Thursday, May 16, 2013


Blarney Castle Promotional Poster

 In the late 1500's Queen Elizabeth I,  had a problem.  How to quell the perennially rebellious Irish.  She tried displacing them with loyal English families but the Irish would simply not die off or go away.  Next the queen tried to bully the local chiefs into agreeing the land belonged to her, not them.

Cormac MacCarthy, Lord of Blarney Castle, greeted the Queens emissaries with warmth and hospitality, good food and many, many, many words of admiration for the queen.  He sent long letters to her passionately extolling her virtues and her greatness.

But he never got around to agreeing the land belonged to Her Majesty.  After numerous attempts by many royal representatives, the queen was heard to respond to the latest flowery missive with "that's just a lot of Blarney."  The legend, among many, many others was born.

The Blarney stone is rumored to have come from the mystical middle east.  It also was thought to be part of Scotland's royal 'Stone of Scone'.  The story (just one of many) goes that one of Cormac's ancestors sent troops to aid Robert the Bruce defeat the British in the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.  In return for that service the Scots split the 'Stone of Scone' in two giving half of it to the Irish.  The Irish half became the Blarney Stone.

Don't like that story... there are innumerable others.

Like the 22 year old young woman from Oregon who wanted to celebrate her birthday by kissing the Blarney Stone.  Our youngest, Britta, dreamed of this for years.  Wouldn't you know, Blarney Castle with its infamous stone is only half an hour from where we're living.  I was doubtful.  Rick Steeves all but dismisses it as not worth your time.  But daughters are insistent.

I've seen pictures of people kissing the Blarney Stone.  It always looked to me that the stone was part of the foundation of the castle.  Whoaaaa... was I in for a surprise.  If you notice the castle in the following picture.  Notice especially, after climbing a hill, and a good number of steps to get to the castle base, the Blarney Stone is at the top of four stories of slippery narrow winding steps with only a two inch rope hanging down the center of the stairs for support.
The Blarney Stone is through that little bit of light above the three sets of perpendicular windows.  To kiss it, you lean over backwards and lean out into space upside down....Absolutely insane!!!

OMOTIC was not impressed.  Neither were his half numbed diabetic legs.  But with two lovely daughters behind me, ostensibly to catch me if I fell... in reality ready to catch my demise with iphone cameras... I began climbing up wedge shaped, did I say slippery, rounded stairs, some between 10 and 12 inches high per step.

Couldn't let the girls down.  Made to the top in time to record the blessed event.
...there is nothing but space below her head for four stories...

Obviously one happy kid... and one very relieved OMOTIC...
As to practical implications, she can already out talk me, so who needs an extra gift of Blarney?  Let's just add it to the ever expanding repertoire of Blarney stories.  Britta is now safely home in Oakland, trying mightily to catch up on homework postponed for what I hope was the trip worth the time.  Come to think of it, she made need that extra blarney to get a good grade.

What I need is time in a hot tub, some really good Jameson's Irish Whiskey and a wife to say 'poor baby'.  Hey one out of three isn't bad.  I can't count on extra blarney because NO... I did not kiss that stone!!!!!  My miracle was making it back down those XX##@$$%$$ stairs.  I remain, OMOTIC.

The stairs going down were much more civilized... even had
a metal hand rail....

No comments:

Post a Comment