Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Romancing the Blarney Stone

The Blarney Castle
In 2009 Tripadvisor voted the Blarney Stone the “most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world.” And I kissed it. You better believe it. You see, when you kiss the most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world, you receive the gift of gab.

 Like I need it!

The stone is harder to kiss than you might imagine. For starters, it’s on top of the Blarney Castle, which is worth a visit even without the stone. The stone, however, draws thousands of tourists to Blarney each year. You’ll have to pay to enter the castle grounds, but you’ll be glad you did. There’s nothing else to do in Blarney besides get pissed at the pub.

Christopher getting ready to romance the Stone
To kiss the Blarney Stone, you have to lie on your back and lean over the side of the castle. The stone is set into the parapet much farther down than most people can bend. The fellow holding me kept saying “deeper, deeper, deeper, deeper.” As you know, if you read my post “Shakira in Ireland,” I am quite flexible. I managed to arrive at the stone with half my body hanging over the castle.

My father, who was taking this picture, was having trouble getting the right angle, so I had to kiss the Blarney Stone for quite a long time. Despite the length of the kiss, there was no tongue.

There are many legends of the Stone. Most are pretty silly. Apparently Clídna, an Irish goddess told Cormac MacCarthy, the fifteenth-century builder of the Blarney Castle, that if he would kiss the first stone he saw the morning of a particularly sticky lawsuit, he would be able to talk his way out of it. He did, and then he took that stone to the top of the castle for safekeeping.

The Stone is bluestone, which is a bluish-gray sandstone, so if you intend to bend toward it, make sure you see a bluish-gray stone before you pucker up.

“Yeah, you have to bend quite a ways down,” I bragged to my father as we were climbing back down from the castle.


“It’s bluish-gray, you know,” I said.

“No. Really?”

“Yeah, totally different from the rest of the parapet,” I said.

Then my father got quiet. “I don’t think I kissed it.”

“I don’t think many people can.” I was doing a back bend as I said this.

“Man!” This is my father “cursing.”

I think it’s safe to say that the Blarney Stone is not the most unhygienic tourist attraction in the world. That would be about a foot higher, where most people (who are not as flexible as myself and Shakira) romance the parapet.

I must be off,