Uncommon Places Introduction

By uncommon I don’t mean crazy rare. You can see “Kelly was here” at most of them.  I don’t mean common like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite but somewhere beyond where most average travelers go.  A good example is Number  One, the Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone

The Blarney Stone is a block of stone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle that is located five miles north of Cork in the south of Ireland. This particular stone was built into the castle he was building, by Cormac Laidir McCarthay in 1446.  According to the most popular legend, he was on his way to resolve his most recent tax dispute when an old lady told him to kiss a stone she designated and he would suddenly have excellent reasoning powers and the elocution skills to express them.  In the court, he was able to do so and he won his case.  He decided that the rock gave him the powers and he ordered it to be built into the parapet at the top of his castle.  The legend became popular that kissing the rock would grant the kisser with what, today is called the “gift of the gab”, or as the Irish say, to be an expert with “the “Blarney”.  This, in Irish is the “Cloch na Blanum” that has been explained best by the Irish Politician, john O’Connor Power as “ something more than mere flattery but as flattery, sweetened by humor and flavored with wit”   Any visitor to Ireland or associateship with its residents will soon come across blarney and could even be the victim or object of it.

My personal experience with the Blarney stone was in 1946 while driving Dr. Hunt to some well-known Irish golf courses and being his playing partner. We had just been playing at Cork and were headed north up the west coast to Ballybunion and Rosses Point and decided to make time to tour Blarney Castle.  When we reached the top we noticed two men on one side sitting each side of one of the apertures of the parapet and there was no-one else there.  (Readers should understand the scarcity of tourists in those days) We wandered over to understand that they were there to help you do the acrobatics in order to kiss the stone and they made it obvious that they expected a tip for their efforts.  I gradually understood that you had to lay on your back with your head hanging over the opening and then, with each man holding one of your arms, you were allowed to dangle backwards down about five feet to the stone.  On reaching this uncomfortable position I found myself facing the rock but as it was totally covered with lip-stick I must admit that I only gave it an air-kiss.  Afterwards, it was interesting to see how these two vagabonds handled the few ladies who were not  wearing slacks.  Today, I have been told there are wrought iron hand holds and bars to prevent a fall to the ground.

I have occasionally been accused of tale-telling or blarney so you may realize how I acquired it.

2 thoughts on “Uncommon Places Introduction

  1. We skipped Blarney Castle when we were in Ireland but drove right by it on our way from Cork to Dublin. Maybe the gift of Blarney will skip a generation.

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