The Powers of the Blarney Stone


At the top of the tallest tower of Blarney Castle in Cork County, Ireland sits a stone with magical properties. Legend says that whoever places their lips upon the stone will have “the gift of gab” or “blarney” as it has been called. Thereafter, those who receive the gift are destined to speak with persuasiveness and eloquence to those engaged in conversation. Its powers have been bestowed upon professionals from all over the globe including Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Mick Jagger, Laurel & Hardy, and others. It is estimated that more than 400,000 people kiss the Blarney Stone per year. What brings so many people to the stone and how did it gain its powers?

Blarney Castle was built in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy and according to legend, was so named by Queen Elizabeth I after McCarthy continually talked his way out of negotiations aimed at transferring the castle to her property. The Queen called his obfuscations and verbal gymnastics “blarney” in response. It was believed that McCarthy’s “gift of gab” came from a magical stone used in the construction of the castle.

There are many myths about the source of the stone’s powers. One states that the rock was used as a pillow by Jacob, patriarch of the Israelites, and was stolen by Christian soldiers during the Crusades, transported to Scotland and eventually, to Cork. Another tale states that the stone was part of the “Stone of Scone’’ and a gift from King Robert the Bruce to the McCarthys for sending 5,000 soldiers to Scotland. Still another legend states that the stone was a gift from the Queen of Fairies who fell in love with the McCarthy Chieftain. Whatever the reason, the stone remains one of the world’s most beguiling objects and if given the chance, one should attempt to obtain its powers – the gift of gab – something I was able to do in the fall of 2023.


Pucker Up! Tips for Kissing the Blarney Stone

1. Wait for a clear day. The stone sits open to the elements at the top of Blarney Castle. Rain will prohibit access and can make for a real wet and miserable experience.

2. Get there early. The line can get long – it begins at the castle entrance and winds through the entire structure. Also, the castle and grounds are interesting in themselves and you will want time to explore. Don’t miss the Poison Garden and the Carnivorous Courtyard.

3. Core strength and flexibility required. To kiss the stone, one lies on their back and bends their body backwards while holding onto metal supports and being supported by an attendant. You will be kissing the stone upside-down and the bend is a little more than you would think; it can be uncomfortable to those with excess weight or back problems.

“‘Tis there’s the stone that whoever kisses
He never misses to grow eloquent;
‘Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber,
Or become a member of Parliament.
A noble spouter he’ll sure turn out, or
An out and outer to be let alone;
Don’t try to hinder him, or to bewilder him,
For he is a pilgrim from the Blarney Stone.”

– Francis Sylvester Mahoney

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from My City!


Leave A Reply