The Gift Of The Blarney

According to Wikipedia, the Blarney Stone (“Cloch na Blarnan”) is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 5 miles from Cork, Ireland.  Legend has it that kissing the stone endows the kisser with “the gift of the gab” (great eloquence or skill at flattery).  The word “blarney” itself has come to mean “clever, flattering, or coaxing talk.”

Legends and Stories

Cormac Laidir McCarthy’s face on wall – (Tomasz Bukowski)

Cormac Laidir McCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, being involved in a lawsuit, appealed to the goddess Cliodhna for her assistance.  She told McCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won.  Thus the Blarney Stone is said to impart “The ability to deceive without offending.”  McCarthy then incorporated it into the parapet of the castle.

The Stone of Destiny, Stone of Scone (Liath Fàil)

It has also been supposed that the stone had previously been in Ireland, was taken to Scotland, then returned to Ireland in 1314.  It has been suggested that the stone was presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in recognition of his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.  This legend holds that this was a piece of the Stone of Scone and was installed at McCarthy’s castle of Blarney.  (However, this legend supposes the stone was removed from Scotland 18 years before Bannockburn.)

Another story suggests that Queen Elizabeth I, while requesting an oath of loyalty to retain occupancy of land, received responses from Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, which amounted to subtle diplomacy, and promised loyalty to the Queen without “giving in.”  Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her “(a lot of) blarney,” thus giving rise to the legend.

How To Kiss The Stone

The ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone, according to the castle’s proprietors, has been performed by “millions of people”, including “world statesmen, literary giants and legends of the silver screen.”  The kiss itself is not casually achieved.  To touch the stone with one’s lips, the participant must ascend to the castle’s peak, then lean over backwards on the parapet’s edge.  This is traditionally achieved with the help of an assistant.  Although the parapet is now fitted with wrought-iron guide rails and protective crossbars, the ritual can still trigger attacks of acrophobia, an exteme fear of heights.  Before the installation of safeguards, there was a real risk to life and limb, as participants were grasped by the ankles and dangled bodily from the height.

Francis Sylvester Mahony added a number of humorous lines to Richard Milliken’s “The Groves of Blarney” as follows:

‘Tis there’s the stone that whoever kisses He never misses to grow eloquent;
‘Tis he may clamber to a lady’s chamber, Or become a member of Parliament.
A noble spouter he’ll sure turn out, or An out and outer to be let along;
Don’t try to hinder him, or to bewilder him, For he is a pilgrim from the Blarney stone.

Blarney Stone – from below

Now Me – (not Wiki)

There is quite a difference between malicious lies and mischievous fibs;  one is told to hurt people and the other to entertain them.  Stretching of the truth doesn’t actually make a fact untruthful – just stretched a bit!

The Gift Of The Blarney is a good, precious gift.  It’s the calling of the story-tellers, and I think it’s a wonderful calling.  Not everyone has been given the gift to be able to weave a simple humorous story into a tale so funny, we find ourselves holding our sides from laughter and wiping away tears.  Belly laughs these days are hard come by, so when we have someone around who spreads a little blarney, he or she is as welcome as a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine, a spring flower.

Irish Storyteller (Seanchai) Niall De Burca (what’s not to love!)

When a blarney person tells a little story, it’s usually as his own expense – which tells you even more about the man.  He’s not afraid to poke a little fun at himself, to ease people over the obvious hard times or foolish situations in his past, where he doesn’t want to linger.

What a delight to have a playful, fast-talking, smooth blarney-ist in our midst!  Whenever I hear people indignantly pontificate that blarney-isms are “lies”, I don’t know whether to laugh or give a lecture on the art of humour, which they apparently lack.  What joys of laughter they are missing!  A person full of the blarney has the intent of drawing people closer to him;  he’s inviting us into his inner circle, as any good story-teller will do – and I’m all for that!

As a story-teller myself, I believe that sometimes we need to look out at the world through the eyes of someone who’s actually or figuratively kissed the stone.  And laugh!

We Are Always Six Years Old

When we are seven,
Did we stop being six?
Didn’t our memories
Stay in the mix?

Ride on a pony,
Fly on a swing,
Still in our memory
Through everything.

Nine doesn’t leave you
When ten comes around –
Or eighteen or nineteen
When twenty’s in town.

I look at me
And it’s still very clear
I am yet full
Of my yesteryear.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

The Acorn

You may have thought, given the theme of this post, that I would be featuring an Irish band, U2 or The Chieftains or The Irish Rovers perhaps. We’ll leave them for another day though because I want to tell you about The Acorn, a Canadian Indie Rock, Folk band, formed in 2003 from Ottawa, Ontario.  Their songs have charted on Canadian campus charts and have been in rotation on CBC Radio and the Verge. Rolf Klausener is the principal songwriter, as well as vocalist and guitarist.  The other members are drummer Jeffrey Malecki, guitarist Jeff Debutte, percussionist Pat Johnson and bassist Steven Lappano.  Since the release of Glory Hope Mountain, The Acorn have toured Europe and North America extensively, with great critical love.  They were nominated for the 2008 Polaris Award.  I certainly like them, and I think you will too!

Information from:  Wikipedia  –   The Acorn Website

Some YouTube selections I’m sure you will enjoy!

Crooked Legs (Glory Hope Mountain 2007) (upl.DodgeMOKB)

Restoration (No Ghost 2012) (upl.TheAcornChannel)

Misplaced (No Ghost 2012)  (upl.TheAcornChannel)

Oh Napoleon (Glory Hope Mountain 2007) (upl.LaundroMatinee)

It’s Been Said…..

 The I’s Have It

I always wondered what hearing one’s own obituary might sound like… (Spencer Abraham)

I can’t take a well-tanned person seriously.  (Cleveland Amory)

I can’t walk by chocolate without eating it.  (Malin Akerman)

I don’t make music for eyes.  I make music for ears. (Adele)

I don’t think you need to go looking for the enemy.  He’s going to look for you. (Willie Aames)

I get mail;  therefore I am. (Scott Adams)

I get so nervous on stage I can’t help but talk.  I try.  I try telling my brain:  stop sending words to the mouth.  But I get nervous and turn into my grandma. (Adele)

I have a very bad relationship with mice. (Casey Affleck)

I like getting married, but I don’t like being married. (Don Adams)

I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing  sound they make as they fly by. (Douglas Adams)

I prefer to sing in the shower because the acoustics make you sound great, baby. (Naima Adedapo)

I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination. (Scott Adams)

I thought it was my job to give all the boys their first kiss. (Jessica Alba)

I would have answered your letter sooner, but you didn’t send one. (Goodman Ace)

Paws For Awhile…..

My first corsage – eat it or wear it?

I’ve been naughty, but I’m a baby, and everyone loves babies..

I’m a lean, mean, fighting machine

Wanna snuggle?

I disapprove

I disapprove…strongly!

Did you hear the latest?

That’s it!  I’m moving to Arizona!

As an Angora aristocrat there’s so much more of me to love!

More, please

More, please!

I’ll always be your baby…

“The End” Whew!  Off to the publishers!

Signing off…. ej

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