Discover the Blarney Stone, a block of bluestone in the battlements of Blarney Castle, Ireland, packed with tales, myths…and germs!

The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle,  located in the small town of Blarney, about five miles northwest of Cork, Ireland’s second largest city. While the Blarney Castle that visitors see today was built in 1446, the history of the place goes back to two centuries before that time.

No one really knows the true origin of the stone. One legend says it was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to produce water for the Israelists during their Exodus from Egypt. Some however, believe it was the Stone of Ezel, which David hid behind on Jonathan’s advice, while fleeing from King Saul and that it was brought to Ireland during the Crusades. It may also have once been the Coronation Stone of Scottish monarchs. Yet, the most commonly accepted story is that, in gratitude for Irish support at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Robert the Bruce gave a portion of the stone to Cormac Mc Carty, King of Munster. A century later, in 1446, King Dermot McCarthy then installed the stone in an enlarged castle he constructed.

The word « Blarney » was introduced into the English language by Queen Elizabeth I and is described as pleasant talk, intended to deceive without offending. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of great eloquence or skill at flattery.

To kiss the stone, one has to lean backwards, grasping an iron railing from the parapet walk, making it a difficult physical feat for some people. In past times, to kiss the stone, people were hung by their heels over the edge of the parapet which was very dangerous.  

The ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone has been performed by millions of people, including world statesmen, literary giants and movie stars thus becoming the germiest attraction in the world!