My first kiss - cold, awkward and uncomfortable.

In my ignorance of compulsory Irish travel experiences, I assumed that the Blarney Stone was sticking out of a wall somewhere, and that those who wanted to gain the Irish gift of eloquence could stroll up and give it a kiss.

I didn’t realise you needed to be a contortionist with nerves of steel.

Blarney Castle in County Cork is set in a huge area of manicured gardens.

It's mostly a ruin now. The souvenir shop is the only part of it in full working order.

Mevrouw T and I scaled the 127 steps, following in the footsteps of Winston Churchill and Oliver Hardy, the plaques informed us.

Blarney Stone - please kiss with care.

At the top of the keep, a couple of gentlemen waited to assist potential kissers get the most out of the experience. One helped me to lie on my back on a sheet of plastic, grip the iron bars and lower myself backwards over the gap.

The other operated the camera (EUR10 for a photo of the embarrassing moment).

Osculation successfully completed, gentleman 1 helped me back into the real world. Then he took out a squeegee bottle and disinfected the spot I'd kissed. I don't remember any former girlfriends doing that, but maybe they waited till I was out of sight.

The process completed, I now look forward to a lifetime of being endlessly eloquent in stressful situations.

Bloody hell!

Entry to Blarney Castle and Gardens costs EUR10.00, which includes rights to one kiss.

Photos of kissing action by Mevrouw T.

The writer was the guest of Failte Ireland.


Filed under Ireland


  1. I don’t know what to say.

  2. betsey

    Hey Richard — looks like it hasn’t changed one jot or tittle (whatever those things are) since I did this in 1959!! I’m looking forward to seeing you folks back in Sydney where Spring has just now sprung.

    betsey brister

    • Ah yes, why would they change a winning formula, Betsy? People are still standing in line and leaving clutching their souvenir certificates.

      But if the kiss was a little underwhelming, the surroundings were worth the price of admission.

  3. I don’t believe it – when we visited Ireland in 2008, it was the same man who helped us to kiss the stone!!!

    Wow…. such happy memories…. I vividly remember the cold ground under my bum, and bending backwards like that. It was cold and drizzling when we visited, but the sun came out intermittently, and everything felt bright and clean and just-washed. Magic.

    I Love Ireland!

    • Reggie, the stone-kissers’ assistant has obviously found his calling in life, and is sticking in the job he’s so happy with. We’re still on Dingle for another day and enjoying it very much.

  4. Giggling… yes, that would explain it. 🙂

    Richard, I hope you continue to have a really marvelous time in Ireland. I would visit again in a heartbeat if I could. It’s a very special place, and I am really enjoying travelling along in your suitcase, so to speak.

  5. Pingback: 世界一不衛生な観光スポット「ブラーニー・ストーン」 | Voyage -旅行・観光-

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