In pursuing my passion for the dairy industry, I have stumbled upon the beautiful country of Ireland. Not only have I learned about the agricultural industry here, but also have learned about my family heritage, and visited many iconic tourist spots.
This past week I was able to visit the Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland. This castle was originated around 1210 A.D. and in 1466, the third creation of the Blarney castle was built. That castle is the same one that stands there today. Blarney Castle was once occupied by the king of Munster, Cormac McCarthy. Legend has it that Robert the Bruce passed half the historic Stone of Scone down to McCarthy in gratitude of his help during battle in 1314. The Stone of Scone was historically associated with the crowning of Scottish kings, and was also referred to as the stone of Destiny. This stone later became the Blarney Stone, and was incorporated into the castle.
Today, many tourists, such as myself, flock to the iconic castle to kiss the stone and get the “gift of gab,” or “gift of eloquence.” The naming behind the stone is thanks to Queen Elizabeth. The Earl of Leicester was ordered by the Queen to take possession of the castle, but he always had longwinded excuses and explanations as to why he could not complete the task. Finally, after having enough, the Queen declared he was full of “blarney,” and so became the age-old word.
Now, if you know me, you’re probably thinking, “Why does she need the gift of gab?” I know; I can talk an awful lot. But it was truly a fun experience. The process involved climbing to the top of the castle up a narrow set of stairs. Once you reach the top, you sit down with your back facing the castle wall, with an opening in the floor behind you. A man to your left is there as an anchor of support while you grab onto handles and bend backwards. From there, you have to shuffle your body down until you reach the stone and kiss it! It sounds easy, but if you’re afraid of heights like me, it’s a total adrenaline rush.
But hey, now I can say I’ve got the “gift of gab” for seven years, and possibly also the luck of the Irish.