Posted by: travelrat | January 6, 2012

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle: 15th September 2011.

It’s almost inevitable that, if you’re in the Cork area of Ireland, you will visit Blarney Castle. Maybe you know a rather loquacious person who is said to have the gift of the blarney? It is said that anyone can have this gift if they kiss the Blarney Stone. Which you can do, but it isn’t anything like as easy as it sounds.

I didn’t kiss it. People who know me say I have no need to; maybe I kissed it in a previous existence? But, I did make a pilgrimage to see it being kissed … and I could happily spend the rest of my life without doing that trek again.

The stone is located in the battlements of Blarney Castle, a little way to the north of Cork. There’s a strenuous climb up to those battlements, up a tiring spiral stone staircase. And, that staircase is one way; there’s no giving up and turning back, for the descent is by another staircase.

It would be impossible to turn around anyway, for there’s always a queue of people to witness, if not take part in the Kissing of the Stone.

‘I’m just going to have a look’  an elderly Australian told me. ‘I’m damned if I’m going to kiss a stone that’s had the world and his cousin slobbering over it!’

Even after having negotiated the climb, it’s not just a matter of going up to the stone and kissing it. You have to lie on your back over a hole in the battlements, with an attendant hanging on to your legs to get at it. I think that hole was originally a ‘murder hole’, through which the castle defenders could pour boiling oil, and other unpleasant substances on any invading sinners who were foolish enough to approach the walls too closely.

The necessary contortions put it definitely out of court for me. I just said (truthfully!) that I had put my back out in a stumble a couple of days before, passed by, took a photograph and some video of the proceedings, and prepared for the descent.


  1. Hi Keith,
    The castle looks very high up going by your first photo, looks huge as well. Plenty to explore.

    I had to laugh at what the Aussie said, that is just so typical, and I would of most likely said the same thing. 🙂

    It looks like a very uncomfortable position to put yourself into to kiss the stone, but well worth going up to get that photo, it really does explain it all very well.

    • It’s built on top of a low hill/big rock (take your pick!) which adds to its height considerably. Although I was lying on the ground looking up to exaggerate its height a bit!

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