True to it’s name, the Blarney Stone is surrounded by tall tales and myths. Some stories are steeped in the history and geology of ages long gone. Others are vivid imaginings regarding the crowning of kings and queens. Others sound like, well… pure blarney. Still, we at Authentic Ireland are always glad to hear a good story.
The Blarney Stone is a single block of bluestone, the same material as the megaliths of Stonehenge. Some people believe the Blarney Stone is half of the original Stone of Scone upon which the first King of Scots was seated during his coronation in 847. It is said that part of this stone was presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314. It was his gift to the Irish for supporting the Scots in the Battle of Bannockburn.
Family members who are still connected with Blarney Castle have many stories about the Blarney Stone and its magic powers. Most of them begin with the assumption that the Blarney Stone was originally from Ireland. For as many reasons as there are stories, the Stone ended up in Scotland and was then returned to Ireland in the year 1314.
Hard to imagine? We are, after all, talking about the Blarney Stone and a country where stories grow as naturally as the tall, grassy meadows. Among some of the more colorful tales, we discover that the Stone was used by Jacob for his pillow and was brought to Ireland by the prohet Jeremiah; that David hid behind the Stone while running from King Saul. (The Stone was then returned to Ireland during the Crusades); it is the very rock Moses struck with his staff to supply the Israelites with water as they fled slavery in Egypt. Well, why not?
Regardless of how the Stone found its way to Ireland, it was originally known as Lia Fáil or the Stone of Destiny, and its mysterious powers were first revealed to the McCarthy family by a witch they had saved from drowning.
Here is one thing all agree upon: Queen Elizabeth 1, daughter of Henry VIII, not only reigned over England, she was Queen of Ireland. “Queen Bess” decided that the Irish chiefs should agree to occupy their own lands, but occupy them under title from her. Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, received requests from her to title his land over with grace and good humor, saying he was glad to pledge his loyalty to the Queen. His letters were subtle and so well put, she finally realized that he was keeping her happy without giving in. At one point, after receiving another of his charming messages, she flung down his letter and said, “Oh! He’s just giving me a lot more blarney!!!”
Thus did the Stone, during that time, come to signify the gift of sparkling eloquence and good luck.