I live for folklore, fables, myths and legend. I am a believer that every fable comes from a seed of truth. And, as in my series, I love moralistic lessons wrapped up and delivered in colorful, entertaining and fun ways! That is why kissing the Blarney Stone was one of the many pagan rituals on my bucket list.
The official Blarney Castle website explains that a witch saved from drowning revealed the stone’s magical powers to the MacCarthys. After kissing the stone, Lord MacCarthy received the gift of gab and was able to keep his land, and his head, by impressing Queen Elizabeth I of England with his eloquent speech.
Upon hearing you’ve kissed the Blarney Stone, everyone seems to have the same question – Do they wash it? Well, as I was first standing in line on the ground I saw water fall, and I saw the man who holds you as you kiss the stone, had splashed it with some water from a small water bottle and gave it a quick rub with a cloth, but that was only once, and hundreds of people kiss it every day! I consider myself a bit of a germaphobe when travelling, I’ll use antibacterial wipes on my plane seats, I’m all about the hand sanitizer, daily Emergen-C, anything to avoid getting ill while on holiday, but I never once gave thought to germs on the Blarney Stone. Besides, if inheriting the gift of gab is a real thing then surely it would be worth a temporary little bug. So no, they don’t wash the stone repeatedly.
What I didn’t expect was how nerve wracking the process of kissing the stone would be. You make your way up the very narrow stairwell and small steps of the castle’s tower with a rope to hold onto once in awhile. In order to kiss the Blarney Stone you have to lie on your back, grip the cold metal bars. wiggle backward toward the wall of the castle, and lean down with your head dipped over the grate, dangling 37 feet above the ground in order to reach it. There is a man there to hold you but it still made my heart leap a little. It pays to be a bit taller as the shorter you are the farther back you have to lean. I remember thinking, how am I not reaching it yet?! And then pushing through the nerves to lean even further back. But the feel of my lips finally meeting the cold dark sacred limestone was so worth it!
It was certainly a more commercial experience, with nearly a two-hour wait in line, but kissing the Blarney Stone was still one of my favorite experiences during my visit to Ireland. Although I did wake up from a night terror about a witch later that night. Go figure!
Here's the message I chanelled from the elementals:
We like to rhyme, it never gets old, kiss the stone and the gift of gab you’ll hold. The power of persuasion through the beauty of words, smooch it just once and you’ll be well heard. Language is an art not to be taken for granted, eloquent speech is for the enchanted.