St Patricks Day – Kiss Me, I’m Irish
Kiss me, I’m Irish!
Everybody knows the slogan, and thousands choose to wear clothes clad with the saying not only on Saint Patrick’s Day, but all year round.
But where did it come from?
It’s thought to be a reference to the tradition of kissing the Irish Blarney Stone, which brings ‘the gift of the gab’ and luck to whoever kisses it. Thousands, if not millions of people have kissed the stone (kind of unhygienic if you ask me), but to people who can’t get to the stone, Irish people are the next best thing!
People come from all over the world to kiss the stone at Blarney Castle, with a plethora of celebrities and historical figures making the visit, from Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger and comic legends Laurel and Hardy, to Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister who led us to victory against Germany in WW2.
Even The Simpsons have paid their tribute in the episode ‘The Name of the Grandfather’, where Homer and Grandpa go to Ireland, visiting famous land marks like Blarney Castle, Giants Causeway and of course, The Guinness Brewery.
The Story behind the Stone
The Blarney Stone is a bluestone built into the castles parapet (Blarney Castle, roughly 80km from Cork).
Irish folk law has it that Cormac Laidir MacCarthy was involved in a lawsuit and asked Cliodhna (Goddess of love and beauty, and Queen of the Banshees of The Tuatha) for help. She told him to kiss the first stone he saw on his way to court on the morning of the hearing. Following her advice, he kissed the first stone he saw and surely enough, pleaded his case with great eloquence having been granted the gift of gab, thus winning the case.
He then used the stone when constructing Blarney Castle, using it in the parapet.
To reach the Blarney Stone, you’ll need to climb to the parapet at the very top of the castle (entry is £12 for Adults, £5 for children and includes access to the gardens).
Once there, you’ll need to lean backwards over the parapets edge, holding onto the guard rails (often with an assistant holding your body too, just in case)
Then simply touch your lips to the stone!