The Blarney Stone is a block of limestone built into the ramparts of Blarney Castle, Blarney about 5 miles (8 km) from Cork, Ireland. According to legends beginning in the 17th or early 18th century, kissing the stone gives the kisser the gift of gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery).
The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. The castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the Stone and tour the castle and its gardens.
The word blarney has come to mean clever, flattering, or coaxing talk.
Blarney Castle's website (Blarney Castle - Stone
) repeats many unlikely legends on the Stone's origins.
Despite legend (repeated above and on the Castle website) the Blarney Stone is not half of the Stone of Destiny (from Scotland) and was not given by Robert the Bruce to Cormac McCarthy for support (allegedly 5000 men according to Blarney Castle's website Blarney Castle - Stone
) at the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn:
(1) The Barney Stone is limestone, the Stone of Destiny is sandstone
(2) The Stone of Destiny was taken to England by the English King Edward 1 in 1296 and kept in England until 1950, and from 1951 to 1996)
(3) Robert the Bruce had 6000 to 7000 soldiers on the Scottish side at Bannockburn, so it's hard to believe 5000 of them were Irish soldiers (especially hard as there is no documentary evidence from before the 1970s of any significant Irish contingent)