THE BLARNEY STONE, BLARNEY CASTLE, IRELAND – A number of stories attempt to explain the origin of the stone and surrounding legend. An early story involves the goddess Clíodhna. Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, the builder of Blarney Castle, being involved in a lawsuit in the 15th century, appealed to Clíodhna for her assistance.
She told McCarthy to kiss the first stone he found in the morning on his way to court, and he did so, with the result that he pleaded his case with great eloquence and won. Thus the Blarney Stone is said to impart “the ability to deceive without offending”. MacCarthy then incorporated it into the parapet of the castle.
The proprietors of Blarney Castle list several other explanations of the origins of the stone on their website. Many of these suppose that the stone had previously been in Ireland, was taken to Scotland and then returned to Ireland in 1314. The stories listed include one suggesting that the stone was presented to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in recognition of his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.
This legend holds that this was a piece of the Stone of Scone and was installed at McCarthy’s castle of Blarney. Although colourful, this folk legend does not account for the fact that it supposes that the stone was removed from Scotland 18 years before Bannockburn. Moreover, analysis by geologists at the University of Glasgow in 2014 found the stone’s geochemical signature matches local limestone.