Shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage, green beer, and the Blarney Stone are all synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day. The term “Kiss the Blarney Stone” is said often, but what does it mean exactly and just what is the Blarney Stone?
The word “blarney” has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk”. And the Blarney Stone is a real thing! It is a block of bluestone that was built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in 1446. The Castle is about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland.
According to legend, if you kiss the stone, you’ll be given the gift of gab – which simply put means great eloquence or skill at flattery. The ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone, according to the castle’s proprietors, has been performed by “millions of people”.
But here’s the catch: you don’t just walk up to a wall and kiss it…it’s nowhere near that easy! First, you have to climb to the castle’s peak, then lean over backwards on the parapet’s edge. You really need someone to help you achieve this task. The parapet is now fitted with wrought-iron guide rails and protective crossbars, which makes kissing the Blarney Stone much easier. Prior to the installation of the safeguards, the kiss was performed with real risk to life and limb because participants were grasped by the ankles and dangled bodily from the height!
Kissing the Blarney Stone does trigger attacks of acrophobia (an extreme or irrational fear of heights), and it’s not something that you’d ever find me doing!
So which celebs have kissed the Blarney Stone? Michael Madsen, Mick Jagger, The Simpsons (well, not in real life but on the show!), Winston Churchill, Laurel & Hardy have all made their way to the castle’s peak to bend over backwards and kiss the Blarney Stone.
Would you kiss the Blarney Stone if you had the chance?