Blarney Stone comments 'a load of blarney'

The owner of the Irish castle containing the famed Blarney Stone has dismissed claims that thousands of tourists are kissing the wrong stone every year, the Irish Examiner newspaper reported on Thursday.

A new book by Mark Samuel, an archaeologist and architectural historian, and his wife, Kate Hamlyn, questions the authenticity of the stone located in Blarney Castle, County Cork, which is kissed every year by about 400 000 visitors seeking the so-called “gift of the gab”, or eloquence.

“There are quite good grounds now for saying that there is a Blarney Stone in the castle somewhere, but the not the one that people are kissing, which has only been identified as the Blarney Stone since about 1870,” Samuel said.

However, the castle’s owner, Charles Colthurst, said the stone people kiss is in the exact location as far back as all historical records show.

“All comments should be treated somewhat lightheartedly and as a load of blarney, loathe though we are to spoil a good story with boring facts,” Colthurst told the Examiner.

There has been a castle on the site in southern Ireland since 950 AD. There are several versions of the origin of the stone, one of Ireland’s most famous tourist attractions—one says it was brought back from the Holy Land after the Crusades, while another says it was rewarded to the castle’s owner by Scotland’s Robert Bruce after the Irish chieftain provided troops to fight England’s Edward II.—Sapa-dpa