Monday, March 12, 2012

Shortcuts to Eloquence Can be Unexpectedly Scary

St. Patrick’s Day is coming and celebrations have already started. People are going to parades….pub crawls….Hallmark sent me an email about chasing leprechauns on their channel….It’s all very exciting. And it’s, naturally, got me thinking about stories. The Irish are renowned for their ability to spin a tale. They also have some pretty awesome folklore on which to base these yarns. In honor of the coming holiday, I’m going to spend the week looking at some different bits and pieces of Irish legends and myths.

During my semester in Ireland, back in 2007, my friend and I spent almost every weekend traveling the country. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we figured we needed to make the most of it. One of our earliest trips was to Blarney Castle. Legend has it that if a person kisses the Blarney Stone, they will be graced with the gift of gab. Being an aspiring writer, I figured I should hedge my bets and we set off to get ourselves that gabby gift.

Here’s what I didn’t do before setting out on my adventure – actually read up on the Blarney Stone. See, in my mind, it was just a big stone, maybe a small boulder. If I’d taken the time to do my research, I would have found that along with providing eloquence, this stone was apparently predicted to be untouchable due to its location. It didn’t just bestow its magical gift on someone because they schlepped out to the castle. No, you had to earn it.

When we arrived at the castle, we first walked around the grounds. It was absolutely beautiful. Once in the castle, we followed signs for the Stone leading us further and further up. We laughed as we ascended the narrow, slippery stairs, holding tight to the rope placed there for our balancing needs. I looked out the windows of the tower and imagined fighting my way past guards to escape my imprisonment by an evil wizard.

We finally reached the top and saw the line of people waiting to kiss the Stone, but we didn’t see the Stone. Still we waited in line, confident that everything would be made clear to our little tourist minds soon. And it was. When we reached the front we saw that in order to kiss the Blarney Stone, we would have to lie on our backs with half our bodies on the stone and the other half balancing out over a narrow abyss. The abyss had a few poles across it to ensure that we wouldn’t plummet to our deaths. Probably.

I was particularly unnerved by the whole hanging my head upside down part. I’m known for my slightly overlarge noggin’ and knew that if anything was going to send me plummeting to the ground below, it was cranium weight. So, I held on to the bars as tightly as humanly possible and hoped that the Irishman there to ensure my balance knew that if I started falling, I was probably taking him with me. No matter how friendly he was.

I’ve had a few years now to assess the outcome of that trip, but I’m still not really sure I was bequeathed the gift of gab. Definitely got a good story out of it, though. Which is generally all that I’m really looking for.

No comments:

Post a Comment