Wonders of Blarney

Now came Blarney, the celebrated Blarney, where many a name is carved; where lords and ladies, peasants and beggars, have strolled and sat. Here was the seat pointed to me, where Mrs. Hall, the writer on Ireland, rested; and the old priest suggested the inspiration I might receive by sitting there on the same stone, by the same stone summer-house. The whole is a romantic spot; a hermit's cell of stone, where he slept—his kitchen, where he cooked, and the grave where he is buried, were all shown us. The rocking stone on which Prince Desmond was crowned, some centuries gone by; ancient trees, seats of moss-covered stone of the richest green, running water, laurels and ivies, green lawns spread out, made it a place of the most pleasing interest. It belongs to the family of Jeffreys. Lady Jeffrey has improved it much. She passed us while we were admiring, and told our guide to show us all that it contained. The grand castle containing the Blarney-stone is a great curiosity, standing as it does on an awfully high rock, overlooking the river far below it, deep, and winding its way among trees and thick grass. To me it was frightful to look out from a loop-hole, and see the river below; and to climb to the top to kiss the Blarney-stone, stretching my neck out of the window over the dizzy steep, would have been madness, though I was told many a silly boy and girl had done it.

When we had admired—for this was all we could do as the entrance to the inmost apartments was closed—we walked to the lake, and sat down to calm our excitement by its placid waters, while the little son of my friend was in playful glee sporting around us.

Ireland’s Welome to the Stranger is one of the best accounts of Irish social conditions, customs, quirks and habits that you could wish for. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, was an American widow who travelled extensively in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine and meticulously observed the Irish peasantry at work and play, as well as noting their living conditions and diet. The book is also available from Kindle.