity got the best of us, as they were pointing at the people lying down, kissing the stone. Each time someone layed down to kiss the stone, the four girls giggled and stared.

I was obviously intrigued, so I turned and asked them what was so funny.

"Some of our boyfriends work here."

I stared blankly. "So?"

One of them reached into her purse, and pulled out a photo of her boyfriend and another guy...pissing on the Blarney Stone.

We got out of line.

A bar located in San Diego, California. There is actually more than one bar in San Diego called the Blarney Stone; this entry discusses the one in Clairemont and not the more upscale bar in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The Blarney Stone is one of San Diego's best kept secrets, a great old-style bar with no pretense and Irish beers on tap. Guinness Stout and Jameson 17-Year-Old Irish Whiskey are the preferred drinks. It has no pool tables, but does have a dartboard. A dart league plays there, reputed to have some of the best dart players in the United States.

On Friday and Saturday nights the bar usually has a live singer, who sings a mixture of modern songs which are easy to sing along with and Irish drinking songs such as "The Old Dun Cow." The singer encourages people to sing along, and teaches the chorus of the drinking songs before each one.

Beware, if you make a mistake on some of the songs, you may be forced to chug your drink, whether it be a Guinness or a Scotch on the rocks.

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