A Devine Bit o’ Blarney

A woman leans backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone.
A woman leans backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone.

By Judy Berman

On the train from Dublin to Blarney, I begin to wonder just what I’d gotten myself into. The signs posted were in Gaelic. The folks around us were speaking in a beautiful brogue – and we didn’t understand a word.

But we arrived without a hitch and basked in the village folks’ warm welcome.

The old castle, built in 1446, beckons. It’s the third structure built on this site, and it’s a long climb. This trek, taken years ago, meant that I’d have to lean over an empty space in the wall while lying on my back to kiss the Blarney Stone. Well, I had some second and third thoughts about that before finally giving in.

I was convinced that I didn’t need to do this to acquire the gift of eloquence. Being part-Irish, I always assumed that was in my DNA. But my husband and I did just that. (Our youngest daughter, who already has the gift o’ gab, declined.)

Blarney Castle
Blarney Castle

After kissing the stone, you are supposed to be bestowed with the gift of blarney – or “clever, flattering” talk. Smooth-talking charm aside, I doubt that I could have pulled off what townspeople in the tiny Irish village of 52 people in Tullymore (Tulaigh Mhór) accomplished.

One of their own won the National Lottery. But no one knew who. I’d lived in a community like this. The livestock outnumber the residents and everyone knows everyone else’s business. The world almanac of misinformation, the owner at the local grocery store, filled in whatever information was missing.

The townspeople hold a chicken supper, hoping that the winner will at last be revealed. No dice. But they notice that one of the townsfolk is missing: Ned Devine. Quite odd.

Two friends, Ian Bannen (as Jackie O’Shea) and David Kelly (as Michael O’Sullivan) rush to Devine’s cottage to confront him. But Ned is dead, and in his hand is the winning lottery ticket. The shock of winning killed him.

Honest folks would have alerted authorities. When 7 million pounds is involved, however, scheming Irish eyes are smiling about what they could do with the prize money.

In “Waking Ned Devine” (1998), Jackie is convinced by a dream that Ned wants the town to share his wealth. So Jackie and Michael plot with the townspeople to deceive the claim inspector from Dublin. They are all to pretend that Ned is alive and well. Then they can all be rich.

In the scam to defraud the lottery officials, Michael poses as Ned. This becomes a bit awkward when the claim inspector stumbles into the church where Ned’s funeral is being held. The villagers pretend the service is for Michael.

As Jackie rides with the claim inspector to Ned’s cottage, Michael drives at breakneck speed, naked, on a motorcycle to beat them there.

Everyone’s on board with this conspiracy – except one who has designs of her own on the money. Aye, and that’s the rub … in this fine tale filled with blarney, deception, twists and laughter.

“Erin go Bragh” … Long live Ireland. 


Video – movie trailer: “Waking Ned Devine” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osmPlQXzXXA

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or
earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original

Photo: BlarneyCastle – BlarneyCastle and adjacent east tower View is to west from walkway. To kiss the Blarney Stone, you must climb the steps to the top of castle, go to the arch shown in the photo, lay on your back, and arch your head backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone at the base of the arch shown in the photo. Photo taken April 2001 by Joseph Mischyshyn. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2e/Blarney_Castle_and_adjacent_east_tower_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1625431.jpg/400px-Blarney_Castle_and_adjacent_east_tower_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1625431.jpg

Photo: Blarney Stone – woman kissing the Blarney Stone (Blarney   Castle, Ireland) – August 2002 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7f/Blarney_stone.png/454px-Blarney_stone.png

Blarney Castle – the home of the Blarney Stone http://www.blarneycastle.ie/

  1. Judy, it sounds interesting. And let me tell you we too have hundreds of such places where you will see different beliefs and you may find us crazy while following those beliefs. Just like there is a place near to my hometown where we have to touch five different stones of same material and same structure which we worship as god inside flowing water of a stream with our hands. 🙂

    1. It’s amazing, Arindam, the faith and fervor we put into these objects. Do they have the power to transform our lives? They do if that’s what we believe. The wonderful experiences might have happened anyways, but why take a chance? I grew up on these myths, legends, and folklore. I believed in some strongly enough that we made the trek to Blarney and kissed the stone. 🙂

  2. Interesting day you had! 🙂 I remember reading about this in a children’s book when I was little, thinking it was made up I laughed, and my Irish dad giving me a history lesson, and then telling me it was all nonsense anyway! Being half Irish myself, I’ve never been drawn to do this – looks very uncomfortable!

    I missed your posts! They didn’t show up in the Reader! 😦 It’s been happening a lot to other blogs I follow, and I think happened to mine about a week ago – not very helpful is it?
    Suzy 😀

    1. It was uncomfortable, Suzy. Thank heavens the weather cooperated the day we were there. It was just fun to be part of the culture.

      Sorry you haven’t been getting my posts. Hope that’s been cleared up by now. I did see mine about a week ago. I’ll check it out. Thank you for your comments.

  3. Now that is a cool way of kissing the rock! Great post with awesome images. What an adventure. As for your question with your iPhone. If you’re using it to call local and long distance, the roaming fee is expensive. You can use it though to take pictures and it does turn on when there is a Wi Fi coverage. I went to the Philippines last year and used it as my main camera and got some cool images with it. Have a great trip.

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post. Thanks for the advice on the iPhone. I’ll definitely look into this and will be looking into the Camera+ app you mentioned as well. My hubby has the Pro Camera app.

  4. If the Blarney Stone were in the US or Canada, there’d be someone there spraying it with disinfectant after every visitor.

    That movie sounds great, Judy. I’ll have to look for it.

    1. You’re right, Madhu. Carry a four-leaf clover, a lucky penny, or whatever brings you luck.
      By the way, I checked out the Island Traveler that you mentioned on your blog. Great site. Thank you.

Comments are closed.