American Travel Stories
History & Ancient Sites

The Shady History of the Blarney Stone

Travelers to Ireland often stop at the Blarney Stone, lie backwards, and give Blarney a smooch. Who is this movie star of a stone, anyway? Like all good stars, it’s surrounded by myths, legends, and plenty of tall tales. Authentic Vacations, right here and now, is going to give you the true story.

The rock itself is the same sort that forms the megaliths of Stonehenge. How did it get to the west coast of Ireland? Some people say the 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.

Reaching back in time, and here’s where we get into the territory of ‘blarney,’ we discover that the Stone was used by Jacob for his pillow and brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. We also learn that David hid behind the Stone while running from King Saul—the Stone was returned to Ireland during the Crusades. And, did you know, it’s the very rock that Moses struck, bringing forth water for the Israelites as they fled Egypt? Ahem.

We do know this: Queen Elizabeth I asked Cormac McCarthy, Lord of Blarney, to title his land over to England. With charm and wit, he responded to her many requests, keeping her happy without giving in. Exasperated, she finally tossed down a letter from him. “Oh! He’s just giving me a lot more blarney!” Go to Blarney, wander the castle grounds, and give the stone a kiss as you explore Ireland. Perhaps you’ll come away with the gift of gab and sweet persuasion. Pure fun!