Day two of the A-Z April Challenge for 2015. I am not theming this year but it appears that my first two days have to do with places. In 2009 I was fortunate enough to attend the St. Paddy's Day festivities in Dublin. Talk about the thrill of a lifetime. I took some students and friends with EF Tours and it was amazing. One of the highlights of the trip deals with my topic today....B is for Blarney Stone. I want you to know going in that I am terrified of heights....standing upright. You can image how I felt as I bent over backwards atop a castle to kiss this stone. For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate. Once upon a time, visitors had to be held by the ankles and lowered head first over the battlements. Today, we are rather more cautious of the safety of our visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence. According to history (of which I am huge history buff) some say it was Jacob’s Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Here it became the Lia Fail or ‘Fatal Stone’, used as an oracular throne of Irish kings – a kind of Harry Potter-like ‘sorting hat’ for kings. It was also said to be the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona. Legend says it was then removed to mainland Scotland, where it served as the prophetic power of royal succession, the Stone of Destiny. When Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was given by the Scots in gratitude – and returned to Ireland. Others say it may be a stone brought back to Ireland from the Crusades – the ‘Stone of Ezel’ behind which David hid on Jonathan’s advice when he fled from his enemy, Saul. A few claim it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses. Whatever the truth of its origin, we believe a witch saved from drowning revealed its power to the MacCarthys. As I walked down the wall backwards....I have to admit there was an amazing rush. If you are ever in Ireland....you must visit Blarney Castle...and be sure to kiss the stone.
To Joey, With Love....WINNER!
1 year ago