Long before coming to Ireland I had heard about the stories of how the locals would pee on the Blarney Stone at night and have a good laugh when the tourists would line up to kiss it in the morning. I always laughed about it until we arrived to Ireland and were told by a tour guide in Dublin that that little story is in fact true.
But even more disgusting is the little known fact that the Blarney Stone was once the deflector stone at the bottom of a toilet. And they charge people to kiss this thing?
There was no way that I was going to leave Ireland without putting my lips on a chunk of rock at the top of a castle, in the bottom of a hole, that has had 100’s of years of urine, feces, and tourist slobber all over it. I mean, you can’t go to Egypt without seeing the pyramids, so why would I miss kissing the Blarney Stone when visiting Ireland. That might be a bad comparison, but you get the point.
So, this week we took the drive over to the little town of Blarney outside Cork and paid a small fortune to see Blarney Castle and to kiss the Blarney Stone, aka “potty rock.” The castle was really impressive looking as we zoomed past the other tourists on our way to the top of the castle. The weather had been very volatile and the top of the castle and the Blarney Stone is exposed and it could have been a really wet wait if it had started raining. Fortunately, it did not rain and there was no line for the Blarney Stone. Our lucky day… or was it?
Kerri decided to go first and show us how it was done. She had visited Blarney Castle with her grandmother 15 years earlier and had survived. There are two assistants that help the tourists kiss the stone. She laid down on her back on a cushioned pad and put her hands on metal handrails along the wall. One of the assistants helped lower Kerri backwards down the hole to get her into the proper stone kissing position. Once down the other assistant snapped photos (€10 each) of her kissing “potty rock.”
Our 8-year old daughter, Sydney, was refusing to kiss the stone. I guess years of telling her to wash her hands and to avoid germs had really paid off. Because now we wanted her to forget all about the hygiene conditioning and to put her lips on what has got to be the dirtiest, nastiest, and most disgusting rock in Ireland. After much prompting, she finally agreed and got lowered down into the hole and kissed the rock.
Next was my turn. As I was lowered down into the position that 1000’s of others had been in before, I decided to do something different. Instead of kissing the same spot that 1000’s of germy lips had been on I moved my head sideways and kissed the stone in a less-kissed spot. It was moist. Yuck!
After coming back up I pulled the alcohol based hand sanitizer out of my pocket and liberally applied it to my lips and to Sydney’s lips and offered some to Kerri.
Having kissed the Blarney Stone we hopefully now have the “Gift of Gab.”
I might have to think long and hard about that one. I don’t know the story. How did such a disgusting rock (with its history) become such a thing to do?
Anthony Murphy says
The story goes that a few lads were having a drink one night and thought it hilarious to see if one of them could persuade an English man to kiss a toilet, one enterprising young fellow thought about the toilet on the battlements of Blarney Castle and the story goes that his fellow drinkers agreed that he would have the gift of the gab if he could persuade anybody to climb up and place his lips on the shit stone, and so various legends , myths and tall stories have been invented to encourage this !
This has now become the most successful tourist attraction in Ireland
Denise Quince says
I already have the gift of the gab, and kissing The Blarney Stone won’t enhance my ability to flatter, or make me any more eloquent.
Your description of the experience sounds about the same as mine EXCEPT for the fact that those two helpers wipe the rock with sanitizer between every visitor’s kiss.. Additionally, the lore told to us was something about two warring peoples splitting the base stone of one of the ruler’s throne foundation. They decided to share the halves and the rule of the territory. The one at Blarney Castle is one of those halves.
1st went to (Europe, w/ 1 destination being) Ireland onto County Cork & Blarney Castle. Albeit as Castles go, this was of the less impressive, not very big nor tall & is primarily exposed; the only ‘attraction’ is the “Blarney Stone”. Friends of Irish descent were DYING to Kiss the Stone. We got to the Stone & my friends all went thru this ridiculous upside down position for to Kiss a Rock Wall?! I had no desire, already had the Gift of Gab & ‘Tis better to Kiss the 1 who’s Kissed the Stone’. (Never happened either.) I had a 2nd opportunity to go back (specifically) to Blarney Castle in ’97, went to the Stone again & still never Kissed this Blarney of a Stone. All prior to hearing of this fetid revulsion of a ritual! Now it makes sense as to WHY the upside down, very bottom of the stone KISS, opposed to a lean in KISS higher on the wall! Thankfully I was smart enough TWICE not to go along with #AllTheBlarney!