On Sunday, we visited Blarney Castle which holds the Blarney Stone. As legend has it, those who kiss the stone will receive the gift of eloquence. For centuries, visitors from across the world would (and still do) travel miles and miles to kiss the Blarney Stone. The famous Stone was not always housed at the top of Blarney Castle. In fact, as the story goes, a poor, kind Irishman with a terrible stutter asked a witch to grant him the gift of eloquence. She, therefore, directed him to a bog and in that bog held the precious Stone. The Irishman was to get the stone, kiss the stone, and, then, carry it back to his homeland. Upon returning to his home, the Irishman met some of his fellow townsmen. As soon as they heard him speak, the people of the town were in awe of his beautiful, eloquent speech. Today, hundreds, perhaps even thousands, travel daily to kiss the Blarney Stone and obtain the gift of eloquence.
Since excellent writing and communication skills are a major component of the education program at the University of Louisville, all students and faculty were eager to kiss the Stone. However, the Stone is quite cumbersome to reach. In order to kiss the Stone, we have to trek through the castle and up a long tight, spiral stone staircase to the very top. Once at the top, we must walk around the edge of the castle to the spot of the sacred Stone. Once there, an Irish guide instructs each person (one at a time) to lay down on their back, lean into the guide's hand, reach their hands above their head to grab the metal bars, and, finally, stretch their head back to kiss the Blarney Stone upside down.
The Stone is not the only attraction at the Castle. The grounds are a marvelous spectacular with a breathtaking waterfall, rock gardens, and a poison garden that contains plants well-known to Harry Potter aficionados.