Is the Tale of the Blarney Stone Just Blarney?

Kissing Ireland's famous Blarney Stone may not give you the gift of the gab after all - because it may be the wrong one.

Experts discovered that the present stone was put in the castle in 1888 for health and safety reasons.

So the 300,000 people a year who patiently queue to kiss the stone may get nothing for their trouble but a good view and cold lips.

To reach the original bluestone you had to dangle by the ankles over the battlements which was deemed too dangerous.

Mark Samuel, author of a history of Blarney Castle, near Cork, said: "I'm not in a position to say the stone is worthless, I'm saying there's a real kernel of hard fact that there is a special bluestone.

"But it's to pin down where it is. It was all part of the phenomenon of reinventing the castle that happened in the last 200 years as a romantic spot."

The various myths of the Blarney Stone suggest it came from a different source than the rest of the building materials.

It was once known as Jacobs Pillow, brought back from the Holy Land after the crusades.

Another legend suggests it was a gift from Robert the Bruce to the McCarthy's in 1314 for providing 5000 infantry to fight Edward II in Scotland at the Battle of Bannockburn.

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