Co. Cork Tourism: The Blarney Stone

Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors join a long line of people who have travelled to Ireland to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. Many celebrities, such as singer Mick Jagger and comic duo Laurel and Hardy, have taken a trip to County Cork in order to benefit from the powers of eloquence the stone is believed to bestow on those that kiss it. Holidaymakers using Car Hire Ireland services can easily travel to the well-known site in Blarney Castle in order to take part in this must-do ritual while visiting the Emerald Isle.

As well as seeing the stone, tourists have the opportunity to marvel at the ancient castle that houses it and the outlying gardens, which hark back to a time when Druids and Witches roamed the land. Visitors to the castle will learn that the stone’s origins are debated with some believing it hails from Egypt where it served as a source of water that flowed from a rock on the command of Moses.

Another theory says that it was introduced to Ireland by prophet Jeremiah, while others refer to it as the Lia Fail, explaining that its role was to reveal the true Kings of the country – the stone was believed to emit a loud noise when Ireland’s true monarch stood near it.

The most widely-accepted theory regarding the Blarney Stone’s origin is that it was a gift from Scotland following King Cormac McCarthy efforts in providing support to the Scottish troops during the 1314 Bannockburn battle, which they won. The gift was integrated into the battlements of Blarney Castle when it was rebuilt in 1446, where it has stayed ever since.

According to the attraction, the powers of eloquence that the rock is rumoured to bring to those who kiss it were first noticed by a local witch during McCarthy’s time. The rock’s powers were also referred to by Elizabeth I in the 1500s. The royal sought ownership of the castle but she was constantly presented with obstacles by its owner at the time, who was Dermot McCarthy. Eventually she referred to McCarthy’s careful excuses as “Blarney”, which has forever linked the word with eloquent, coaxing words. After kissing the stone, visitors can take their time enjoying the rest of the attraction, which is steeped in history. The ancient castle houses dungeons and tunnels that can be investigated by holidaymakers keen to look into Ireland’s distant past. While the Rock Close gardens feature a Druid’s Cave and Witch’s kitchen set in an atmospheric garden that reflects the myths and legends of the Emerald Isle.