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The Blarney Stone is a stone set in the wall of the Blarney Castle tower in the Irish village of
Blarney. Kissing the stone is supposed to bring the kisser the gift of persuasive eloquence
(blarney). The castle was built in 1446 by Cormac Laidhiv McCarthy (Lord of Muskerry) -- its
walls are 18 feet thick (necessary to thwart attacks by Cromwellians and William III's troops).
Thousands of tourists a year still visit the castle.
The origins of the Blarney Stone's magical properties aren't clear, but one legend says that an old
woman cast a spell on the stone to reward the King of Munster who had saved her from drowning.
Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.
(eloquence and persuasive flattery)
It's not easy to reach the stone -- it's between the main castle wall and the parapet.
Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward (and downward),
holding iron bars for support. They must also have a tour guide or a friend sit on their legs.
The power of the stone. A local poem tells:
There is a stone there,
That whoever kisses,
Oh, he never misses
To grow eloquent.
'Tis he may clamber
To a lady's chamber,
Or become a member
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