The people of Cork are well known talkers, expressive, eloquent and knowledgeable concerning each and any subject under the sun. In conversation they have the first word, the last word and, if truth be told, most of the words in between! The secret of their conversational success lies neither in heredity nor in the addition of any secret ingredient to the air or water but in a magical stone embedded in the upper walls of an ancient castle in the charming village of Blarney. Set in native Irish woodland and pleasant pastoral countryside, Blarney is a delightful and fascinating village about five miles north of the city of Cork. It is one of the best-preserved Tudor villages in Ireland; the characteristic village green being at the centre of a lively and active community. In a country populated with impressive castles from Dunluce to Dunamase, Blarney Castle would not rate a significant mention. It is the legend associated with its famous Blarney Stone that attracts thousands of visitors each year to make the perilous climb to its upper levels. Perched precariously in the upper walls, the celebrated Blarney Stone is famous the world-over for conferring the ‘gift of the gab’, the power of eloquence, to those who kiss it. While the origins of the myth surrounding the Blarney Stone are lost in the mists of time, it may have developed with Cormac McDermott McCarthy, Chief of Muskerry and possessor of the Castle in the time of Queen Elizabeth I.
Attempting to placate an encroaching English administration while retaining his native Gaelic loyalties, Cormac used his silver-tongued excuses to placate Elizabeth by professing undying loyalty but offering little else. The exasperated Queen lost patience with her smooth-talking subject and declared: 'This is all Blarney, he never means what he says, and he never does what he promises'. Even if you consider yourself sufficiently eloquent to forego the traditional kiss, the panoramic view of the undulating Irish countryside is reward in itself and ought not to be missed. And is this gab-gifting spell effective? Well it has been noted that the loquacious develop a certain fluency, the expressive become quite eloquent and the articulate become well-spoken. The effects of this transformation take some time to appear but the process is definitely accelerated by a visit to one of the local hostelries and the imbibing of generous portions of any of the native brews. The vibrant atmosphere of the town of Blarney includes a wide variety of traditional Irish arts and crafts including the renowned Blarney Woollen Mills.