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Ireland map
Area (sq km): 68,890
Population: 4,109,086
Nationality: Irish
Local Name: Eire
Language: English,
Irish Gaelic
Time Zone: 0 GMT
Currency: 1 euro =
100 cents
Rate: www.xe.com
Capital: Dublin
Dialling Code: +353
Electricity: 220V/50Hz
Internet Code: .ie
Religion: Roman Catholic,
Church of Ireland
Climate: Maritime
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Inoculations: None
Driving: Left
Int'l License: Not required
Banking: M-F 10.00-12.30
13.30-15.00
Major Airports: Cork(ORK),
Dublin(DUB),
Kerry(KIR),
Shannon(SNN)

The Blarney Stone

How many times have we heard the popular expression “a load of Blarney” probably without knowing where the term came from? The Blarney Stone is a piece of rock located in one of the battlements on the very top of the much visited Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland.

Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle

It is said that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will possess the gift of eloquence. Whether this legend is true or not, Blarney Castle is visited by people from all over the world, perhaps in search of such a treasure.

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone is not an easy task for some of us, as after a steep climb, the visitor will have to lean backwards over the parapet, practically upside-down with his head hanging to reach the Stone. However, there are assistants who carefully hold the wary visitor, to keep him from harm. There are also some iron bars to hold onto. Not a very high price to pay for the much desired “gift of the gab”. Don’t you think?

Origins of the Blarney Stone

There are several versions of the origins of the Blarney Stone. The most accepted one is that Robert the Bruce from Scotland gave the Stone to Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, to thank him for his support during the Battle of Bannockburn, in 1314.

At the time Blarney Castle was Cormac McCarthy’s stronghold. It wasn’t until 1446 that the Blarney Stone was set on the peak of the Castle. There is a lovely story about Queen Elizabeth I requesting proof of loyalty from Cormac Teige McCarthy, the lord of Blarney, so that he could retain the Castle.

It is said that on several occasions, McCarthy used very diplomatic words, without refusing to fulfil the Queen’s request, but never complying with it either. Then, apparently the Queen said that McCarthy was giving her a “lot of Blarney”.

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