Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ireland in the Regency

By Michele Ann Young

Our trip to the Emerald Isle began on a misty rainy late May day. Well we had expected rain, so we were not unduly perturbed. And because of that, the sun came out.

Our first stop was Blarney. Well no self respecting visitor can go to Ireland and no kiss the Blarney stone. Many famous people have done so, therefore why should I be embarrassed and if it help with my loquacity, then I'm all for it.

Okay, so probably no one else is impressed, but I must say leaning backwards with a huge drop below was quite unnerving. And people have been doing it for years. The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab.

Hopefully that holds true for a gift of the pen too. Now what, you might ask does this have to do with the Regency. Well at least one famous man of regency times went to the castle Sir Walter Scott. A writer no less. And there is a rumour, unconfirmed, that Byron also kissed the stone. Well I am in alt.

And while we are at it, here is an entry The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose)

‘Blarney’: He has licked the blarney stone; he deals in the wonderful, or tips us the traveller. The blarney stone is a triangular stone on the very top of an ancient castle of that name in the county of Cork in Ireland, extremely difficult of access; so that to have ascended to it, was considered as a proof of perseverance, courage, and agility, whereof many are supposed to claim the honour, who never achieved the adventure: and to tip the blarney, is figuratively used telling a marvellous story, or falsity; and also sometimes to express flattery. Irish.

We have pictures and more to show you of Blarney, but those must wait until next time.

Until then, Happy Rambles