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Stone History: The Irish Tradition of Kissing This Famous Limestone 🍀

Mar 16, 2021

It’s been a while since we posted about stone history, so today, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’d like to share a little history about the most famous rock in Ireland, the Blarney Stone. 

The Blarney Stone is a block of Carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery) and the stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. 

>> You might have a cousin of this British Isles limestone beautifying your floors, sinks or shower surrounds. So we asked our stone care experts if kissing our bathroom floors could bring us luck too. The answer? “Um, No.”

A number of stories attempt to explain the origin of the stone and surrounding legend. An early story involves the goddess Clíodhna. Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, being involved in a lawsuit in the 15th century, appealed to Clíodhna for her assistance. She told MacCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, which he did, and then went on to plead his case with great eloquence and won. Due to the outcome of his case and the advice from Clíodhna, MacCarthy then added the sage words to the wall of the castle.

Another legend suggests that Queen Elizabeth I requested Cormac Teige MacCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, be deprived of his traditional land rights. Cormac traveled to see the queen but was certain he would not persuade her to change her mind as he wasn’t an effective speaker. He met an old woman on the way who told him that anyone who kissed a particular stone in Blarney Castle would be given the gift of eloquent speech. Cormac went on to successfully persuade the queen that he should not be deprived of his land.

🍀 Whatever the source, Boston Stone Restoration firmly believes in the idea that rocks can bring good luck, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Sláinte friends!

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