May 26, 2008

Bring Out The Blarney Stone, It's Election Year

Shane, my missionary son, visited THE Blarney castle housing the famous Blarney stone. Shane writes:

It's Blarny Castle in County Cork, about a four hour drive away. It's on the west coast of Ireland. There's a stone at the top of the castle that, according to tradition, you're supposed to kiss. It'll give you 'the gift of gab.' Apparently, that's where you become a very tactful and witty speaker. Winston Churchill kissed it and look how he ended up. I didn't kiss it. I figured I didn't need the gift of gab. (~Shane Eide, Missionary & Novelist)

So I did a great deal of follow up research which took about 2.3 google seconds. The Wise and Almost All-Knowing Wikipedia offers this list of fascinating theories involving the stone:

* the Stone was the stone that Jacob used as a pillow, and was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah
* the Stone was the pillow used by St. Columba of Iona on his deathbed
* the Stone was the Stone of Ezel, which David hid behind on Jonathan's advice, while fleeing from King Saul, and may have been brought back to Ireland during the Crusades
* the Stone was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to produce water for the Israelites during their flight from Egypt
* in Ireland, the Stone was known as the Lia Fail or "Stone of Destiny", part of the king's throne, with mysterious powers
* the stone's powers were revealed to the McCarthys by a witch who had been saved from drowning

A couple more mildly interesting items to note:

1. According to common legend, the stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone because it was believed to have special powers. One story says an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who saved her from drowning. Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to talk sweetly. He was able to talk anyone into doing things. The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return for his support in a battle. Queen Elizabeth I wanted the Irish chiefs to agree to hold their own lands under title from her. Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney, handled her every Royal wish with clever promises keeping loyalty to the Queen without "giving in." Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her "a lot of Blarney." This is how the story began that if you kiss the blarney stone you will also be able to make clever promises.

2. Apparently, the stone inspired this wee poem:

"There is a stone that whoever kisses,
Oh! he never misses to grow eloquent
'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber,
Or become a member of parliament."

~ Francis Sylvester Mahony, who may have actually kissed the stone before he penned this verse.
3. Rumor has it that locals are known to 'relieve' themselves on it. I'm glad to hear my son decided against puckering up to it. Smart lad.

So those who seek the gift of gab may ---with a little gymnastic effort ---kiss the stone.

Now here is where I'm confused. Some define the gift of gab as eloquence or skill at flattery. I always thought the "gift of gab" was the ability to talk much and say little. Maybe it's the same thing?


Anonymous said...

I now know more than I ever wanted to know about the Blarney Stone. Smart lad indeed! And I thought "gift of gab" was an insult. Meaning, someone talks too much. But in Ireland it could mean something else.

carla stewart said...

What a fun post. Living vicariously through your son's adventures must make you feel you are part of the trip. Maybe just seeing the blarney stone will give him the words God has for him to share on this mission trip.



I've published five novels and 2 novellas (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have six (going on seven) grandkiddos. Decent trade, really.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.